- MMA columnist for ESPN.com
- Analyst for “MMA Live”
- Covered MMA for Las Vegas Sun
LAS VEGAS — Amanda Nunes, the most dominant female fighter in mixed martial arts history, did her thing again on Saturday in an absolute thrashing of No. 1 featherweight contender Megan Anderson.
Nunes (21-4) forced Anderson (10-5) to tap to an armbar at 2:03 of the opening round of their featherweight title fight at UFC 259 inside the Apex. In all likelihood, she could have finished the fight any way she wanted. She rocked Anderson with a right hand in the opening minute, a shot that had the challenger on skates. Anderson was so hurt, she actually shot a takedown on Nunes, which led to a finish on the ground.
With the victory, Nunes defended her 145-pound title for the second time. She is also still in control of the 135-pound bantamweight title. She is one of only three champions in UFC history to defend titles in multiple weight classes, and she holds UFC records for the women’s divisions in wins (14), finishes (10) and wins in title fights (9).
“The plan was exactly how I finished the fight,” Nunes said. “I’m here. It’s not my fault [I’m this dominant]. I know there are a lot of girls out there who want this opportunity. Who wants it?”
Anderson, of Queensland, Australia, was a plus-700 underdog going into the fight — and that might not have been high enough. The 31-year-old did enough to earn a shot at Nunes in the 145-pound weight class, but she looked shellshocked from the opening bell. Nunes slipped in a fastball overhand right early on, and it was all survival instincts from Anderson from then on. She ate several more right hands, before desperately attempting a takedown.
Nunes, a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, easily stuffed the shot and moved to top position. She set up a triangle, armbar attempt almost instantly and quickly produced the fourth submission win of her career. She extended her win streak to 12 overall, which is the second longest in the UFC behind only welterweight champion Kamaru Usman.
Nunes and her wife, UFC strawweight Nina Ansaroff, brought their infant daughter, Raegan, into the Octagon after the win. Nunes, who was born in Brazil but trains in Florida, had Raegan at her side all fight week.
“I’m more dangerous now with my little girl,” Nunes said. “No one is stopping me.”
The UFC has not indicated any long-term plans for its 145-pound division, but there is no one in the foreseeable future for Nunes to fight at that weight. Her next move will almost assuredly be at bantamweight, where she has held the title since UFC 200 in 2016. She has defeated all of the sport’s biggest names, including Miesha Tate, Ronda Rousey, Holly Holm, Cris Cyborg and Germaine de Randamie.
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