UFC 269 Report: Julianna Peña submits Amanda Nunes

Eric Marcotte reviews UFC 269 as Julianna Peña submits Amanda Nunes to win the UFC Women’s Bantamweight Championship.

Photo Courtesy: UFC

UFC 269 Report: Julianna Peña submits Amanda Nunes to win the UFC Women’s Bantamweight Championship. Charles Oliveira retains title against Dustin Poirier.

By: Eric Marcotte

UFC 269 took place on Saturday night, from T-Mobile Arena in Paradise, Nevada. The card featured two title fights, with the headlining bout featuring Charles Oliveira attempting to defend his UFC Lightweight Championship against the division’s top contender, Dustin Poirier. Oliveira won the championship earlier this year, knocking out Michael Chandler in the second round to claim the then vacant title. Poirier last challenged for the title in 2019, where he was submitted by the former champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov. Since then, Poirier has won three consecutive fights, and with only one loss throughout his last ten bouts, Poirier was the most sensible option for Oliveira’s first attempted title defence. Not only are Poirier and Oliveira the two top ranked fighters at 155lbs, but they are undeniably two of the most entertaining fighters in the sport as well, making for a very engaging main event. The other title fight on this card featured Amanda Nunes facing Julianna Peña, as Nunes attempted to defend her UFC Bantamweight Championship for the sixth time. Nunes has fought her last two bouts at featherweight, where she successfully defended her featherweight title against Felica Spencer and Megan Anderson respectively. With Nunes splitting her time between divisions, it had actually been nearly two years since her bantamweight title was defended, and Pena was ultimately the opponent chosen here to challenge Nunes in her return to 135lbs. With a 2-2 record throughout her last four bouts, Pena was naturally a massive underdog going into this fight, but she presented a fresh matchup for Nunes, and was completely confident in her ability to upset Nunes and take home her bantamweight title.

The commentary team for this card consisted of Jon Anik, Daniel Cormier, and Joe Rogan. Performance bonuses were awarded to Bruno Silva, Tai Tuivasa, Kai Kara-France, Sean O’Malley, Charles Oliveira, and Julianna Peña. Fight of the Night bonuses went out to Dominick Cruz and Pedro Munhoz. The announced attendance for this event was 18,471.


*Gillian Robertson def. Priscila Cachoeira by rear naked choke at 4:59 of Round 1

*Tony Kelley def. Randy Costa by TKO at 4:15 of Round 2

*Ryan Hall def. Darrick Minner by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-27)

*Erin Blanchfield def. Miranda Maverick by unanimous decision (30-27 all)

*Andre Muniz def. Eryk Anders by armbar at 3:13 of Round 1

*Bruno Silva def. Jordan Wright by TKO at 1:28 of Round 1

*Tai Tuivasa def. Augusto Sakai by KO at 0:26 of Round 2

*Dominick Cruz def. Pedro Munhoz by unanimous decision (29-28 all)

*Josh Emmett def. Dan Ige by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)

*Sean O’Malley def. Raulian Paiva by TKO at 4:42 of Round 1

*Kai Kara-France def. Cody Garbrandt by TKO at 3:21 of Round 1

*Geoff Neal def. Santiago Ponzinibbio by split decision (29-28, 30-27, 28-29)

*Julianna Peña def. Amanda Nunes by rear naked choke at 3:26 of Round 2 to win the UFC Women’s Bantamweight Championship 

*Charles Oliveira def. Dustin Poirier by rear naked choke at 1:02 of Round 3 to retain the UFC Lightweight Championship.


Cachoeira missed weight by 3lbs and was fined 30% of her purse.

Cachoeira defended a takedown attempt from Robertson in the opening minute. Cachoeira was winging right hands, and while she wasn’t terribly accurate, when she did land, she was landing with power. Robertson was eventually successful in getting the fight to the ground, where she quickly passed into side control. Robertson transitioned to top mount, where she threw down ground and pound strikes for a period of time, before taking Cachoeira’s back with seconds remaining in the round. Robertson locked in a rear naked choke, and Cachoeira tapped right before the round ended.

