On Saturday, Julianna Peña achieved the inconceivable. “The Venezuelan Vixen” submitted the champion Amanda Nunes to claim the women’s bantamweight title in the UFC 269.
The event happened on Saturday at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
JULIANNA PENA HAS SHOCKED THE WORLD! 🤯🤯🤯
— UFC Europe (@UFCEurope) December 12, 2021
Two Rounds To Become Champ
In the second round, Peña (11-4) landed clean strikes on Nunes (21-5), then transitioned to a takedown. She took Nunes’ back and executed a flawless rear-naked choke at 3:22 of Round 2.
“I said, ‘What happened?'” Peña said at the postfight news conference. “He said, ‘It’s over, you’re done. Congratulations.’ I was like, ‘Oh! Gee, I didn’t even know.'”
Peña landed a left hook 12 seconds into the second round that stunned Nunes. At the one-minute mark, Peña then landed a big combination that set the tone for the inevitable.
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) December 12, 2021
Peña Beat The Champ
Surprisingly, Nunes couldn’t connect with her classic crisp overhand right, which twisted past Peña but missed its mark. She focused on throwing straight punches, and the counters worked.
Ultimately, Peña secured a takedown and executed the submission that made her a champion. She became the eighth fighter in UFC history to win “The Ultimate Fighter” reality series and achieve UFC gold.
“Everybody thinks that I’m only versed on the ground or I’m just a ground person,” said Peña. “But in mixed martial arts you have to be versed everywhere. I’m confident on the feet, I’m confident on the ground.”
— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) December 12, 2021
Still A Champ In Defeat
Nunes, who had gone unbeaten for seven years, was gracious in defeat.
“I did everything tonight,” Nunes said in the postfight interview. “I trained very hard for this fight. Congrats to Julianna.”
For years, Nunes has been the boogeyman in both the bantamweight and featherweight divisions. She has defeated a who’s who of women’s mixed martial arts greats like Cris Cyborg, Holly Holm, Germaine de Randamie, Valentina Shevchenko (twice), Miesha Tate, and Ronda Rousey, to name a few.
Nunes saw her 12-fight winning streak snapped in her first defeat since September 2014. However, Nunes has suffered four of her five career losses by stoppage.
— MacMally🍀 (@MacMallyMMA) December 12, 2021
The Giant Slayer
Saturday’s defeat was Nunes’ first submission loss since her mixed martial arts debut in 2008 when she lost via armbar in the first round in Brazil. The fighter seemed indomitable for years, and Peña did the impossible in making Nunes look human again.
“I saw her leaking [blood] from her nose a little bit and I put the choke on, but I wasn’t sure,” said Peña. “I didn’t realize that she tapped. I remember when I took her down, I thought, ‘Man, I wish somebody could tell me how much time I have left in the round.’ Because I didn’t know how much time was left. And then after that, the ref picked me up and they threw me in the corner.”
Peña made history with the win, becoming the fifth women’s bantamweight champion in UFC history. She also became the eighth fighter in history to win a season of “The Ultimate Fighter” reality series and a UFC title.
In 2014, Julianna Pena tore her ACL, MCL, LCL, and meniscus.
In 2018, Julianna Pena took time away from her athletic career to have a daughter.
In 2020, Julianna Pena lost her second bout in three fights.
— Nolan King (@mma_kings) December 12, 2021
In addition, Peña is now tied with former UFC champion Ronda Rousey with two submission victories in UFC women’s bantamweight competition. The two are now tied for the most in divisional history.
Peña’s seven victories in UFC women’s bantamweight competition are tied for third-most in divisional history. That total is behind only the 11 of former champion Nunes and the nine by Raquel Pennington.
Before the fight: “Julianna Pena’s gonna get her ass beat by the 🐐”
When Pena beats Amanda Nunes in the 2nd round: pic.twitter.com/NEeRyP8Oaw
— NOTSportsCenter (@NOTSportsCenter) December 12, 2021
The event was the UFC’s last pay-per-view of the year, setting the tone for a new championship reign in 2022.
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