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UFC 250: Amanda Nunes beats Felicia Spencer; Conor McGregor says he’s retiring

Amanda Nunes reacts after defeating Germaine de Randamie at UFC 245 on Dec. 14, 2019, in Las Vegas.
Amanda Nunes, seen here in December, defeated Felicia Spencer at UFC 250 on Saturday night in Las Vegas.
(John Locher / Associated Press)

UFC 250 was supposed to take place in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on May 9. It was supposed to be a homecoming for two-division UFC champion Amanda Nunes. But nothing that was supposed to happen over the last three months has gone according to plan because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Though COVID-19 forced the UFC to move the event to the company’s training center in Las Vegas one month later, it could not change the inevitable result as Nunes defended her UFC featherweight championship with a unanimous-decision victory over Felicia Spencer.

The victory gives Nunes 11 consecutive wins, the longest winning streak among women’s fighters in UFC history and tied for the second-longest active streak behind Khabib Nurmagomedov’s 12 straight victories. Nunes, whose 13 wins are the most by a female fighter in UFC history, was defending her featherweight title for the first time since winning it in December 2018, as her last two fights have been for her bantamweight championship.

The Lakers had won 11 of 13, including victories over the Milwaukee Bucks and Clippers, when the pandemic shut down the NBA season. They hope to stay hot when play resumes.

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Cody Garbrandt, who seemed destined for superstardom when he won the UFC bantamweight championship Dec. 30, 2016, notched his first victory since that night with a dramatic knockout punch of Raphael Assuncao as the second-round buzzer sounded. The victory broke a three-fight losing streak dating to his win over Dominick Cruz at UFC 207.

In other fights on the main card, Aljamain Sterling, the No. 2 UFC bantamweight, defeated Cory Sandhagen, the No. 4 UFC bantamweight, with a rear-naked choke in the first round. Neil Magny defeated Anthony Rocco Martin in a welterweight bout by unanimous decision, and Sean O’Malley beat Eddie Wineland with a one-punch, walk-off knockout in the first round.

UFC’s first pay-per-view back in Las Vegas since the pandemic coincided with the reopening of the Las Vegas Strip for the first time since March 17. The long layoff might have led to one gambler placing a historic wager. Before the main event, a William Hill bettor in Las Vegas placed a $1-million bet on Nunes, which paid $1,166,666.70. According to the sportsbook operator, it’s the largest bet ever taken on an MMA event in William Hill’s history.

Conor McGregor again says he’s retiring

Conor McGregor announced his retirement for the third time in four years.

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McGregor abruptly made his latest dubious declaration late Saturday night on his Twitter account, where the former two-division UFC champion also announced his retirement in 2016 and 2019.

“Hey guys I’ve decided to retire from fighting,” McGregor wrote in a caption above a photo of him and his mother. “Thank you all for the amazing memories! What a ride it’s been!”

The 31-year-old Irish superstar revitalized his combat sports career in January with an impressive first-round stoppage of Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone at UFC 246. McGregor (22-4) hadn’t won a fight in a mixed martial arts cage or a boxing ring since 2016, but he remained the UFC’s brightest star and biggest financial draw.

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UFC President Dana White has already said McGregor is next in line for a title shot at the winner of lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov’s bout with Justin Gaethje this summer.

The UFC’s schedule is in upheaval because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but McGregor was expected to get his title shot later this year, and he recently had been talking to White about taking another fight even earlier. Earlier this week, McGregor posted photos and videos of himself training for fights.

Retirements are a time-honored device for gathering attention and increased bargaining power in combat sports. From Muhammad Ali and Floyd Mayweather to Tito Ortiz and Chuck Liddell, countless champions of boxing and MMA have gone back on their solemn announcements whenever need or ego brought them back to the sport.

— Associated Press


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