Most expected Amanda Nunes to roll through Germaine de Randamie in the first of three world title bouts on the UFC 245 marquee, and for the most part, she did. Still, “Lioness” just didn’t seem like her usual self over the course of five rounds.
Nunes (19-4) was dominant for five rounds as she easily retained her UFC women’s bantamweight title. The Brazilian did virtually whatever she wanted inside the cage and whenever de Randamie mounted an offense — like solid clinch work in the second frame — Nunes weathered the storm and eventually regained complete control of the contest.
However, Nunes and the MMA world has grown accustomed to her knocking her opponent’s equilibrium into deep outer space, like she’s done four out of her last five fights coming into Saturday’s showdown inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Against de Randamie, Nunes didn’t have that typical killer instinct on the feet and opted to instead out-grapple and maul the Dutch muay Thai champion over and over.
“My game plan was to go five rounds and work the takedown,” she said after her conquest. “I almost got two submissions, but made some mistakes and I have to fix that. Just a little bit of the technique was off, but I will fix it and next time I will get it.”
However, even after winning the judges’ decision 49-44, 49-46 and 49-45, Nunes didn’t seem overly ecstatic with the win and how she got it.
“Honestly, I was a little bit off tonight,” she admitted. “But I’m the champ. I always have plan A, B, C and more. If something goes wrong with the first plan, I just go to the next one. I couldn’t get my timing well with the striking, so I decided to go to the takedown.”
Her decision to take the fight to the ground was obviously a wise one because de Randamie (9-4) was like a fish out of water on the canvas. She hung tough for five rounds, though, and had to make Nunes escape out of a handful of somewhat surprising submission attempts off her back. De Randamie was close on a guillotine attempt early in the fight and nearly locked up an inverted triangle-to-armbar, but the Brazilian powerhouse felt them coming and avoided doom.
“We train everything in the gym, especially the bad positions, so I was okay when she surprised me with the submissions,” she said. “It wasn’t too bad. Germaine’s timing was very good tonight, but she’s so heavy with everything she throws, so it was easy for me to time the takedown. This is exactly what we trained for, so I’m happy.”