Julianna Peña makes history at UFC 269, surprises Amanda Nunes with submission win

Julianna Peña swore she would. He vowed he would finish off the greatest of all time, double champion Amanda Nunes. Hardly anyone believed him.

Then he went out and did exactly that.

Peña (12-4) scored one of the biggest upsets in mixed martial arts history on Saturday as he subdued Nunes (21-5) in the second round of their bantamweight title fight. The end came at 3:26, after Peña hurt Nunes on the feet, threw her to the ground, placed her on her back and locked her in a strangulation.

“I told you,” Peña said. “Don’t ever doubt me again … He tapped and I asked the commission: ‘Is it over?’ He said, ‘Yes, you won. No [parecía real]. It feels crazy. But I expected to win. The world is my oyster. You have the ability to do whatever you want in this life. “

Officially, it’s the fourth biggest surprise in UFC history. The biggest surprise in the promotion’s history remains Holly Holm’s win over Ronda Rousey for the 135-pound title at UFC 193 in November 2015.

Brazil’s Nunes seemed well on her way to victory in the first round. He dropped Peña with a right hand within three minutes of the fight and spent some time near the end of the frame in top position. She smiled at Peña at the end of the round, and even delivered a high five before they returned to their corners.

The fight changed dramatically in the second round. Peña is not known as a fearsome puncher, but she began to find a home for her direct hits. Nunes’s face turned red from the blows on his chin and he began to breathe harder. However, he refused to back down or change tack, choosing to stand directly in front of Peña and trade shot for shot. He tried to land his right hand, which has finished so many fights in his career, but generally did not find his goal.

According to UFC Stats, Peña outscored Nunes in total strikes 79-46.

“I did everything I could tonight,” Nunes said. “I trained hard for it. Kudos to Julianna. She’s a warrior. I knew it all the time. I’ll go back to the gym, train more, and get the next one.”

It’s the first time Nunes has lost since 2014, when he lost a bantamweight fight to Cat Zingano. Since that loss, Nunes has won 12 straight bouts and claimed belts in multiple weight classes. His two most recent fights were at 145 pounds, so this was the first time since December 2019 that he had had to lose weight.