By Dave Doyle |
June 7, 2020 1:00 am
Amanda Nunes added another marker in her claim for the title of greatest women’s MMA fighter of all time on Saturday night.
Defending her UFC featherweight title for the first time since she dethroned Cris Cyborg in December 2018, Nunes (20-4 MMA, 13-1 UFC) rolled over Felicia Spencer for her 11th consecutive victory in the main event of UFC 250.
An incredibly tough Spencer (8-2 MMA, 2-2 UFC) made it to the final horn, but she survived a mauling. The judges scores were 50-44, 50-44, and 50-45 for a unanimous decision.
“I wasn’t surprised. I know she was tough,” Nunes said in a nod to her opponent’s toughness. “I knew what she was capable of.”
Nunes also has been bantamweight champion since July 2016, making her the longest reigning current UFC champion of either gender. She’s defended the 135-pound belt twice since winning the featherweight belt, so Saturday night’s victory made Nunes the first champ-champ in UFC history to successfully defend both titles while holding them.
It became clear early that while Spencer is a tough and tenacious opponent, she’s simply not on Nunes’ level. In the opening round, Nunes landed a couple of bombs, which caused Spencer to go for a defensive clinch. Nunes, however, executed a pinpoint trip, then spent the remainder of the round winning the positional battle on the ground and landing elbows that cut Spencer open.
In the second, Nunes continued imposing her will, using jab-overhand right combos that kept Spencer backpedaling. When Spencer shot for a takedown, Nunes parried, adjusted and turned it into a takedown of her own.
By this point, it was clear the fight was going to end whenever Nunes felt like it. Nunes kept it standing in the third and landed at will as the fight started to feel like more of a sparring contest. Nunes sent Spencer’s mouthpiece flying with an overhand right. Spencer’s takedown attempts got sloppy. Nunes rocked Spencer with a brutal uppercut in the final minute. Leg kicks added up as Spencer began to visibly limp.
If nothing else, Spencer’s toughness proved to be otherworldly, which was demonstrated in the fifth, as Nunes landed shot after shot after shot. Nunes went for the kill late in the round and had a tight rear-naked choke applied as the horn sounded.
Spencer emerged from the fourth sporting a nasty hematoma on her forehead, but her corner sent her back out for the fifth. The fight hit the mat as Nunes delivered elbows that rendered Spencer a bloody mess. In the final minute, referee Herb Dean called a timeout, but the doctor cleared Spencer to finish the fight.
Nunes, who hasn’t lost since 2014, recorded her fourth career decision win. Spencer has dropped two of her past three.
The women’s featherweight title bout was the UFC 250 main event at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. It aired on pay-per-view following prelims on ESPN/ESPN+ and early prelims on UFC Fight Pass/ESPN+.
Up-to-the-minute UFC 250 results include:
- Amanda Nunes def. Felicia Spencer via unanimous decision (50-44, 50-44, 50-45)
- Cody Garbrandt def. Raphael Assuncao via knockout (punch) – Round 2, 4:59
- Aljamain Sterling def. Cory Sandhagen via submission (rear-naked choke) — Round 1, 1:28
- Neil Magny def. Anthony Rocco Martin via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
- Sean O’Malley def. Eddie Wineland via KO (punch) — Round 1, 1:54
- Alex Caceres def. Chase Hooper via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Ian Heinisch def. Gerald Meerschaert via TKO (punches) — Round 1, 1:14
- Cody Stamann def. Brian Kelleher via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Maki Pitolo def. Charles Byrd via TKO (punches) – Round 2, 1:10
- Alex Perez def. Jussier Formiga via TKO (leg kicks) – Round 1, 4:06
- Devin Clark def. Alonzo Menifield via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
- Herbert Burns def. Evan Dunham via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 1, 1:20