Oh Canada, we are coming back! The UFC is touching down in Vancouver for UFC 289: Nunes vs Peña 3. This trilogy bout will tie the knot on one of the best rivalry the women's bantamweight division has ever seen.
So, if you aren’t up to date, don’t worry, were going to recap the last two battles so you can get caught up before June 10.
UFC 269: Nunes vs Peña | Las Vegas, Nevada
UFC 269 will go down as one of the most memorable cards in history. Charles Oliveira submitted Dustin Poirier to retain the lightweight title, and the co-main event was none other than Amanda Nunes and Julianna Peña.
Nunes is one of the most decorated fighters in the sport. The Brazilian was looking for her sixth successful bantamweight title defense while simultaneously carrying the featherweight belt. Peña was clearly the underdog coming into the bout, but her resume was nothing to scoff at. She holds victories over Cat Zingano, Sara McMann, and Nicco Montaño, and “The Venezuelan Vixen” was looking to turn the fighting world upside down.
Either way the cards fell, the T-Mobile Arena was in for a historic night.
Nunes started the action with a calf kick to Peña’s left leg that sent her to the canvas early on. Though it was subtle, the energy in the room coincided with the idea that this was the way it was supposed to go. Nunes had a substantial power advantage and Peña basically needed to fight a perfect fight in order to take home the gold. A jab sent Peña to the canvas, but the Brazilian was patient, not underestimating her opponent. The Ultimate Fighter alum moved the fight to the floor and she quickly recovered from a vulnerable position, but Nunes got to her neck. Peña was moving to stay alive, though, so the champion couldn’t secure the choke.
We were finally seeing Pena’s game plan to make Nunes grapple, make her transition, then maybe she will fatigue doing something she’s not familiar with. A brutal exchange on the ground put Nunes in a kimura that left her arm in danger. For the first time in a while, concern fell to Nunes’ face.
Julianna Peña | Heart. Aggressiveness. Determination.
Unlock MORE of your inner combat sports fan with UFC Fight Pass! Fighting is what we live for. And no one brings you MORE live fights, new shows, and events across multiple combat sports from around the world. With a never-ending supply of fighting in every discipline, there’s always something new to watch. Leave it to the world’s authority in MMA to bring you the Ultimate 24/7 platform for MORE combat sports, UFC Fight Pass!
Julianna Peña | Heart. Aggressiveness. Determination.
The eventful round ended. Nunes was up.
“We're making her work, we want this fight to go exactly this way” were the words from Julianna’s corner.
Round two began and Pena came out swinging, literally. Getting in Nunes’ face, she landed a jab, and another, but Nunes countered every swing. A big right hand from Nunes and Julianna’s left eye started swelling. But that didn’t stop her. Left hook Pena, a jab from Nunes. These two went at it for two solid minutes. Nunes had visible damage. The exhausted Brazilian retreated to the cage. Peña saw her opening. She dropped her and ended up on top. Going for the rear naked choke, Nunes tapped.
In the words of Joe Rogan, “That was the biggest upset in the history of the sport.”
The underdog was the only one who knew she could do it and she mouthed to the broadcast booth, “I told you.” Peña was a machine and didn’t stop when it got tough. The Vixen had slayed the Lioness.
UFC 277: Nunes vs Peña 2 | Dallas, Texas
The rematch we had all been waiting for was here.
The opening round was patient, each fighter knowing the capabilities of the other and not exposing themselves too early. Nunes switched stances throughout and dropped Peña twice, but she remained calm and composed. The Spokane native responded with some shots that landed and the round ended on their feet.
RELATED: The Last 5 Times UFC Was In Canada
The Brazilian dropped Peña with her lethal right hand, but she didn’t follow her to the mat. Motioning her to get up, Nunes showed no mercy and sent The Venezuelan Vixen back to the deck. Peña showed resilience, threw some combinations, but was put down for the third time in the second round.
A wild spinning elbow from The Lioness opened the third round. The Ultimate Fighter 18 winner continued to push the pace by taking the fight to the ground, but Nunes wouldn’t let history repeat itself. She threw a flurry of elbows, inflicting damage while in Peña’s guard. The former champ took Peña down straight away and started throwing big shots from up top. Peña showed why she was champ by threatening an armbar, but was unsuccessful as Nunes escaped and inflicted more damage on a bloodied Peña.
Nunes continued her dominant performance in the final round. In a last-ditch effort, the Chicago fighter was searching for submissions. Back on the mat with a minute left, a rear naked choke almost gave the Brazilian her 18th finish but the toughness from the current champ could not be denied.
Nunes regained her champ-champ status. Her powerful striking and ground dominance was all the judges needed to see for the unanimous decision victory.
UFC 289: Nunes vs Aldana took place live from the Rogers Arena in Vancouver, Canada on June 10, 2023. See the Final Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses - and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass!