INGLEWOOD, California — Amanda Nunes ended Cris “Cyborg” Justino’s reign at the top of the women’s mountain in mixed martial arts, stopping Cyborg in 51 seconds with a blizzard of powerful punches to become the UFC featherweight champion Saturday in the co-main event of UFC 232 at The Forum.
Nunes not only becomes the first woman in UFC history to win titles in two weight classes, and cements herself as the greatest female fighter in the sport’s history. She fought Cyborg’s fight — toe to toe, power versus power — and came out on top.
The fight was breathtaking, as each woman came out firing haymakers. Afterward, Nunes yelled toward UFC president Dana White, “Dana, now can I go into the Hall of Fame?”
She will get there eventually, after routing the greatest women in the sport’s history. She submitted Miesha Tate at UFC 200 to win the bantamweight title, and then blew out Ronda Rousey at UFC 207 in less than a minute.
On Saturday, she added the woman many believed was invincible to that impressive collection of scalps. Cyborg hadn’t lost since her pro debut, and over more than 13 years had won 20 consecutive bouts.
She didn’t win 20 fights; she steamrolled her opponents. She was a force of nature but she’d never faced anyone who could hit like Nunes.
Nunes may not hit as hard as Cyborg, but it’s close, and her punches landed on the chin over and over on Saturday as the crowd roared. It may have been the best women’s fight in UFC history as they stood and traded bombs while the sell-out crowd roared its approval.
Nunes started the finishing combination with a left, and then followed with a looping right that landed on the chin. Cyborg slumped to the canvas and it wasn’t long before referee Marc Goddard stopped it.
Nunes leaped up and over the Octagon to celebrate, then climbed back over and ran to the center of the cage and fell onto her back, arms outstretched, in celebration.
It was an emphatic, definitive win and makes Nunes one of the sport’s biggest attractions. Anyone looking at her body of work who doesn’t mark her fights on the calendar the day they’re announced is not a fight fan.
She’s got a black belt in jiu-jitsu, but Nunes’ success comes from the power in her hands. She has that one punch type of power that could end a fight at anytime. She submitted Tate to win the title, but only after pummeling her and hurting Tate badly with big punches.
Nunes went into her heavily hyped fight with Rousey not getting much attention, but demanded it by hurting Rousey with just about every punch she threw before winning in just 48 seconds.
Nothing, though, came close to the wild, high-paced, incredible performance she put on against a woman who had been considered nearly invincible.
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