In one of the biggest upsets in UFC history, Peña secured her place on the bantamweight throne in the final pay-per-view co-main event of the year this past weekend. Heading into the contest, Nunes was unbeaten since 2014, held both the 135-pound and 145-pound titles, and had defeated the likes of Valentina Shevchenko, Cris Cyborg, and Holly Holm across a 12-fight win streak.
Peña, meanwhile, was 2-2 in her last four fights after suffering defeats to Shevchenko and Germain de Randamie. Nevertheless, “The Venezuelan Vixen” boasted unwavering confidence throughout fight week, something that crossed over into the octagon on Saturday night.
After dropping the opening round, Peña came out in the second ready to shock the world. Taking the attack to the “Lioness” on the feet like nobody before her, the 32-year-old rocked the Brazilian and wore her out. After dragging her to the mat with ease, Peña forced the tap in seconds with a rear-naked choke.
Sonnen: “Julianna Was In A Terrible Position”
Very few predicted Nunes’ bantamweight reign would come to an end inside the T-Mobile Arena on December 11. One man that did was former UFC middleweight and light heavyweight Chael Sonnen. The 44-year-old branded the matchup as “the most likely upset” of the former champ’s entire career and a “stylistic disaster” for Nunes.
With his prediction ringing true, Sonnen has discussed the incredible result. The analyst suggested Nunes “quit” against Peña, who he doesn’t believe was in a position where she should have been able to secure a victory at the time.
“I got to tell you man, that was a different fight. We’ve seen upsets before… If you take Mike Tyson vs. Buster Douglas, where Mike is trying to get up and he just can’t beat the count or when Ronda Rousey got her head kicked into the third row but she didn’t want it to happen. This was totally different. Amanda flicked it. That was 100% mental beating, zero percent physical. That submission wasn’t there… That was not a move, that was absolutely not a fighting technique. Julianna was in a terrible position and Amanda quit!” (h/t Sportskeeda)
Off the back of one of the most remarkable underdog successes in the promotion’s history, talk has now turned to what the future holds for both the newly crowned bantamweight queen and the fallen “Lioness.”
While a rematch certainly appears to be the obvious choice, Peña revealed she’s also hoping to get back the losses she suffered against Shevchenko and de Randamie, both of which she believes she had in the bag before making “amateur mistakes.”
If either of those happen, Nunes would seemingly look to defend her featherweight title. Whilst a super-fight with two-time PFL champion Kayla Harrison has likely lost some momentum as a result of Nunes’ defeat, you’d be hard-pressed to find a fan or pundit not interested in seeing the two teammates collide still.
Do you agree with Chael Sonnen? Did Amanda Nunes quit at UFC 269?