WINNER: Gillian Robertson by rear naked choke at 4:59 of Round 1

Joe Rogan just went off on Cachoeira after the finish, as it appeared as though Cachoeira attempted to gouge the eyes of Robertson to escape the choke at the end of the fight. Possible cheating, drastically missing weight, and being finished in the first round definitely combined for a rough night at the office for Priscila Cachoeira. Regardless, this was a much-needed win for Robertson, who had lost her previous two bouts going into this one. Robertson is one of the better grapplers in the division, and clearly had a significant edge on the ground over her opponent here. She now has a record of 7-4 in the UFC.


Kelley immediately pressured forward, putting a heavy pace on Costa offensively. They spent a significant amount of time battling in the clinch against the cage as well, where neither fighter was successful in taking the other down. This style of fight was beneficial to Kelley, who kept Costa well below his usual level of activity throughout this first round.

Kelley began round two with a series of kicks to the body of Costa. They quickly returned to the cage, where both men appeared to be fatiguing, especially Costa. Costa broke apart and landed a head kick, but was quickly wrapped back up, where Kelley proceeded to throw numerous knees to the body. The bodywork added up quickly, and Costa shot for a takedown that was easily stuffed by Kelley, who threw down ground and pound until the fight was stopped.

WINNER: Tony Kelley by TKO at 4:15 of Round 2

Costa is typically a very output fighter, but he seemed to be overwhelmed by Kelley’s pace and forward pressure here, quickly tiring from lengthy exchanges in the clinch against the cage. Kelley fought with an excellent gameplan, and his bodywork in particular led directly to the finishing sequence in the second round. I thought this was the best that Kelley has looked thus far in the UFC, and he now has a promotional record of 2-1.


About a minute into the fight, Hall rolled under Minner and attempted a knee bar. He wasn’t successful with the submission, but Hall now had Minner on the ground, where he began to work from his comfort zone. Minner did an excellent job of protecting himself from any submission attempts from Hall, and returned to his feet where he immediately landed an uppercut that hurt Hall. Hall went to the ground in an attempt to get away from Minner’s attack, where Minner made the choice to engage him on the ground instead of allowing him back to his feet. Hall quickly worked his way into top position, where he spent the remainder of the round. 10-9 Minner.

Once again, Ryan Hall was successful in convincing Minner to grapple with him by rolling to the ground after eating a strike on the feet. Hall attempted a triangle armbar, but Minner was successful in escaping the submission, and he continued to work from top position. Hall threw up another triangle, and this time he caught Minner with numerous elbows, ending the round strongly. 19-19 on my scorecard.

Round three started just like the previous round, with Hall immediately rolling to the ground, attempting a triangle choke on Minner before switching to a leglock. Minner escaped, but Hall was able to take top position, where he began to work from full mount. Hall started hunting for an arm triangle, and while he didn’t get it, he spent the remainder of the round on top, ending the round with ground and pound. 29-28 Hall.

WINNER: Ryan Hall by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-27)

Minner is an incredibly talented grappler in his own right, but Ryan Hall is at another level, and choosing to grapple with him for fifteen minutes was a mistake. Minner had a clear advantage on the feet, however he repeatedly got caught up in Hall’s Imanari rolls, and every time the fight went to the ground, the momentum swung in the favour of Hall. This fight was an excellent display of high-level grappling, and really the exact type of fight you want to see whenever Ryan Hall steps into the octagon. Hall improved to 5-1 in the UFC with this win.


Blanchfield had no interest in touching gloves to begin the fight. Blanchfield got the fight to the ground early, where she began to work from the back of Maverick. She proceeded to move into Maverick’s guard, but was not terribly active from that position. With ninety seconds remaining in the round, Maverick returned to her feet, but was quickly taken back down. Strong round from Blanchfield. 10-9 Blanchfield.

It took Blanchfield less then thirty seconds to take Maverick back to the ground. Maverick would work her way back to her feet against the cage, but just like the first round, found herself dragged back to the ground in seconds. This time, Blanchfield transitioned into the crucifix position, where she threw down numerous strikes before she abandoned it, to instead focus on a submission. She didn’t find it, but this was another great round from Blanchfield. 20-18 Blanchfield.

Maverick kept Blanchfield at range with her strikes early in round three, but ultimately decided to pursue a takedown. Once she closed the distance it was Blanchfield who was successful in bringing the fight back the ground, where she quickly took the back of Maverick. She eventually moved back into top position, where she dominated the remainder of the round. 30-27 Blanchfield.

WINNER: Erin Blanchfield by unanimous decision (30-27 all)

This was a spectacular performance from Erin Blanchfield, who absolutely dominated this fight. Maverick has been impressive throughout her three prior UFC bouts, but Blanchfield was really able to take her down at will here, and controlled the near entirety of this bout from top position on the ground. This marked Blanchfield’s second fight in the UFC, and both fights have looked exactly the same. Blanchfield is someone to keep an eye on at flyweight, and it will be interesting to see exactly what level of competition they match her up again next.

ANDRE MUNIZ (21-4, 185.5) VS ERYK ANDERS (14-5, 1 NC, 185.5) – MIDDLEWEIGHT

Muniz took Anders down with a strong double leg, taking top position with four minutes to work. He worked his way to the back of Anders, where he transitioned to an armbar. The arm was fully extended, and Anders was forced to submit.

WINNER: Andre Muniz by armbar at 3:13 of Round 1

As pointed out by Joe Rogan about twenty times on commentary, the finishing sequence here was very similar to Muniz’s last fight, where he submitted Jacare Souza in the first round. Muniz is now 4-0 in the UFC, and he has won three of those bouts by armbar. He is clearly a very dangerous fighter on the ground, and if submitting Jacare wasn’t enough, I think three straight first round submission wins will be enough to generate some hype behind Muniz. Muniz called out Darren Till in his post-fight interview.


It didn’t take long for these two fighters to start throwing bombs at each other. During one of these wild exchanges, Silva caught Wright clean with a pair of hooks, and Wright stumbled backwards, looking as though he was out on his feet. Silva gave him no time to recover, and swarmed him with strikes on the ground until the fight was stopped.

WINNER: Bruno Silva by TKO at 1:28 of Round 1

The fight was over in about ninety seconds, but it was fun for the short time it lasted. Wright wasted no time in bringing the fight to Silva, which led to some early success, but it was that same recklessness that led to Silva tagging him, and the fights conclusion. Bruno Silva is now 3-0 in the UFC, and he has won each of those three bouts by way of knockout. In his post-fight interview, Silva made it clear that he would like to face a ranked opponent in his next bout.

AUGUSTO SAKAI (15-3-1, 263.5) VS TAI TUIVASA (12-3, 264) – HEAVYWEIGHT

Tuivasa landed a strong hook early, as Sakai threw a hard leg kick. They began to wrestle in the clinch against the cage, where both men racked up a decent amount of control time. Tuivasa connected with a solid uppercut at one point, before reengaging Sakai in the clinch. In the final seconds of the rounds, Tuivasa landed a series of elbows, ending the round strongly.

Tuivasa immediately swarmed forward to begin the second round, and just unloaded with strikes on Sakai against the cage, until Sakai finally collapsed, unconscious.

WINNER: Tai Tuivasa by KO at 0:26 of Round 2

The first round wasn’t terribly entertaining, but I thought Tuivasa showed off some layers to his game that we really haven’t seen much of previously. Round two however, was exactly what you would expect from the heavy-handed heavyweight, who blitzed forward with bomb after bomb, giving Sakai absolutely no room to recover. Tuivasa celebrated with a shoey, which may have gotten a bigger reaction from the crowd than the actual knockout did. Tuivasa has now won four consecutive bouts by knockout, and will find himself re-inserted in the heavyweight rankings when they are updated this week.


Munhoz wasted little time in attacking the lead leg of Cruz. Cruz dodged a head kick, before cracking Munhoz with a left hand. Munhoz defended a takedown attempt, but got caught by a straight right from Cruz moments later. As Cruz threw a looping left hand, he got caught by a strong counter jab from Munhoz that dropped him hard. Cruz tried to pick himself up and got dropped again in the process, and things weren’t looking good for the former champion, but Cruz was able to roll with Munhoz on the ground, buying himself time to recover before the fight returned to the feet. Munhoz landed a hard leg kick, before Cruz flurried forward with a combination. Cruz tagged Munhoz with a strong left hand to end the round. Excellent round. 10-9 Munhoz.

