Amanda Nunes completely dominated in her bantamweight championship rematch against Julianna Pena at UFC 277 on Saturday, reclaiming the title she lost back in December.

Nunes, 34, was considered arguably the most dominant woman in the history of mixed martial arts heading into that December showdown, which resulted in a shock upset loss – her first defeat since 2015.

The Brazilian appeared slow and off her game that night, but any hopes from Pena's camp that it would be a similar showing the second time around were dispelled early.

Nunes dominated from the first bell to the last, with three clean knockdowns in the second round alone as it appeared a knockout finish was inevitable.

To Pena's credit, the champion did not have an ounce of quit in her, somehow surviving the entire 25 minutes to lose in emphatic fashion on the judges' scorecards 50-45, 50-44 and 50-43.

Earlier in the night in the co-main event, Mexico's Brandon Moreno won the interim flyweight title with a third-round body-shot knockout against New Zealand's Kai Kara-France in the Fight of the Night.

The first two rounds were closely contested, with Kara-France favouring a leg-kick heavy attack while Moreno was landing the cleaner shots to the head.

All three judges disagreed on how to score the first two rounds, with one judge having it Moreno 2-0, another with Kara-France 2-0 and the third had things tied at 1-1.

But the judges were not needed after Moreno connected with a body kick in the third, digging his toes into the stomach of Kara-France, dropping him before finishing the fight with ground-and-pound.

With the win, Moreno has earned another shot at Deiveson Figueiredo. The pair have fought three times for the title to this point, with a draw in the first contest, followed by a Moreno win, before Figueiredo won the third bout.

'Moreno v Figuiredo IV' promises to be one of the most anticipated fights of the year, with two of their previous three contests winning Fight of the Night on their respective cards.

Charles Oliveira will face Islam Makhachev for the lightweight title in the headline event of UFC 280 in Abu Dhabi.

Oliveira has long been viewed as the defending lightweight champion, though the fight will be for the vacant 155-pound belt at the Etihad Arena on October 22.

The Brazilian secured the title last year after knocking out Michael Chandler before defending his title against Dustin Poirier in December.

But Oliveira surrendered his belt after he failed to make the weight for his next defence in May against Justin Gaethje, who he then defeated by submission in a non-title fight at UFC 274.

Retired former champion Khabib Nurmagomedov will be backing team-mate and long-time friend Makhachev in the United Arab Emirates, with the former winning his last 10 UFC fights in a row.

Oliveira has also triumphed in his last 11 consecutive bouts, including 10 finishes, setting up a highly anticipated fight between two of the most talented fighters in the world at present.

Yet Oliveira will pose the toughest task Makhachev has faced in UFC, given Dan Hooker and Arman Tsarukyan are the only two top-15 lightweight fighters the Russian has defeated in his 11 UFC wins.

Conor McGregor is in fine shape and "looking great" ahead of his return to the octagon, according to the Irish fighter's coach John Kavanagh.

The 34-year-old was last in action at UFC 264 in July 2021, when a trilogy fight with bitter rival Dustin Poirier ended in defeat after McGregor suffered a nasty leg injury.

McGregor is back in training now, though, with Charles Oliveira and Michael Chandler among the names linked for his comeback fight.

While the identity of his next opponent remains unclear, Kavanagh was quick to hail the impressive physical condition that McGregor has already achieved in the gym.

"He's healthy, happy and it's great to have him back," Kavanagh said. "He did a great session last night, we got some great rounds in. He hasn't lost a beat and was looking great."

McGregor's last fight with Poirier was at lightweight, but he has also competed at both featherweight and welterweight.

Kavanagh remains confident that his charge will be able to make whatever weight he chooses.

"Look, when we get to the stage of looking at weight classes and opponents there's nobody more professional than Conor at making weight and it will all be done properly," he added.

"When that silverback arm goes around your neck there's a bit of an extra squeeze there, so, he's very, very strong at the moment."

McGregor has previously come under scrutiny for his past actions and controversial comments at news conferences, but Kavanagh insists that his fighter does not always act like that.

"I always tell people, they see this kind of performance part of his persona," he continued.

