Amanda Nunes is a double champion in the UFC once again after winning back her bantamweight belt in a vicious win over American Julianna Pena on Sunday (AEST).
Looking to avenge her shock loss to Pena last December, the Brazilian quickly took control after surprising her opponent with a southpaw stance.
Nunes, who is considered the greatest female fighter that the sport has ever seen, made her mark in the second round by knocking Pena down three times.
The 34-year-old timed her counter attacks perfectly in the second period, landing two rights inside the first 90 seconds of the round to have Pena lying on her back.
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Nunes went on to record a unanimous decision win (50-44, 50-44, 50-43) to become a double champion for the second time – and she’s still the only woman to have ever done it.
It was an emphatic victory, but you wouldn’t necessarily know it just by looking at her at the post-fight press conference.
The Brazilian came in on crutches before fronting the media, but as UFC president Dana White had revealed earlier, her opponent was a lot worse.
“Julianna’s got a big chunk missing from her forehead. She’s going to see a plastic surgeon right now,” White said after UFC 277.
“Take some time to heal and then I don’t know. She got pretty banged up tonight.
“It was like five or six knockdowns in the first two rounds. She was hurt.
“She needs to take some time off and relax, spend some time with her daughter and then we’ll go from there.”
Pena showed how tough she was that night in Dallas, as she refused to back down from Lioness who appeared hell-bent on taking back her crown.
White believed that it was a “completely dominant” from Nunes, who also holds the featherweight title.
“I thought it was completely dominant. There was five knockdowns in the first two rounds,” he added.
“There’s a big submission attempts and knockdowns. Not even comparable.
“Julianna is as tough as nails and her will to win is second to none. She wanted to win. As dominant as she was, and she was dominant tonight, I don’t think it was close in any way shape or form. It was a complete shutout.
“It was an absolutely dominant performance.”
Nunes said she felt “amazing” after the bout, and believed that she could’ve kept going for another round or two.
While it didn’t seem like she could even look out of her right eye, that didn’t stop her from smiling as she reflected on the night.
“Everything tonight was a game plan. Even ‘she’s going to go crazy, she’s going to connect and she’s gonna come with everything,” Nunes said after the fight.
“I know I’m much stronger than her. My wrestling is way better than hers. My jujitsu, my ground game. I just have to be precise in everything like I was today.
“My body was amazing, I could’ve gone six, seven rounds no problem. Especially when I started to do some damage on the floor with my elbows.
“I give a lot of credit to her. I don’t have any bad blood. She helped me a lot. I like the challenge. I feel like I function with the challenge.
“If I don’t have any challenges to push me, to threat me. Julianna is a very good threat so it brings the best out of me when I feel trapped. So like ‘oh s*** she might do this.’
“I shine in those moments, that’s why I really like those fighters that bring the best out of me in those moments. Talk s***, talk this, say all those things. I love that.”