LAS VEGAS – Amanda Nunes overwhelmed Miesha Tate, clubbing her with right hands before submitting her Saturday with a rear naked choke in the first round of their women’s bantamweight title fight at T-Mobile Arena in the main event of UFC 200.
The title has now changed hands in each of the past three fights. Holly Holm took it from Ronda Rousey at UFC 193 in November. Tate submitted Holm at UFC 196 in March and Nunes submitted Tate on Saturday.
“Miesha is a tough opponent and I respect her a lot but I’m the new champion,” Nunes said. “ … I feel amazing.”
Tate, who had a difficult weight cut and didn’t show up to the scale until seconds before the cut-off on Friday, never did much in the first defense of her title.
Nunes caught her with a right hand near the center of the Octagon that sent Tate wobbling back toward the cage. She followed with a right, a left and then three more rights.
When Tate went down, Nunes immediately pounced, taking Tate’s back. She quickly sunk in the rear naked choke and Tate tapped.
“When I saw her hurt, I controlled myself because I know she comes back hard,” Nunes said.
Tate, whose nose was pouring blood immediately after the stoppage and was badly swollen as she returned to the dressing room, congratulated her opponent.
She was gracious and blamed the defeat on a mistake. But she didn’t seem particularly confident entering the cage and didn’t fight that way.
“She caught me fair and square,” Tate said. “I made a mistake. I got careless and it cost me really big.”
Her next opponent could be Rousey, who hasn’t fought since losing to Holm and who has barely spoken to the MMA media since.
Rousey is expected to return in either December or January. UFC president Dana White has said that when she returns, she’ll fight whomever has the title.
It’s not clear if Nunes will defend her title before Rousey is ready, but it seems a good bet that White will make her wait. Rousey is recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery she had last month.
UFC 200: Brock Lesnar outlasts Mark Hunt to win after 4 1/2 years away from Octagon
LAS VEGAS – Brock Lesnar hadn’t won a mixed martial arts fight in more than six years, since he’d submitted Shane Carwin with an arm triangle on July 3, 2010, at UFC 116.
He ended that streak in a big way on Saturday at UFC 200, scoring a unanimous decision over Mark Hunt at the T-Mobile Arena.
Lesnar, who left the UFC after being stopped by Alistair Overeem at UFC 141 in 2011 because of diverticulitis, was extraordinarily wary of Hunt’s power.
Hunt is one of the biggest punchers in the sport and Lesnar clearly respected that power. When Hunt so much as drew his arm back with a closed fist, Lesnar was diving at his legs.
He managed to get Hunt on his back in the first and third rounds, and won the fight by pounding Hunt with hammer fists.
Hunt simply didn’t have the skill or the strength to deal with Lesnar once he was on his back.
But Lesnar, a former UFC heavyweight champion, wasn’t on point all night.
“It took me a little while to get acclimated,” he conceded.
Hunt didn’t do a ton in the second, but he was attacking and trying to throw, and he managed to stay on his feet. That gave each man a round apiece, and Lesnar knew he needed the third.
He took Hunt down with a double leg near the fence about a minute into the final round and they stayed in the corner the rest of the fight. Lesnar didn’t do excessive damage, but he did land enough to bloody Hunt and win the fight.
He’s going to wrestle again for the WWE in August, and his MMA future is unclear.
“One day at a time,” he said. “I’m so happy to be in here. One thing I do want to do: America, a shout out to the men in uniform who protect this country, from sea to shining sea.”
That was typical Lesnar, playing to the crowd, which roared. And the fight was typical Lesnar, too, brute strength and elite wrestling ruling the day.
Daniel Cormier smothers Anderson Silva in boo-filled, one-sided decision
LAS VEGAS – Daniel Cormier learned on Saturday how to win the fight and lose the crowd.
The UFC light heavyweight champion won a wide unanimous decision over the legendary Anderson Silva at UFC 200 at T-Mobile Arena, but he didn’t come out of it better in the eyes of the fans.
Cormier wound up fighting Silva, the former middleweight champion and one of the great fighters in the sport’s history, because his original opponent, Jon Jones, failed a drug test and was pulled from the card.
On Thursday, Silva accepted the fight on just 48 hours notice and the crowd loved that he did. A two-time Olympic wrestler who was in shape for a five-round fight was far too much for the 41-year-old Silva, who had gall bladder surgery in May.
