UFC 207 came to the T-Mobile Arena last night and two definitive things transpired: Amanda Nunez solidified her status as the best women’s bantamweight in the world and Ronda Rousey’s veneer of invincibility has been shattered forever.
Nunes plowed through Rousey with an early blitz of jabs and right hands that left the former champ looking lost and helpless from the start and through the next :48 seconds. In the end, Nunes (14-4) became the first woman to successfully defend the UFC women’s 135-pound belt since Rousey (12-2), earning the victory via TKO stoppage with less than a minute in the opening round.
Rousey returned to action after a 13 month layoff and jumped straight into the octagon against the most dangerous striker in the women’s bantamweight division. Her previous outing saw her destroyed in the first round by former boxing champion, Holly Holm, and she displayed the same bad habits and weaknesses in last night’s bout.
In attempting to close the distance so she could grab Nunes and utilize her superior judo and takedown abilities, Rousey ran right into the deceptively long arms of Nunes and ate an opening jab that sent the challenger fading backward, an initial sign of things to come. When Rousey came forward again to initiate a clinch, Nunes sent her reeling with a short, heavy right that landed high on the head, signaling a cataclysmic ending was coming.
From there, Nunes followed Rousey to the fence, teeing off on her head with a barrage of pinpoint accurate punches.
A pair of hooks caught Rousey’s non-moving head, despite the former champ continuing to fight back. After tagging her several more times, a crushing right to the cheek by Nunes sent Rousey staggering back as referee Herb Dean stepped in to call it off at the 48-second mark of Round 1.
Questions are already flying around: why Rousey didn't take a tune-up fight before jumping right into a title shot against a fighter that just demolished Miesha Tate at UFC 200? What was her striking coach, Edmund Tarverdyan, thinking in preparing his star for this stage again? Should Dana White be called into question for allowing this fight to happen when other fighters were deemed more qualified and ready and is this the end for Rousey?
No matter the doubts, questions and opinions, the facts are clear. Rousey’s invincible image is forever destroyed and the relatively unknown Amanda Nunes is now a bonafide star for putting the nail in the coffin first brought out by Holly Holm over a year ago.