Ronda Rousey’s effort to reclaim her UFC bantamweight title ended in spectacular failure as champion Amanda Nunes stopped her after just 48 seconds of the first round of their title fight in Las Vegas on Friday.
Nunes rocked the former champion right at the start of the fight with a flurry of big punches, her superior boxing never allowing the Californian to close the gap and use her judo skills to take the fight to the floor.
Ronda Rousey gets TKO'd 😳👊🏼 pic.twitter.com/AssWDOJPOL
— Billionaires (@BiIlionaires) December 31, 2016
Rousey had no answer to the power of the 28-year-old and referee Herb Dean quickly stepped in to stop the fight as Rousey could no longer defend herself.
“She did a lot for the sport – she was the champion, but now I am the champion,” an elated Nunes said in the octagon following her UFC 207 victory.
Rousey said in a statement she planned to take some time to think about her future.
“I want to say thank you to all of my fans who have been there for me in not only the greatest moments but in the most difficult ones,” Rousey said.
“Words cannot convey how much your love and support means to me.
“Returning to not just fighting, but winning, was my entire focus this past year.
“However, sometimes — even when you prepare and give everything you have and want something so badly — it doesn’t work how you planned.
“I take pride in seeing how far the women’s division has come in the UFC and commend all the other women who have been part of making this possible, including Amanda.
“I need to take some time to reflect and think about the future. Thank you for believing in me and understanding.”
Nunes, however, wasn’t passing compliments Rousey’s way.
“Now she’s going to retire and go do movies,” Nunes said .
“We have, in this division, a lot of talent. Forget about Ronda Rousey.”
She rubbed more salt in the wound minutes after leaving the octagon, with a photoshopped tweet showing her walking along, holding the belt while pushing a baby Rousey in a pram.
— Amanda🦁Nunes (@Amanda_Leoa) December 31, 2016
Rousey left the octagon immediately following the official decision.
The defeat could signal the end of the road for the 29-year-old, who lost her title a little over a year ago when she was knocked out in stunning fashion by Holly Holm’s head kick in Melbourne.
The Brazilian champ was in no doubt about her opponent’s future: “That’s it for her,” Nunes said. “For sure, she’s going to retire.”
But Rousey’s stature as one of the biggest draws in mixed martial arts ensured she collected a $US3 million ($A4.2 million) purse for Friday’s fight, plus an undisclosed share of the pay-per-view revenues.
In contrast, Nunes was paid $US100,000 ($A138,620) to show and another $100,000 as a win bonus for her first title defence, apart from an undisclosed share of pay per view revenues.
Nunes now holds the UFC female bantamweight record for most finishes inside the first round. She was tied with Rousey at five coming into this bout.
This was the fastest knockout finish of Nunes’ career.
The Brazilian fighter won the title in July by submitting Miesha Tate in the first round at UFC 200.
In the co-main event, challenger Cody Garbrandt scored a thrilling unanimous decision victory over Dominick Cruz in another stunning upset to claim the men’s bantamweight belt.
He sent Cruz crashing to the canvas three times in the fourth round before winning on the judges’ scorecards.
– with AAP