The Ultimate Fighting Champion returned to Rio this week for UFC 224: Nunes vs. Pennington. The championship headliner and most of the rest of the card are set following Friday’s early morning weigh-in, but one of the sport’s brightest rising stars was well above the mark.
The UFC 224 main event sees bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes put her belt on the line for the third time, as she squares off with friend and top contender Raquel Pennington.
Nunes (15-4) enters the bout on the heels of a six-fight winning streak that includes the likes of Ronda Rousey, Miesha Tate, and Valentina Shevchenko, but hasn’t set foot in the Octagon since September 2017. Pennington (9-5) is in the midst of a four-fight winning streak, but has been sidelined even longer than Nunes. She hasn’t fought since November 2016.
Nunes and Pennington both weighed in right away and on the championship mark of 135 pounds.
Top middleweights Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza and Kelvin Gastelum are featured in the UFC 224 co-main event in a battle that could determine the next middleweight challenger. Gastelum has had his issues with making weight in the past, but stepped on the scale early at 185 pounds even. Jacare was a pound heavier at 186.
UFC 224 will also serve as the platform for Vitor Belfort’s UFC retirement fight. After weighing 184 pounds at Friday’s proceedings, Belfort will step in the Octagon opposite countryman Lyoto Machida on Saturday night to open the pay-per-view main card in Brazil. Machida stepped on the scale at 186 pounds.
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One fighter that wasn’t even close to making weight was Mackenzie Dern, who, in only her second UFC bout, was slated to be featured in the middle of the UFC 224 main card on pay-per-view. She, however, stepped on the scale at 123 pounds for her bout with Amanda Cooper. Their fight was to be contested at strawweight, which has an upper limit of 116 pounds for a non-title fight, putting Dern at seven pounds beyond the allowed mark. Cooper was on weight for the fight at 116 pounds.
There was no word at the time of publication as to the status of the Dern vs. Cooper bout, but with such a weight disparity, it certainly puts the bout in jeopardy. MMAWeekly.com will provide updates on the bout’s status as it develops.
UFC 224: Nunes vs. Pennington Weigh-in Results
Main Card (10 p.m. ET on Pay-Per-View)
- Amanda Nunes (135)(c) vs. Raquel Pennington (135)
- Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza (186) vs. Kelvin Gastelum (185)
- Mackenzie Dern (123) vs. Amanda Cooper (116)*
- John Lineker (136) vs. Brian Kelleher (136)
- Vitor Belfort (184) vs. Lyota Machida (186)
Prelims (8 p.m. ET on FX)
- Cezar Ferreira (186) vs. Karl Roberson (185)
- Alexey Oleynik (235) vs. Junior Albini (266)
- Davi Ramos (156) vs. Nick Hein (155)
- Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos (171) vs. Sean Strickland (170)
Early Prelims (6:15 p.m. ET on UFC Fight Pass)
- Warlley Alves (171) vs. Sultan Aliev (171)
- Thales Leites (186) vs. Jack Hermansson (186)
- Alberto Mina (171) vs. Ramazan Emeev (171)
- Markus Perez (186) vs. James Bochnovic (186)
*Mackenzie Dern missed weight by seven pounds.
Tune in to MMAWeekly.com on Saturday for full UFC 224: Nunes vs. Pennington live results and fight stats. The first bout is scheduled to start at 6:15 p.m. ET / 3:15 p.m. PT.