UFC 224: Nunes vs. Pennington Main Card Results

UFC 224 Main Event Amanda Nunes

Raquel Pennington was courageous throughout her UFC 224 main event against UFC women’s bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes, but “The Lioness” was simply too much for the challenger, as she scored a punishing fifth-round TKO at Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro to retain her crown for the third time.

“It was hard for me,” Nunes said of fighting her friend. “But to defend this belt, I had to do it.”

A leg kick by Nunes knocked Pennington off-balance and to the canvas as the fight began, and a minute in, she repeated the feat. Nunes was keeping Pennington’s back to the fence, allowing her to lead and land almost at will. Midway through the round, Pennington rushed to the middle of the Octagon and landed her own shots, but Nunes soon pressured her back to the fence. Pennington had some success late, though, proving that she was ready for the battle to come.

Nunes kept the pressure on in round two, digging to the body while also leaving Pennington’s left leg bruised up. Pennington got a takedown with under a minute left, but she wasn’t putting Nunes in any serious danger, something that needed to change if she was going to stop the champion.

In the second minute of round three, Nunes scored her first takedown of the fight, but a stall in the action brought a restart from referee Marc Goddard with a little under two minutes remaining. Both fighters went back to work, but the harder shots were being landed by Nunes, whose shots were rapidly closing Pennington’s right eye.

Nunes dominated the fourth behind solid clinch work punctuated by knees that appeared to break Pennington’s nose, and between rounds, the challenger told her corner she was done.

The gutsy Pennington still answered the bell for the final round, but it was only a matter of time until Nunes finished the fight, and she did with a series of unanswered ground strikes that brought Goddard in to step in at the 2:36 of the fifth frame.

With the win, Salvador’s Nunes moves to 16-4. Colorado Springs’ Pennington falls to 9-7.

GASTELUM vs SOUZA

Kelvin Gastelum survived the ground game of fellow middleweight contender Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza in the first round of their UFC 224 co-main event to come back in the next two frames and win a close split decision at Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro.

Scores were 29-28 twice and 28-29 for the No. 5-ranked Gastelum, now 16-3 with 1 NC. The No. 2-ranked Souza falls to 25-6 with 1 NC.

Souza was intent on getting the fight to the mat, and while Gastelum was able to resist for a while, with a little over three minutes to go, he was put on the deck by the Brazilian. Souza was able to secure the mount position, and with a little over a minute left, he went for Gastelum’s arm. The Arizonan defended well, escaping just before the end of the frame.

Gastelum came out fast for round two and began tagging Souza, who was soon bloodied by the incoming blows. Then “Jacare” was dropped by a left hand just past the midway point of the frame, and while Gastelum wasn’t able to finish, Souza was slow to get back to his feet. The Brazilian wasn’t done yet, though, and he kept throwing and landing power shots that were answered by Gastelum as a thrilling round came to a close.

Gastelum was clearly the fresher fighter in round three, but Souza still found a way to dig deep and land hard shots, thrilling the fans in attendance as the two went blow for blow down the stretch.

DERN vs COOPER

It was a rough week for Mackenzie Dern, who came in at 123 pounds for her strawweight bout with Amanda Cooper, but when the Octagon door closed, the unbeaten Dern delivered big, as she submitted Cooper in the first round.

Dern was winging overhand rights from the start, coming up short on the more technically sound Cooper. But when one of them landed with a little under three minutes to go, it dropped Cooper and that was all she wrote, as the decorated Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt took the Michigan native’s back and sunk in the rear naked choke that produced a tap out at 2:27 of the opening frame.

Dern moves to 7-0 with the win. Cooper falls to 4-4.

LINEKER vs KELLEHER

Paranagua slugger John Lineker delivered his best performance since his 2016 finish of Michael McDonald, as the bantamweight contender knocked out Brian Kelleher in the third round.

Kelleher had his moments in the opening round, particularly in the form of a left hand that wobbled Lineker’s legs. But the round still belonged to Lineker, who scored a quick knockdown just before the midway point of the round and landed several more hard blows.

Lineker upped his work rate in the second, with his brutal hooks to the body doing the most damage. And while he staggered Kelleher with a body shot with a little less than three minutes remaining, the New Yorker shook it off and got himself back in the pocket with his opponent.

Lineker continued to impress in the third, and just when it looked like Kelleher’s iron chin was going to get him to the final horn, “Hands of Stone” unleashed a left hook that landed flush and put Kelleher on the canvas, with referee Leon Roberts calling an immediate stop to the bout at 3:43 of the final round.

The No. 6-ranked Lineker moves to 31-8 with the win. Kelleher falls to 19-9.

UFC 224 Main Card Lyoto Machida

MACHIDA vs BELFORT

In a middleweight clash of Brazilian superstars, Lyoto Machida put a damper on Vitor Belfort’s final fight, knocking out “The Phenom” in the second round.

“It’s been a long ride,” said Belfort before leaving his gloves in the middle of the Octagon after concluding an epic career that began in October 1996 and saw him star in the UFC and PRIDE, defeating the likes of Tank Abbott, Wanderlei Silva, Heath Herring, Matt Lindland, Rich Franklin, Anthony Johnson, Michael Bisping, Luke Rockhold and Dan Henderson, just to name a few.

It looked like the two MMA icons were settling in for the long haul early on, as outside of some kicks from Machida and the occasional flurry from Belfort, there was little significant scoring in the opening round, as the two respectfully circled each other, looking for an opening to land.

The second round was going along the same pattern until Machida struck suddenly and in devastating fashion, with a left kick down the middle that landed flush on Belfort’s jaw and knocked him out, with referee Marc Goddard jumping in immediately to stop the fight at 1:00 of round two.

The No. 12 Machida moves to 24-8 with the win. The 41-year-old Belfort retires with a 26-14 with 1 NC.

Article Source: au.ufc.com By Thomas Gerbasi