Amanda Nunes stopped Holly Holm in the first round – with the ex-champ’s signature weapon, no less.
A right head kick sent Holm (12-4 MMA, 5-4 UFC) crashing to the mat, and Nunes (17-4 MMA, 10-1 UFC) finished off the fight at the 4:10 mark of the opening round for her fourth bantamweight title defense.
The women’s bantamweight title bout was the co-main event of Saturday’s UFC 239 show at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. It aired on pay-per-view following prelims on ESPN and UFC Fight Pass/ESPN+.
“I worked on it in my warmup,” Nunes said afterward of her kick. “I knew I was going to get her kicking.”
Holm had sniped at Nunes’ lead leg with her characteristic side kick. She was in the middle of one attack when Nunes turned the tables by going high.
It was a sudden and violent end to a fight that started tentatively, with both fighters playing chess on their feet. Nunes eventually opened up with her punches, trying to land heavy hooks. But Holm controlled distance well and even managed to avoid a trip to the canvas when an early clinch resulted in a trip from the champ.
Amanda Nunes (red gloves) fights Holly Holm (blue gloves) at T-Mobile Arena. (Photo: Stephen R. Sylvanie, USA TODAY Sports)
Having beaten all of the women who’ve held the belt in the bantamweight division, Nunes welcomed a trip back to the featherweight division, where she took the belt this past December by ending the reign of champ Cris Cyborg.