"It's two or three times a year, at the press conferences and it's all very loud and glitzy and glamour and entertainment.

"It's the 52-weeks-of-the-year guy that part of me wishes some people would be more aware of. He's a very, very special part of the gym, as a whole, and I'll say my life."

Donald Cerrone confirmed his retirement from UFC on Saturday, after a loss to Jim Miller, with a Hollywood dream now set to be pursued.

Cerrone, nicknamed "Cowboy", lost via a second-round submission to 38-year-old Miller in Las Vegas on Saturday.

That took his career record to 36-17, and after the bout, the 39-year-old confirmed his career was over.

Having placed his famous cowboy hat and gloves down in the octagon, Cerrone told Joe Rogan: "I don't love it anymore.

"It's hard for me to get up – this is the longest camp I've had in a long time – I just don't love it anymore.

"It's time to bow out, I've got to know when.

"This is the perfect event, sold-out crowd, Las Vegas, got my boys, one hell of a career man – hopefully one day I'll be in the Hall of Fame."

As for his next move, Cerrone – who has acted before – said: "I'm going to be a movie star baby!"

Cerrone has made 48 appearances in the WEC (World Extreme Cagefighting) and UFC, the most of all time.

Israel Adesanya retained the UFC Middlewieght Championship with a fifth consecutive title defence, winning via unanimous decision over Jared Cannonier at UFC 276 on Saturday.

In an ultimately tentative fight, the judges awarded the Stylebender the win in a 49-46 49-46 50-45 contest, making it four out of his last five title defences to come via decision.

Largely in control since coming back to fight at middleweight, the 32-year-old immediately called out Alex Pereira, who Sean Strickland via knockout earlier in the night.

Pereira also knocked out Adesanya at GOH 7 in 2017, before the latter joined the UFC the next year, with Saturday's bouts setting up an enticing rematch.

"One thing I was looking forward to was facing Jared as an opponent, but the second thing I was looking forward to was John Crouch versus Eugene Bareman," he said post-fight.

"Two great coaches, two great teams, and I'll tell you one thing, they had an excellent game plan. It was really hard to get my follow-ups going because they had a good game plan.

"We know who's next, that Poatan [Pereira]. Trust me. The first time, I told you, it was an error on my part spamming right hands and that was in kickboxing. Like I said at the press conference, next time I put you on skates."

Cannonier was initially content to stand up with Adesanya, only making sporadic take-down attempts and opting instead to chip away with leg-kicks and wait for big strikes.

More than his unique striking, however, the Stylebender was particularly assertive in the opening two rounds, initiating the exchanges as well as changing up stances.

Cannonier taking the third made for tight closing two rounds, but Adesanya ultimately did not take on any significant damage over the fight.

Importantly, whenever Cannonier would look to force the issue, the reigning champion managed to tag the challenger to halt any progress and retain his title.

Volkanovski dominates Holloway for 12th straight UFC win

In the co-main event, Adesanya's team-mate Alexander Volkanovski reaffirmed his status as one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the UFC, retaining the Featherweight Championship in a unanimous decision over Max Holloway.

Each of the judges scored the fight 50-45 to Volkanovski but even that belied just how dominant the 33-year-old was over the five rounds, showing extraordinary precision, explosiveness and tactical nous.

While the second fight between the two was closer, Volkanovski neutralised Holloway's reach and height advantage this time, with timing, quickness and power in his striking - cutting Holloway up badly above his left eye in the first round.

Vokanovski lacked the final blow but was in control, claiming a 3-0 record over Holloway on the way to a 12th straight win in the UFC, a fourth title defence and a 25-1 record in professional MMA.

Drake is no stranger to putting his money where his mouth is when it comes to sporting events.

The rap sensation clearly enjoys a flutter, once announcing a huge bet placed on Odell Beckham Jr's performance at Super Bowl LVI – reportedly placing down $1.26million on that occasion.

Drake, who dropped his new album 'Honestly, Nevermind' last month, has now dabbled big again – this time on Israel Adesanya (21-1-0), who is set to defend his middleweight title against Jared Cannonier at UFC 276 in Las Vegas on Saturday.

Drake told 'The Last Stylebender' on a video call: "You know I put a light million up, I wasn't playing. Return on investment is a lot."

Adesanya has a formidable record and has defended his lightweight belt successfully against Robert Whittaker, Marvin Vettori, Paulo Costa, and Yoel Romero.

Jan Blachowicz is the only man to have put a loss on his record, when Adesanya stepped up a division to fight for the light heavyweight championship in March 2021.

Alexander Volkanovski defends his featherweight title against Max Holloway in the co-main event at T-Mobile Arena.

 

Jiri Prochazka dethroned Glover Teixeira to claim the light-heavyweight title at UFC 275 in a fight the new champion described as "a true war".

The 29-year-old was trailing Teixeira on two of the judges' scorecards, with the other judge having it level, when he won with a rear-naked choke submission in the fifth round.

That brought an end to a gruelling bout in Singapore, with Prochazka coming through nearly five rounds of relentless punishment from his 42-year-old opponent.

"It's amazing and I'm glad. It was a true war. Glover is a true warrior, and I like that," Prochazka, UFC's first Czech champion, said in his post-fight interview.

"I never thought... that's why it's good to not be thinking, you are in the middle of the fight.

"Next time I will be better. I was ready to end the fight whenever today, whether in the first or fifth round, it doesn’t matter, and it doesn't matter which technique."

Teixeira became the oldest first-time champion in UFC history when defeating Jan Blachowicz last October and was 30 seconds away from retaining his title against Prochazka.

Despite turning 43 in four months' time, Teixeira has no intention of calling time on his career following Saturday's loss.

"I gave my all out there, no excuses," he said. "His body shots took my gas away, I was gassed out to be honest. But I'm going to keep going."

Valentina Shevchenko defeated Taila Santos by split decision in the women's flyweight fight, meanwhile, in what was her seventh successful title defence.

"I want to keep going, I want to keep improving," Shevchenko said. "I want to keep fighting no matter who – bantamweight, flyweight, I am here. Bring it on."

Conor McGregor has pledged to return to boxing in the future as he steps up his recovery from a broken leg, but he plans on making a UFC comeback first.

McGregor has not competed since his TKO loss to Dustin Poirier in UFC last July, when the 33-year-old broke the tibia and fibula bones in his left leg.

The Irish fighter, who has a 22-6-0 MMA record, was tipped by UFC president Dana White in March to make his return from injury later this year.

McGregor also made his only appearance in a boxing ring to date back in 2017, losing to Floyd Mayweather Junior by virtue of TKO, but is keen to box again when fit to do so.

While attending qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix, McGregor insisted boxing fans would see more of him when he reaches full fitness.

"Boxing is my first love in combat sports. I had such a great time the last time I was out there," he told Sky Sports on Saturday.

"Obviously, my return will be in the octagon for UFC – that story is from over, in fact it's just being written, it is just the beginning.

"But, boxing, for sure I will grace the squared circle again in the future.

"The body is doing good. We are going to up the training bit by bit. I have another CT scan in the coming days, and then I will be clear to kick. Once I can kick and grapple, I will be back in no time.

"Boxing training is going well, [and] strength training. I am excited to get back."

Meanwhile, McGregor suggested Anthony Joshua will struggle to regain his belts in his upcoming rematch with Oleksandr Usyk, due to the strength of the heavyweight division.

Joshua lost his WBA, WBO, and IBF titles to the Ukrainian last September, and a date and venue for the duo's next bout is expected to be fixed in the near future after Usyk began preparing for the match.

"It didn't go so well the last time. It's a tough ask," he said of Joshua's prospects.

"AJ is a good guy and I wish him well. Usyk is a great guy as well and I hope for a good bout for both men. The heavyweight division is on fire at the minute. Good things are happening."

Jamaican Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) welterweight Randy “Rude Boy” Brown in putting Jamaican Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) on the map, but he wants to take the scenic route to the top.

Born in Springfield, Massachusetts, to Jamaican parents before moving to Jamaica as a toddler with his mother and then returning to the States at 16, the 31-year-old Brown entered the UFC in 2014 and has a record 9-4 with the MMA superpower and 15-4 overall in his career, with his last loss coming in August 2020 against current number-6 ranked Welterweight Vicente Luque from Brazil.

