The women’s bantamweight division debuted in the UFC in February 2013, and heading into Saturday’s UFC 200 pay-per-view event, three women had held the title. When the lights dimmed following the night of fights at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, the UFC had a new women’s 135-pound champion.
Ronda Rousey held the title for three years, defending it six times. Holly Holm dethroned Rousey with a stunning knockout finish at UFC 193, but lost in her first title defense to Mieisha Tate. In her first title defense, Tate relinquished the belt to Amanda Nunes in Saturday’s main event.
Nunez came out aggressive, taking the fight to Tate. Tate secured an early takedown, but the Brazilian immediately bounced back to her feet. Once the fight was back standing, things quickly started to unravel for “Cupcake.” Nunes repeatedly delivered right hands. One staggered Tate, who tried to retreat. Her legs gave out and Nunes pounced on her as soon as she fell to the canvas. Nunes quickly took Tate’s back and put her Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt to use. She applied a rear-naked choke, and Tate was forced to tap out.
“I always have things to work on and try to make things happen in my life. Miehsa’s a tough opponent. Everybody knows that. I respect Miesha a lot and I’m the new champion,” said Nunes after the submission win. “For years I’ve been working hard for this moment. I feel amazing. I’m going to go back to Brazil and visit my family. Now I’m going back to Brazil and bringing this belt with me.”
“The Lioness” stayed composed once she realized Tate was hurt and applied just enough pressure without wildly going for the finish. She’s seen Tate comeback in fights and didn’t want it to happen against her.
“When I saw she was hurt, I controlled myself because I know she can come back. I made sure she couldn’t come back anymore,” she said.
Tate gave Nunes her just due after the loss and vowed to come back stronger in her next outing.
“She’s a very fast starter, very dangerous in the first round and she caught me. Amanda is a very dangerous fighter. I made some mistakes. I got careless and it cost me big,” said Tate after the loss. “Right now I’m going regroup for a week and then I’ll be back in the gym. I always come back stronger.”