This was a massacre.
Amanda Nunes obliterated Ronda Rousey to retain the Ultimate Fighting Championship women’s bantamweight title in the UFC 207 headliner on Friday at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Rousey (12-2, 6-2 UFC) succumbed to punches 48 seconds into Round 1.
Nunes (14-4, 7-1 UFC) picked apart the former champion with clean lefts and rights. Rousey was out on her feet before she knew what happened, and her attempts to clinch and recover proved unsuccessful. Nunes created some distance and let her hands go until referee Herb Dean moved in to wave it off. It was a merciful stoppage.
Unbeaten Garbrandt Dethrones Cruz
Team Alpha Male’s Cody Garbrandt cracked the Dominick Cruz code, as he captured the bantamweight championship with a five-round unanimous decision in the co-main event. Garbrandt (11-0, 6-0 UFC) swept the scorecards with 48-46, 48-47 and 48-46 nods from the judges.
Cruz (22-2, 5-1 UFC) could not cope with the challenger’s speed, power and precision. Garbrandt attacked the legs early on and then went headhunting. He opened a horrendous gash on Cruz’s left eyebrow in the third round and floored him twice in the fourth, first with a clean right hook and later with a left. Needing a finish, Cruz spent the final five minutes trying to chase down the Uhrichsville, Ohio, native. His pursuit appeared to win him the round but failed to net the desired result.
The loss was Cruz’s first since March 24, 2007 and closed the book on his 13-fight winning streak.
Split Decision Sends Kim Past Saffiedine
Dong Hyun Kim leaned on merciless pressure, occasional punching bursts and a stifling clinch game, as he eked out a split decision over former Strikeforce champion Tarec Saffiedine in a featured attraction at 170 pounds. Judges Derek Cleary and Jeff Mullen scored it 29-28 for Kim, while Glenn Trowbridge saw it 30-27 for Saffiedine.
Saffiedine (16-6, 2-3 UFC) won a majority of the standup exchanges but too often wandered into a close-quarters grind with the South Korean judoka. Kim (22-3-1, 13-3 UFC) moved forward throughout the 15-minute encounter, pushing the Belgian to the fence while chewing up clock and slowing the pace to a desired crawl. Saffiedine grew less and less effective as the fight wore on.
Kim, 35, has rattled off three straight victories.
Surging Borg Sinks Smolka
Jackson-Wink MMA rep Ray Borg posted the most significant win of his career, as he took a unanimous decision from Louis Smolka in a three-round flyweight showcase. All three cageside judges scored it for Borg (10-2, 4-2 UFC): 30-27, 30-26 and 30-26.
Smolka (11-3, 5-3 UFC) was never much of a factor. Borg repeatedly scrambled into top position, achieved full mount on two occasions, cut up the Hawaiian with ground-and-pound and threatened with arm-triangle chokes. Smolka struggled to keep up and more often than not found himself pinned underneath the 23-year-old grappler.
Borg has won four of his last five fights.