PIERCE: UFC 250 brings Bantamweight showcase, Amanda Nunes’ ninth title fight
Photo credits: UFC
On Saturday, UFC 250 bolstered a great lineup for fans watching pay-per-view at home. This was the best main card we’ve seen in quite some time as the night included everything from technical submissions and huge knockouts, to another title defense from the greatest woman combat athlete of all time. The five-fight main card on Saturday proved that the UFC has not lost its touch, even during a global pandemic. Here is a breakdown of some key moments during UFC 250.
With three of the five fights being in the bantamweight division, UFC 250 proved to be a showcase for the 135-pound class. Since the title was vacated following Henry Cejudo’s retirement, the top-ranked competitors are itching for their chance to get the belt.
UFC 250 kicked off in incredible fashion when Sean O’Malley knocked out Eddie Wineland in the first round during the first fight on the main card. A heavy overhand right completely swept Wineland, forcing his body to lay motionless on the canvas for several seconds after the hit.
With the win, O’Malley moved to 12-0 and 4-0 in the UFC Bantamweight division. While he might not be in the running for the championship yet, he will surely become a ranked contender within the division if he continues to churn out impressive victories.
The race for the bantamweight strap also got tighter at the event, as No. 2 Aljamain Sterling was able to prove he deserves a title shot in the near future. He was able to finish Cory Sandhagen with a rear naked choke in the first round.
Sterling had a quick start and was able to get Sandhagen on the ground within the first thirty seconds of the fight. From there he was able to secure a body triangle to put the pressure on Sandhagen, and it was only a matter of time until a chokehold was deep enough to force a submission.
The final bantamweight bout of the evening came in the co-main event between No. 9 Cody Garbrandt and No. 5 Raphael Assuncao. It was here that Garbrandt, who is a former bantamweight champion, was able to end his three-fight losing streak and win his first contest since 2016.
Garbrandt was able to knockout Assuncao in the second round to cap off his impressive victory. He will surely move up the rankings when they come out next week. While the three losses in a row were an all-time low for Garbrandt’s career, he now believes that he is back and ready for another run at the title.
“[Winning] feels amazing,” Garbrandt told Joe Rogan in the post-fight interview. “It has been a journey. I got the passion back in my heart. I am so excited to keep striving forward.”
My biggest takeaway from UFC 250 is that the Bantamweight division is extremely competitive and very underrated. There is a new wave of stars coming in at 135-pounds.
“The Lioness” Remains on Top
Amanda Nunes, the greatest woman fighter of all time, made history on Saturday as she became the first UFC fighter to simultaneously hold two division belts and defend one of them while still holding the other.
At UFC 250 Felicia Spencer was the one who signed the dotted line to take on “The Lioness”. While Spencer may have been able to take the champion the distance, the superior fighter was evident as Nunes was able to maintain complete control for the entirety of the contest. Not only did Nunes severely beat Spencer with devastating calf kicks and big right hands, she was also quicker to the punch, outstriking the challenger 132-70.
While the outcome may not have been the one that Spencer hoped for, her heart and drive were still on display to the world on Saturday night. She survived huge melees and ground-and-pound for 25 minutes. This is no easy feat and Spencer gained a tremendous amount of my respect for her heart as a fighter.
“She is very tough,” Nunes told Rogan in the post-fight interview. “I know what she is capable of. I am defending both belts. I am the greatest. I am very proud of myself and my team.”
At this time, Nunes could not even answer the question of who is next, as she has beaten essentially everyone in both bantamweight and featherweight divisions. At UFC 250, commentator Joe Rogan pointed out that a competitor must rise and challenge Nunes before she retires. Until then, Nunes will be taking some time off as she will become a mother later this year.
UFC 250 was full of huge hits and history being made. The next event will be next Saturday, June 13 for UFC Fight Night: Eye vs. Calvillo.
Written by: Drew Pierce