Cruz began round two with a strong combination of strikes, but got caught by some counters from Munhoz in the process. Cruz checked a leg kick before catching Munhoz with a right hand. Cruz defended a takedown, before throwing a looping left hand that cut Munhoz open. Munhoz was having trouble finding Cruz in this round, and there were moments where Cruz was just teeing off on him throughout this round. 19-19.

Munhoz took the center of the octagon in round two, looking to make up some ground after dropping the previous five minutes. Cruz continued to be the more active fighter however, and Munhoz was missing on a high percentage of his counters. Munhoz defended a takedown attempt from Cruz, but was caught by a solid one-two moments later. Cruz continued to tag Munhoz with heavy combinations for the remainder of the round, ending the fight strongly. 29-28 Cruz.

WINNER: Dominick Cruz by unanimous decision (29-28 all)

Munhoz had Cruz in a lot of trouble after dropping him twice in round one, but Cruz rebounded strongly, and looked fantastic throughout the last two rounds. Dominick Cruz is hardly known for his finishing ability, but I think a fighter with a lesser chin then Pedro Munhoz would have gone down from some of the shots Cruz was landing in the second half of this fight. Dominick Cruz will finish 2021 with a record of 2-0, and has effectively re-established himself as a player in the 135lbs division. With this win, Dominick Cruz has taken sole possession of the record for most wins in UFC/WEC bantamweight history.

JOSH EMMETT (16-2, 145.5) VS DAN IGE (15-4, 146) – FEATHERWEIGHT

Emmett dropped Ige with the first punch he landed, a heavy right hand. Emmett followed him to the ground, but Ige recovered quickly, and the action returned to the feet with three minutes remaining in the round. Ige worked his jab for the next few minutes, mixing in the occasional straight right hand as well. They traded right hands to end the opening round. 10-9 Emmett.

Emmet began round two with a clean right hand, which Ige responded to by pressing forward with a quick combination. Ige landed a left hook that wobbled Emmett, but he didn’t swarm Emmett, instead choosing to take his time, as he continued picking away at him with his jab. Ige threw a looping right hand around the guard of Emmett, catching him cleanly. Emmett didn’t offer much offensively throughout this second round, but whenever he did land, he continued to connect with immense power. 19-19.

Emmett seemed to be fighting with a bit more aggression to begin round three, but Ige quickly slowed him down with his jab. Ige made the mistake of trading with Emmett in the pocket during one exchange, and got caught by some bombs in the process. This was the closest round of the entire fight, where you really have to weight Emmett’s damage against Ige’s activity. 29-28 Emmett on my scorecard.

WINNER: Josh Emmett by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)

The third round was about as close as it gets, but all three judges saw it the same way. The 30-27 scorecard was a bit out there, because round two was a clear one for Ige, but regardless, I ultimately saw the fight for Emmett as well. His power was really the difference maker in this one, as it was the one area of the fight in which Ige really couldn’t match him. Those exchanges in the pocket always favoured him, even though I would say that Ige by and large connected with the better shots. Emmett is now on a four-fight win streak, and I imagine he will be fighting up in the rankings for his next bout.


O’Malley defended an early takedown attempt from Paiva. An accidental low blow from O’Malley paused the fight momentarily. Both fighters landed right hands, and Paiva tagged O’Malley with a hard calf kick as well. O’Malley connected with a straight right hand that snapped Paiva’s head back. Paiva continued to throw leg kicks, as O’Malley worked his jab. In the final minute of the round, O’Malley stepped in and dropped Paiva with a right hand, and proceeded to tee off on him with strikes until referee Jason Herzog stepped in to stop the fight.

WINNER: Sean O’Malley by TKO at 4:42 of Round 1

Paiva was doing some decent work with his leg kicks, but O’Malley had the clear edge in hand speed, and when he finally caught Paiva with a clean right hand, you knew the fight was nearing its conclusion. O’Malley has obvious power in his hands, and is really establishing himself as one of the more dangerous fighters of the division at this point. He is now 7-1 in the UFC, with five of those wins coming by way of knockout. I think it’s time for him to step back into the octagon with ranked competition, but neither Sean or the UFC seem to feel any need in rushing that. A name that O’Malley has recently mentioned is Adrian Yanez, and I think that would be an excellent fight to make if the UFC wants to wait a bit longer before matching him up with a top fifteen ranked fighter.


