Amanda Nunes asserted her striking dominance early in her title fight with Raquel Pennington at UFC 224 tonight, but it took until the 5th round for the champion to finally find a bloody TKO finish.
The main event bantamweight title fight is underway in Brazil!
Nunes’ first low kick of the fight knocks Pennington off her feet. She gets back up and Nunes unleashes a few more kicks from range.
Another leg kick takes Pennington off her feet. Punches upstairs for Nunes now. Another low kick. Pennington looking to let her hands go.
big punch lands for Nunes and Pennington grits her teeth and throws back. Body punch from Nunes. left hook connects, now a leg kick. Pennington looks shell-shocked early here.
Nunes continues her kicking game. Pennington comes forward throwing an uppercut and backs up Nunes momentarily.
Nunes back on the offensive. Good hook connects. The kicks are still there, but she’s looking to put some hands out there too.
Another low leg kick and Pennington’s left calf is visibly being tenderized here. Pennington attempting to work on the counter here, with Nunes throwing and then the challenger attempting to flurry afterwards.
Leg kick for Pennington. She tries for a clinch opportunity, but that’s not going to happen. Nunes pressuring and putting Pennington’s back against the cage.
Stiff left for Pennington as Nunes comes in. Nunes with a couple of jabs and then back to low kicks.
Back to the center of the cage and Nunes lands a front kick to the body. Well timed jab from Nunes. Pennington clinches up, but Nunes pushes her away.
A little exchange in close and Pennington lands a short punch. Right hand gets through for Nunes. Now a nice kick to the midsection.
Hooks for Nunes and then a couple of big knees to the head as Pennington thinks about a takedown. Pennington gets the standing clinch against the cage and lands a takedown.
Pennington in side control in the final minute of the round, her best success in the fight so far. Pennington opts to back up and stands over Nunes, who uses the space to get back to her feet and they look to exchange in the final seconds.
Leg kick for Nunes. A few punches come up short. Left hand lands for Nunes. Now a chopping leg kick. Pennington presses forward with a three-piece flurry.
Right hand gets through for Pennington. Another hard leg kick for Nunes. Now Nunes perfectly times a takedown. She’s in half guard and happy to stay there for now.
Pennington gets her back to full guard. Not too much happening here and the ref warns them to stay busy. Two minutes of the round remaining and the ref opts to stand them back up.
Nice couple of right hand land for Pennington and then she tries to go for a takedown that doesn’t pay off.
Back to striking range and Nunes lands another chopping leg kick. Right hand for Pennington. Nunes tries for another takedown that doesn’t work out and then Pennington tries to return the favor against the cage.
Front kick to the body for Nunes. Nice right hand lands clean as Pennington comes forward. Good knee from the clinch by Nunes as the round ends.
Exchange of punches and both land once. Leg kick for Nunes. overhand right for Nunes. Pennington tries to come forward with punches, but Nunes keeps out of range.
Pennington presses into range again, but Nunes counters with punches. Leg kick for Nunes and a punch upstairs. Pennington tries for the takedown and works into the clinch, but Nunes then does well to take her down instead.
Pennington keeping Nunes in her guard and looks to shut her down. Butterfly guard now for Pennington and then she manages to get back to her feet.
A few knees land for Nunes. She tries for a front kick to the body that’s caught, but she wrenches her foot free. Pennington into the clinch against the cage.
Nunes with a couple of good knees to the head and then back to striking range. She steps in with a good one-two. Another couple of striaght punches land. Back to the big knees upstairs and Pennington goes for a takedown attempt to bide some time.
Pennington’s nose is bleeding significantly and likely broken as she goes back to her corner and in-between rounds ‘Rocky’ tells her corner, “I want to be done.” However, her coaches then talk her into continuing. Fascinating stuff.
Couple of punches land for Nunes and Pennington lands a left in return. Two punches connect solidly down the pipe for Nunes. Pennington’s nose smeared with blood again now and she’s bleeding heavily from the mouth.
Nunes lands a big takedown with plenty of time remaining. She starts to work ground and pound and Pennington turns away, clearly hurt and with blood now pouring out of her nose and staining the canvas.
The ref warns Pennington to fight back, but Nunes is unloading on her and that’s it, the fight is over by way of a TKO finish at 2.36mins in the final round.