UFC 269: Julianna Pena beats Amanda Nunes to claim bantamweight crown

Julianna Pena pulled off one of the biggest upsets in mixed martial arts history to score a second-round submission win over Amanda Nunes.

Julianna Pena celebrates after defeating Amanda Nunes of Brazil to win the women's bantamweight title during the UFC 269 event at T-Mobile Arena on December 11, 2021 in Las Vegas.   -  AFP

Julianna Pena pulled off one of the biggest upsets in mixed martial arts history to score a second-round submission win over Amanda Nunes and win the UFC bantamweight title at UFC 269 on Saturday.

Pena looked to be in trouble in the first round against one of the most dominant champions the sport has ever seen, but the 32-year-old came storming back in round two, rocking Nunes with combinations.

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Nunes' five-year reign at the top came to an end when she tapped out at the 3:23 mark of the second round as Pena sank in a rear naked choke to hand the Brazilian her first defeat since September 2014.

"I told you, don't ever doubt me again. Willpower, strength and determination will take you places," Pena said in a post-fight interview in the cage. "You literally have the ability to do anything you want in this life, and I just proved that tonight."

Nunes was fighting for only the third time in two years after making two featherweight defenses since her most recent defense of her bantamweight belt in December 2019. Few opponents had even given her a stiff challenge since her second victory over current flyweight champ Valentina Shevchenko by split decision in 2017.

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