Julianna Pena’s brief reign as bantamweight queen has come to an end.
On Saturday night at UFC 277, Amanda Nunes took the women’s 135 pound belt back with a powerful performance that saw “Lioness” knock Pena down multiple times early in their fight (watch the highlights here). There was no finish though, just 25 minutes of punishment which will require a trip to the plastic surgeon for Pena.
UFC president Dana White shared the details during the UFC 277 post-fight press conference.
“Yeah, Julianna’s got a big chunk missing from her forehead. She’s going to see a plastic surgeon right now. 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.”
The one word that kept coming up in White’s review of the fight was ‘dominant.’
“I thought it was completely dominant,” he said. “There were five knockdowns in the first two rounds … There’s a big difference between submission attempts and knockdowns. It’s not even comparable.”
“I think two things: Julianna’s tough as nails, and her will to win is second to none. I mean, she wanted to win. I think as dominant as Amanda was — and she was dominant, I didn’t think it was close any way shape or form, it was a complete shutout — she still looked a little gun-shy to me. But going in against a person who beat you the first time, I can see that happening. But it’s stupid for me to even say that, it was an absolutely dominant performance.”
White speculated Nunes was extra careful to ensure she didn’t suddenly run out of gas like she did in her first fight against Pena, which resulted in her losing via a rear-naked choke in the second round.
“Yeah, I think she was concerned about her cardio, probably,” he said. “Because when you think about the way she fought Cyborg, she usually goes in and throws tons of punches. She had Julianna hurt many times, had her on crazy legs a couple times and never really went in for the kill.”
While White agreed that Amanda Nunes had earned some time off, he also teased that a third fight with women’s flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko could be next.
Looks like Amanda decide to fully copy my stand up game
Great fight both ladies! #UFC277
— Valentina Shevchenko (@BulletValentina) July 31, 2022
“Yeah, that’s not a bad idea,” White said when the match-up was suggested. “Normally I would say ‘Come on, man.’ That’s not a bad idea. I mean, really, when you think about it. I’m not saying yes, I’m just saying it’s not a bad idea.”