Pena stuns Nunes to claim UFC bantamweight crown

LAS VEGAS (Reuters) -Julianna Pena pulled off one of the biggest upsets in mixed martial arts history to score a second-round submission win over Amanda Nunes and win the UFC bantamweight title at UFC 269 on Saturday.

In the main event, Charles Oliveira retained the lightweight title, submitting Dustin Poirier with a standing choke early in the third round of a thrilling battle.

Pena looked to be in trouble in the first round of the co-main event against one of the most dominant champions the sport has ever seen, but the 32-year-old came storming back in round two, rocking Nunes with combinations.

Coming into the fight a heavy betting favourite Nunes, whose record includes wins over Ronda Rousey, Valentina Shevchenko and Cris Cyborg, wilted as Pena poured on flurries of punches as the two stood and traded blows before the fight went to the mat.

Nunes’ five-year reign at the top came to an end when she tapped out at the 3:23 mark of the second round as Pena sank in a rear naked choke to hand the Brazilian her first defeat since September 2014.

“I told you, don’t ever doubt me again. Willpower, strength and determination will take you places,” Pena said in a post-fight interview in the cage. “You literally have the ability to do anything you want in this life, and I just proved that tonight.”

In the main event former interim champion Poirier, who scored a pair of wins over Conor McGregor earlier this year to earn the title shot, landed some heavy left hands and downed Oliveira as he won the first round.

However, Oliveira got Poirier on his back in the middle of the cage early in the second, landing thunderous elbows before jumping on Poirier’s back and securing the choke early in the third round.

by: Philip O’connor