Newly minted undisputed UFC bantamweight champion, Julianna Pena has refuted claims that former division titleholder, Amanda Nunes simply quit during their UFC 269 co-headliner last weekend, claiming she would have “broke” the Brazilian’s neck regardless.
Pena, who scored a monumental upset win to dethrone the dominant Nunes on Saturday in Las Vegas, managed to rally from a difficult and smothering opening round, to comfortably outstrike Nunes on the feet – landing consistent jabs and overhands.
Wobbling the featherweight champion toward the finishing sequence, Pena rushed in at the fence, secured a trip, and as Nunes attempted to belly out, Pena took the back, without hooks, and latched onto a rear-naked choke which drew an almost immediate tap from the defending champion.
Rivalling historic upset wins including Ronda Rousey’s high kick knockout loss to Holly Holm, as well as Matt Serra’s plucky finish over former two-weight champion, Georges St-Pierre – Pena maintains Nunes had no other option but to submit quite quickly, claiming she would have severely injured the Brazilian’s neck otherwise.
“She (Amanda Nunes) had no choice but to tap,” Julianna Pena told Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour. “People want to say she quit – she didn’t quit, she was getting choked. She had no choice but to tap – I would have broke her neck. She tapped because she had no choice.”
Despite turning the tide massively in the second round to lead to her upset victory, Pena insists she had almost secured a straight armlock in the first round during a late grappling exchange. And she chalks that attempt as the catalyst for Nunes’ second round downfall.
“It was in the first round,” Julianna Pena said. “It looked like the naked eye – I mean, these are million-dollar camera, and they’re great, but you would think that they would get the shot of, like, I’m about to snap this girls’ arm, I’m about to have the first-ever victory by straight armlock. That’s what was playing in my mind. People are probably like, ‘Oh, she’s (Amanda Nunes) going to choke her,’ but I’m like, ‘Dude, her arm is going to snap in half. I have her arm.’ I wish people could see that; I don’t know if they saw it or not, I haven’t seen the full fight yet.”
“I had her in trouble in round one, and I knew that’s the moment,” Julianna Pena continued. “I was like, man, if this is how our grappling exchanges are going to be, I can do this all night long, and especially the amount she was breathing. She was just like, (panting), and I’m just, cool.” (H/T MMA Fighting)
In the time since her stunning submission upset loss, Nunes has claimed that she is “undoubtedly” going to accept an immediate title rematch with Pena should the promotion offer her a bout agreement.
“You guys think I’m going to go out unbalanced,” Amanda Nunes posted on her Instagram. “I undoubtedly accept the rematch. Give me a little time to get my sh*t together and I will be back better than ever (lion emoji) @danawhite.”
Senior writer for FightBook MMA. An aspiring mixed martial arts reporter based in Ireland. Producer of news articles, interviews, opinion features, and exclusive features such as, ‘The Fallout’, ‘The Breakdown, and, ‘This Week In MMA’.
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