Silva was taken down and pounded by Cormier, not unexpectedly. As the fight wore on, the crowd booed lustily, agitated that Cormier wouldn’t stand. Whenever Cormier landed a takedown in the second half of the fight, the crowd would erupt in boos.
At one point, the crowd began chanting, “Stand them up,” as Cormier held Silva down in half-guard.
The crowd roared for Silva and after the bout, he grabbed the microphone to thank the fans.
He said it wasn’t a problem fighting Cormier, who is bigger, but coming off surgery so recently was.
“This fight was a big personal challenge for me to accept it,” Silva said. “I’m used to training with heavier guys. [But] I haven’t really trained since the surgery and this was a good test.”
Cormier, who said Silva is his idol, got onto his knees and embraced Silva, soon after the fight ended. It was a touching moment but the crowd didn’t care. They’d paid big money to see Cormier fight Jones and weren’t thrilled when he didn’t make a show of it against Silva.
“I’ve been training for a specific guy for eight weeks,” Cormier said. “Then, all of a sudden, I’m fighting Anderson Silva. He’s so great, so I did what I had to do.”
He fought the smart fight, no doubt, but it could have long-term repercussions against him. Cormier is one of the sport’s true good guys, as well as a great fighter.
But he was ripped by the fans in the arena and on social media.
Jose Aldo beats Frankie Edgar to set up Conor McGregor rematch
LAS VEGAS – Jose Aldo has long been one of the best offensive fighters in mixed martial arts. But on Saturday, he won the interim UFC featherweight title with a near-perfect defense.
Aldo put on a clinic in his bout against ex-lightweight champion Frankie Edgar, popping Edgar with his jab, making Edgar miss, denying his takedowns and mixing in an occasional right hand or kick.
Judges had it 49-46 twice and 48-47 for Aldo, who will fight regular champion Conor McGregor later in the year. McGregor has a rematch at welterweight upcoming at UFC 202 on Aug. 20 against Nate Diaz.
When he’s healthy after that fight, he’ll rematch Aldo, whom he defeated in 13 seconds at UFC 194 in December in a stunning result.
Aldo acknowledged McGregor, who was seated cageside.
“The next time I come here, I will beat him,” Aldo said. “I promise you, I will beat him.”
Aldo repeatedly expressed his gratitude for coach Andre Pederneiras, who came up with a masterful game plan that took away much of Edgar’s offense.
“My coach, I love my coach,” Aldo said.
In the first round, Edgar was the aggressor and Aldo seemed content to gauge the distance and Edgar’s speed.
Edgar seemed to be in control of the first when Aldo landed a sharp right hand that stung the ex-lightweight champion. Otherwise, though, it was a quiet first for the Brazilian.
But Aldo mixed up his attack nicely. He opened a cut by Edgar’s right eye and swelled his left eye nearly closed. He was in and out, ducked under shots and was generally never where Edgar thought he’d be.
Edgar couldn’t get him down despite repeated attempts and clearly looked frustrated as the fight wound down.
Yahoo Sports scored it 49-46 for Aldo.
Cain Velasquez pummels Travis Browne in statement-making first-round TKO
LAS VEGAS – Vintage Cain Velasquez was on display Saturday in his heavyweight bout with Travis Browne to open the main card of UFC 200 at T-Mobile Arena.
Velasquez overwhelmed Browne, who was never in the fight, from the very beginning. He hit him with fists, kicks, elbows and flung him to the ground when he needed.
It was reminiscent of the seemingly unbeatable guy who defeated Brock Lesnar in 2010 to win the heavyweight title and who delivered frightful beatings to the likes of Junior dos Santos and Antonio “Big Foot” Silva.
“It feels good,” Velasquez said. “Travis fights hard, and it feels good to come back and win. I want to fight the best guys. I want to fight for the title, yeah. If the UFC wants it, I’ll do it, but I want to fight the best guys.”
Browne is one of the best, but he was overwhelmed by Velasquez, who was too quick, too strong and too powerful for him.
Velasquez has battled a series of injuries and lost his heavyweight title to Fabricio Werdum in Mexico City on June 13, 2015.
There was speculation that the years of wrestling and his hard training style had taken a toll on his body and that he could no longer be effective at the highest level.
But he dispelled that myth quickly Saturday. He hit Browne with a spinning kick to the head, and dumped him with a flurry of shots.
It was probably the best he’s looked since he beat dos Santos at UFC 166 on Oct. 19, 2013.