He’s built up some momentum going 3-0 in his last three fights with a possible date with a top-15 opponent on the horizon, something Brown says is not a priority at the moment.

“Honestly, I am knocking on the door of the top 15 but I’m not particularly in a rush to fight anybody in the top 15 right now because I feel like in the top 15, everybody is really trying to guard their ranking so you don’t really fight as consistently as you would like to,” Brown told Sportsmax.TV.

“Personally, I would like to fight a couple more outside of the rankings to build up the streak a little bit more and, you know, let the money grow as well. When the money grows and gets where it needs to get to then we look at the rankings and be able to afford fighting once a year. As of right now, I just want to fight consistently,” he added.

An exciting fighter to watch, Brown cited legends of the sport when asked about who influenced his style of mixed martial arts.

“Anderson Silva 100 per cent. Growing up watching Anderson Silva was a huge inspiration for me and, if we’re speaking current fighters, other people that influence me a lot right now are Israel Adesanya and Jon Jones,” Brown said.

Charles Oliveira denied Justin Gaethje from claiming his vacated UFC lightweight championship, winning via submission in the first round at UFC 274 on Saturday.

Oliveira was stripped of the lightweight belt he held after missing weight, meaning only Gaethje could win the title on Saturday.

After a furious opening exchange, the 32-year-old secured an 11th consecutive victory, reaffirming his status as the most dominant fighter in the division.

Extending the UFC record for the most submission wins (16) and most finishes (19), the Brazilian made his status in the division clear despite the vacated title.

"There's something missing here. The champ has a name and his name is Charles Oliveira," he said post-fight.

"This is a message to the entire division. I'm a problem for the entire division, look at my team.

"Dana White, I don't care who you put in front of me. I will take them all on."

Gaethje came out the blocks quickly and landed some big shots but critically allowed his opponent to stand back up after he was knocked down.

Given that breathing room, Oliveira recovered immediately, planting a right-hand to get Gaethje down on the ground and then showed composure, not seeking ground-and-pound but a submission.

Gaethje gave up his back after wriggling out of an initial attempt at a triangle, and Oliveira took advantage from there with a rear-naked choke.

Esparza wins as Chandler makes vicious KO

In the co-main event, Carla Esparza claimed victory over Rose Namajunas in a controversial 47-48 49-46 48-47 split decision, to claim the UFC women's strawweight championship.

In what was a very tepid bout, Namajunas effectively left her fate and belt in the hands of the judges, allowing Esparza to make sporadic forays and takedowns.

It was very different to the other lightweight bout of the night, where Michael Chandler scored a breathtaking knockout win over Tony Ferguson in the second round.

After an exciting first round, Chandler ended the fight early with an explosive front kick, catching Ferguson on the chin.

Charles Oliveira has been stripped of his belt after failing to make weight for his lightweight title fight with Justin Gaethje at UFC 274. 

The Brazilian will still take on Gaethje in Nevada on Saturday but a victory would only see the lightweight belt remain vacant. Should Gaethje win, however, he would be crowned champion. 

Oliveira initially weighed in half a pound over the 155lb limit and was unable to shift it after being granted an extra hour. 

The UFC did not confirm what fine Oliveira would face for failing to make weight for the main event. 

Oliveira won the lightweight championship after it was vacated by Khabib Nurmagomedov by beating Michael Chandler at UFC 262 in May 2021. 

He then mounted a successful defence against Dustin Poirier at UFC 269 in December.

UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou is "70 per cent" certain he will face boxing superstar Tyson Fury in a crossover fight next year.

Fury defeated Dillian Whyte via a sixth-round knockout at Wembley on Saturday to retain his WBC heavyweight title and reiterated afterwards he intends to retire from boxing.

However, the 33-year-old, who improved his career record to 32-0-1, has not ruled out competing under a different format – including another shot at WWE later this year.

And Ngannou, who joined Fury in the ring after this victory over compatriot Whyte, is hopeful that a hybrid fight can be agreed with the Englishman.

"We both want this fight, that's clear, and we respect each other," Ngannou told the MMA Hour. "Probably next year it will happen.

"I think it's going to happen, it's just a matter of our promotions, but we will sort this out at some point."

Ngannou added: "Make it a hybrid fight, something that makes it a little uncomfortable for him as a boxer.

"Ideas like MMA gloves or fighting barefoot. I don't know, we still have to figure this out.

"I would say there's a 70 per cent chance [my next opponent] is Tyson Fury. On his side I would say 90 per cent against me."

Ngannou underwent surgery to repair MCL and ACL injuries earlier this year and is not expected to return to action until November at the earliest.

The 35-year-old, who retained his heavyweight crown with victory over Ciryl Gane in January, is so determined to face Fury that he will make it part of any deal signed with UFC. 

"The Tyson Fury fight has to be part of the discussion [with the UFC] – there is no other option," he said.

"The UFC is a great promotion and I want to keep fighting. The Tyson Fury fight is not my last fight, there's still a lot of fights out there.

"There's Jon Jones, there's the Stipe Miocic trilogy, there's big fights I can do in the UFC and I'd really like that to happen."

Alexander Volkanovski retained his UFC featherweight championship by defeating Jung Chan-sung via TKO in the fourth round at UFC 273 on Saturday.

The 33-year-old's record in the UFC improved to 11-0 with the impressive title defence, and it is his third consecutive win since winning the featherweight title.

Volkanovski's fight IQ was on full display from the outset and he was in control from the first round, staying patient with his striking and mixing up his targets.

With regards to potential opponents, now, the featherweight champion is confident against anyone.

"Everyone in my division, I've been saying it for a while, now," Volkanovski said. "Get your s*** together, earn that number one spot and you get it."

The Korean Zombie was cleanly tagged on three separate occasions by Volkanovski's left hook and could not manage to impact the champion's ability to both act and react as he felt his way through the fight.

The second round went on a similar tangent, with Jung particularly rattled midway through from a big right. The Zombie's legs got heavier as Volkanovski maintained a relentless pace, staying precise and patient with his striking.

Despite Jung growing more assertive in the third, he only just survived after another massive right hand late from Volkanovski, with the clock saving the Korean from the consequent ground and pound.

After a check to assess Jung's state at the end of the third, some more big strikes in the fourth led to referee Herb Dean stopping the fight within 45 seconds.

"Before this fight, all week, I said I'm on another level right now. I can't be stopped and I just showed you," Volkanovski said post-fight.

"He actually took a lot more than I wanted him to. I thought they could have stopped it earlier, I started feeling bad in there but that's the sport we're in."

Sterling stays the distance against Yan

In the co-main event, Aljamain Sterling claimed victory over Petr Yan in a controversial 48-47 47-48 48-47 split decision, to also retain his UFC Bantamweight Championship.

Both exhibited unorthodox striking but it was an overall different fight to their previous meeting at UFC 259, which Sterling won via DQ following Yan's illegal knee to the face.

The tension was prevalent throughout the rematch, with Sterling even smiling after he took Yan down for a second consecutive round in the third.

Sensing the momentum shift in the fight, Yan went on the offensive and neither could ultimately finish, but by that point Sterling had done enough to win on points.

Conor McGregor could make his comeback to the Octagon later this year, UFC president Dana White has said.

McGregor has not competed since his TKO loss to Dustin Poirier last July, when he broke the tibia and fibula bones in his left leg.

The 33-year-old Irish fighter has an MMA record of 22-6-0, losing three of his past four bouts in UFC including two in a row to Poirier.

White was speaking after the UFC Fight Night event at London's O2 Arena on Saturday, saying: "Conor's not cleared by the doctor yet.

"When he's cleared, some of these fights are going to happen this summer, we'll see what the landscape looks like, and we'll see where his head's at, at that time, and we'll pick a fight for him."

British heavyweight Tom Aspinall secured victory in the main event in London with a dominant showing against Alexander Volkov, while featherweight Arnold Allen knocked out Dan Hooker.

Liverpool pair and long-time friends Molly McCann and Paddy Pimblett both earned wins against Luana Carolina and Rodrigo Vargas respectively.

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