Julianna Pena pulled off one of the biggest upsets in MMA history to score a second-round submission win over Amanda Nunes and win the UFC bantamweight title at UFC 269 on Saturday.
Pena looked to be in trouble in the first round against one of the most dominant champions the sport has ever seen, but the 32-year-old came storming back in round two, rocking Nunes with combinations.
Nunes’ five-year reign at the top came to an end when she tapped out at the 3:23 mark of the second round as Pena sank in a rear naked choke to hand the Brazilian her first defeat since September 2014.
“It feels crazy,” Pea said in a post-fight interview in the cage. “I definitely expected to win, but the world is my oyster.
“I told you, don’t ever doubt me again. Willpower, strength and determination will take you places. You literally have the ability to do anything you want in this life, and I just proved that tonight.”
Pena, who is of Venezuelan heritage, added: “I’m a mixture of all sorts of warrior blood and I know that my Venezuelan family is really proud and happy for me.
“Venezuela is going through a tumultuous time in their government and if I can give any sort of hope, motivation, inspiration to any of those to stay strong, that’s what I would like to do, and if I can be that representative for them then that’s an honour and I wear that very pridefully and humbly.”
In the main event, Charles Oliveira retained the lightweight title, submitting Dustin Poirier with a standing choke early in the third round of a thrilling battle.
Interim champion Poirier, who scored a couple of wins over Conor McGregor earlier this year to earn the title shot, landed some heavy left hands and downed Oliveira as he won the first round.
However, Oliveira got Poirier on his back in the middle of the cage early in the second, landing thunderous elbows before jumping on Poirier’s back and securing the choke early in the third round.