This marked Cody Garbrandt’s flyweight debut.

Garbrandt opened up with a number of leg kicks. Neither fighter was really pushing the pace of the fight early, but it was Kara-France who took the center of the octagon, and he proceeded to drop Garbrandt hard with a right hand. Garbrandt got back to his feet, but he was stumbling around the cage, and Kara-France dropped him about three more times in the next minute, until the fight was finally stopped by referee Herb Dean.

WINNER: Kai Kara-France by TKO at 3:21 of Round 1

For what was a rather a short fight, it feels like there is a lot of ground to cover surrounding this one. Firstly, I thought Garbrandt actually looked good at flyweight. His hand-speed was still impressive, and physically, he looked much better than say, T.J. Dillashaw did a few years ago when he dropped down to flyweight. That being said, Garbrandt has been dropped a lot throughout his last five (now six) bouts, and dropping an extra ten pounds likely didn’t help his chin here. Every time Kara-France landed clean here, he dropped Garbrandt, and he really took a lot of damage in this finishing sequence. For Kara-France, this was the biggest win of his career to this point, and he is starting to move towards title contention. Daniel Cormier suggested a fight against Manel Kape, and I think that would be a tremendous fight to make. It is tougher to say what will be next for Cody Garbrandt. His record since beating Dominick Cruz for the UFC Bantamweight championship in 2016 is 1-5, and he has been knocked out in four of those five losses. Regardless of whether he choses to return to bantamweight or remain at flyweight, I think it’s time for Garbrandt to draw an opponent outside of the top ten.


Ponzinibbio was given a warning for his outstretched fingers in the early goings of the first round. Neal partially landed a head kick, following a number of leg kicks from Ponzinibbio. They traded right hands, with Neal seemingly getting the better of the exchange. Neal was doing a good job defensively, keeping Ponzinibbio from landing many clean shots. A low blow from Neal brought a momentary pause to the fight. Ponzinibbio threw a heavy combination as time in the round expired. 10-9 Neal.

Ponzinibbio was looking slightly more comfortable on the feet in round two, throwing out his right hand repeatedly. Ponzinibbio took Neal down at one point in the round, but could not keep him there for a significant portion of time. Ponzinibbio seemed to be out landing Neal throughout this round, but not by a wide enough margin in which you could say he was pulling away with the round. There was a very strange exchange, where Ponzinibbio thought Neal poked him the eye, and basically proceeded to stop and have a debate with Neal and referee Mark Smith, even thought the action was never paused. 19-19 on my scorecard.

Neal stung Ponzinibbio with a right hook early in round three. Ponzinibbio continued to look for quick combinations on the feet, which prompted Neal to pick up the pace a little. With two minutes remaining in the round, they began to trade hooks, and I thought it was tough to tell who was landing with more power. Neal really found his range in the final minute of the round, tagging Ponzinibbio repeatedly with his jab, as well as these strong left hands. The fight went the distance, and I scored it 29-28 for Geoff Neal.

WINNER: Geoff Neal by split decision (29-28, 30-27, 28-29)

I didn’t think that either fighter looked to be at their best here, but with both men throwing heavy (and accurate) shots, it’s not surprising that there may have been a bit of hesitancy on both sides at times. Ponzinibbio was successful at forcing Neal to fight at Ponzinibbio’s pace and range throughout this fight, but Neal seemed to have a bit more power behind his shots, and whenever he pressed forward, Neal was finding a lot of success. As Neal noted after the decision was announced, this marked his first win against a ranked opponent, and despite a pair of setback losses leading into this fight, Neal remains a strong prospect at welterweight, as he inches towards the top ten of the division.


The fighters touched gloves to begin the fight. The first calf kick Nunes landed sent Pena to the floor. Nunes allowed Pena back to her feet, where Pena landed with a right hand. A jab from Nunes proceeded to send Pena back to the floor, where this time Nunes chose to engage her. Pena immediately worked her way back up, but was just tossed back to the ground by Nunes, who quickly took the back of Pena. Pena escaped the position, however Nunes retained top position, where she spent the remainder of the round.

