Las Vegas - Ronda Rousey was stopped 48 seconds into her comeback
fight, losing to bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes at UFC 207.
(12-2) returned from a 13-month absence and never managed to get her footing
against Nunes (14-4), who rocked Rousey with her very first punches.
staggered and stumbled backward while Nunes relentlessly pursued her and landed
multiple shots. Referee Herb Dean stopped the bout with Rousey still on her
feet, and Rousey briefly protested the stoppage before leaving the cage in her
Garbrandt also won the men's bantamweight title in the penultimate bout,
battering champion Dominick Cruz to earn a surprising decision victory at
T-Mobile Arena in the UFC's traditional end-of-the-year show in its hometown.
couldn't compete in her first fight since losing her belt to Holly Holm 13
months ago in her first career defeat. Rousey became arguably the world's most
famous female athlete and a combat sports trailblazer while she rocketed atop
the UFC, but a year away from the sport apparently did little to heal the holes
in her game.
claimed her belt with a violent stoppage of Miesha Tate at UFC 200 in July,
completing an unlikely ascent for a Brazilian veteran whose skills have
improved in recent years. Nunes lost three fights earlier in her career to
opponents beaten easily by Rousey, but Nunes' work ethic and toughness propelled
her into the biggest fight in the women's game against Rousey.
hadn't fought since November 2015, when Holm stopped her with a head kick in
one of the biggest upsets in MMA history. Rousey had never lost or been in much
trouble while the former Olympic judo medallist rocketed to the top of her
sport with a series of one-sided victories, but Holm's veteran striking made
Rousey look amateurish before the dramatic finish.
nearly vanished from public view after her loss, taking time away from the gym
and attending to her acting career. After the bantamweight belt changed hands
two more times in her absence, Rousey agreed to return for a shot at reclaiming
her title. The UFC also was sold during her absence to WME-IMG, the
entertainment conglomerate that also represents Rousey's career.
Rousey refused to promote this pay-per-view show, leaving Cruz and Nunes to do
most of the work. While Rousey's media blackout will hurt her cut of the
pay-per-view revenue, it didn't affect her guaranteed payday of $3 million,
matching Conor McGregor for the biggest disclosed check in UFC history.
Garbrandt (11-0) remained unbeaten with a virtuoso performance to claim the
belt held for the past 11 months by Cruz (22-2), who ended up with a gaping cut
over his left eye. Garbrandt used precise striking, multiple takedowns and
remarkable charisma to win over the judges, who all favoured him by scores of
48-46, 48-46 and 48-47.
hadn't lost an MMA fight since March 24, 2007, winning 13 straight bouts in a career
marked by multiple comebacks from major injuries.
25-year-old Garbrandt is a native of Uhrichsville, Ohio, who trains in the
Sacramento-area gym of veteran fighter Urijah Faber.
Garbrandt taunted each other repeatedly during the promotion of their bout, and
their genuine dislike translated into a frenzied five-round fight. Garbrandt
lived up to his boundless promise with a resourceful effort against Cruz, who
was favoured to defend his belt.
Garbrandt landed more shots and did more damage from the opening round. Both
fighters landed significant strikes in the first two rounds, but Garbrandt
turned the fight in his favour early in the third round during the exchange
that opened the cut on Cruz's face.
put on a performance in the fourth round, repeatedly knocking down Cruz when he
wasn't dancing away from the champion. The unfriendly rivals congratulated each
other after the bout, but Cruz didn't appear surprised when Garbrandt's hand
receiving his belt, Garbrandt wrapped it around the waist of Maddux Maple, a
10-year-old leukaemia survivor from northern Ohio who has been his motivational
first title defense could be against T.J. Dillashaw, who dominated John Lineker
in a unanimous-decision victory moments earlier at UFC 207, winning 30-26 on
all three cards. Dillashaw (15-3) showed off precise striking and a superior
ground game to trounce the Brazilian brawler.
try me!" Garbrandt shouted at Dillashaw afterward.