UFC 245: Amanda Nunes and Kamaru Usman defend titles; Alexander Volkanovski wins belt
It wasn’t a vintage Amanda Nunes performance, but the end result was familiar. Nunes cemented her place as the UFC’s greatest female mixed martial arts fighter Saturday night at UFC 245 with a unanimous decision over Germaine de Randamie to retain her bantamweight title and claim her 10th consecutive victory.
In the main event, Kamaru Usman successfully defended his welterweight belt against Colby Covington with a dramatic fifth-round TKO in the final minute. Afterward, Covington ran to the locker room at T-Mobile Arena before Bruce Buffer could announce Usman as the winner.
Covington became one of the UFC’s most polarizing fighters for his strong support of President Trump and for controversial comments about opponents. Usman, who broke Covington’s jaw, landed a series of punches before referee Mark Goddard stopped the fight.
“This one was really emotional because I really wanted to knock him out,” Usman said. “All month long, I said I was going to punish him for 24 minutes and then I’m going to finish him.”
In the co-main event, Alexander Volkanovski scored a unanimous decision over Max Holloway to claim the featherweight championship. Holloway is regarded as the greatest featherweight in UFC history and was riding a 13-match winning streak in the division, tied with Jon Jones, Anderson Silva and Demetrious Johnson for the longest in the promotion’s history. Volkanovski is not only the new champion but also has an impressive streak of his own. He hasn’t lost in six years, has won 18 fights in a row and is 21-1 in his career.
“We’ve had great champions in this division, and I’m going to be a great champion too,” Volkanovski said. “I’m going to stay champion for a long time.”
Nunes delivered another dominating opening round, but De Randamie survived and Nunes was forced to go to the ground and set the record for most takedowns landed in a UFC women’s title fight (eight) in order to record the most wins in UFC women’s history (12).
“My game plan was to go five rounds and work the takedown,” Nunes said. “I almost got two submissions but made some mistakes, and I have to fix that. Just a little bit of the technique was off, but I will fix it and next time I will get it.
“Honestly, I was a little bit off tonight, but I’m the champ. I always have plan A, B, C and more. If something goes wrong with the first plan, I just go to the next one. I couldn’t get my timing well with the striking, so I decided to go to the takedown.”
Nunes has dominated her competition in becoming the first female two-division champion in the UFC. After defeating Ronda Rousey, Cris Cyborg, Holly Holm and Miesha Tate in the first round, her next big-name opponent might have to come from outside the UFC. Champion boxer Claressa Shields was at T-Mobile Arena and was shown on the video board before the fifth round. Shields talked to UFC President Dana White about a potential dream fight between the two champions, and Shields said “it’s definitely possible.”
Terence Crawford knocked down Egidijus Kavaliauskas three times before stopping him in the ninth round to remain unbeaten and defend his welterweight title.
The career of UFC hall of famer Urijah Faber might have came to an end after he was dropped in the third round by a front kick from Petr Yan, who also knocked Faber down twice in the second round. Faber retired in 2016 but came out of retirement this year at age 40 and defeated Ricky Simon in July. He had hoped a win Saturday would allow him to pursue the bantamweight championship one last time.
Jose Aldo, arguably the greatest featherweight fighter of all time, made the rough cut to 135 pounds Saturday but looked better than many expected in the new weight class. He lost a close split decision to Marlon Moraes (29-28, 28-29, 29-28), despite many believing Aldo deserved the win. Aldo has lost two straight after falling to Volkanovski in May and has lost five of his last eight fights.
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