Pena was a bit more aggressive on the feet to begin round two, tagging Nunes with a number of jabs as well as some strong right hands. Nunes seemed to be slightly stunned, but began firing back hard, which backed Pena off momentarily. This fight was becoming a wild brawl, with both fighters landing heavy shots. Nunes was in as much trouble here as she’s been since winning the UFC Bantamweight title. Pena continued to land, and soon, it became clear that she was getting the better of these exchanges. Pena backed Nunes into the cage, and Nunes was looking absolutely exhausted. Pena proceeded to take Nunes down, and she immediately transitioned to the back of Nunes, where she locked in a rear naked choke, forcing Nunes to submit.

WINNER: Julianna Peña by rear naked choke at 3:26 of Round 2 to win the UFC Women’s Bantamweight Championship 

Wow. This was undoubtably one of the biggest upsets in the history of the sport. The first round looked about as you would expect going into this one, with Nunes largely dominating the action. In round two however, Pena really turned on the pressure, and turned this fight into a wild brawl. One may have expected Nunes to have the edge in that style of fight, but Pena was landing repeatedly, and you could see Nunes quickly tiring. Once Pena saw her opportunity to finish the fight, that’s exactly what she did, quickly taking Nunes down and forcing the tap. Pena snapped a twelve-fight win streak for Nunes here, a remarkable run that featured nine consecutive title fight wins. In all likelihood, there will be an immediate rematch following this title change, but regardless of what’s next, this was an all-time memorable moment in mixed martial arts history, and Julianna Pena is the new, undisputed, UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion. As I stated previously; wow.


Oliveira went over to Poirier’s corner to shake hands with him and his entire corner prior to the fighter introductions. They hugged to begin the bout. Oliveira quickly took the center of the octagon, but was knocked back by a big shot from Poirier. They traded uppercuts in the clinch, before Poirier cracked him with a left hand. Oliveira began to attack the body with knees, before he started to search for a takedown against the cage. Poirier defended well, but ate another hard knee to the body in the process. Poirier started unloading with strikes on Oliveira against the cage, but Oliveira wasted no time in firing back. Poirier landed a huge right hook that send Oliveira down, but showed little interest in following the champion to the ground. Poirier was hunting for the finish back on the feet, but Oliveira hung in there despite eating some bombs, and he tagged Dustin with a hard right hand to end the first round.

Oliveira aggressively pursued a takedown to start round two, and ultimately worked his way into the guard of Poirier. Rogan stressed that Oliveira illegally grabbed Poirier’s glove to gain the position, but referee Herb Dean did not interfere. Oliveira began to land hard elbows from top position, and Poirier really seemed to have no answers for Oliveira in this position. Oliveira maintained top position for the remainder of this round.

Oliveira slid behind Poirier and jumped on his back just seconds into round three. Oliveira locked in the rear naked choke, and Poirier was forced to submit.

WINNER: Charles Oliveira by rear naked choke at 1:02 of Round 3 to retain the UFC Lightweight Championship.

Poirier had Oliveira in a great deal of trouble in round one, but despite being caught by some huge shots, Oliveira never went away, and eventually overwhelmed Poirier once the fight went to the ground. Oliveira is obviously one of the most dangerous grapplers in all of MMA, and Poirier just didn’t have any answers for him once the fight turned into more of a grappling match. Oliveira has now won ten consecutive fights, a streak in which he has finished nine of those opponents. Along with successfully defending his title for the first time here, Oliveira extended his UFC’s record for most submission victories to fifteen, as well as his promotional record for stoppages to eighteen. In all likelihood, Oliveira’s next challenger will either be Justin Gaethje or the winner of Islam Makhachev/Beneil Dariush. Each fight would be stylistically very interesting, and it wouldn’t shock me at all if Dustin Poirier fights one of these men in his next bout as well.


About Eric Marcotte 170 Articles
A graduate of Laurentian University, Eric reports on Mixed Martial Arts at POST Wrestling.