Between the fourth and fifth round of her women's bantamweight title fight against Amanda Nunes, challenger Raquel Pennington told her corner she was done.
Amanda Nunes heads home to Brazil as a world champion. The win snapped a three-fight streak of knockout losses and showed the former light heavyweight champion may have something left in the tank.
BC-MMA-UFC 224,226 Brazil's Nunes a favorite to keep title at UFC 224 in RioAP Photo NVLAS301Eds: With AP Photos.
The only fighter to give Nunes a run for her money post-2014 is Valentina Shevchenko.
Pennington (9-5) is on a four fight win streak, but has only one finish in those four fights.
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Pennington knows only one way to fight, and that's forward. While Pennington defeated a seemingly unmotivated Miesha Tate, that is not what she's getting here. Pennington hasn't lost since a decision loss to former bantamweight champion Holly Holm at UFC 184 in February 2015. Dern seemed to have trouble while standing in the fight as she prefers to take her opponent to the ground - half of her six wins are by submission. The other concern is her ability to make weight consistently, which could be magnified if there is any slippage in her training.
Will Nunes be able to walk out of her home country with the belt or does Pennington pull off the upset?
In the co-main event, the victor of this fight could earn themselves a title shot against the victor of champion Robert Whittaker and #1 Yoel Romero who fight next month at UFC 225. Both men are competent strikers with the power to knock out anyone while it will be interesting to see Souza's phenomenal Brazilian jiu-jitsu collides with Gastelum's wrestling. The UFC tweeted Gastelum celebrating after the knockout. And even though Brazil is not Pennington's first choice as far as the location of this championship fight, it was flawless for one reason. Those two will fight with the title on the line next month so Jacare still hasn't hit the "losing to people that aren't championship caliber" phase of his career yet. Belfort has explosive power and is coming off a decision win over Nate Marquardt previous year.
After Saturday night's fight, could Pennington be the next MMA athlete headed to the WWE Performance Center in Orlando?
In the middle of one of her first amateur fights, back in 2009 in Casper, Wyoming, Pennington sensed something had just been thrown into the cage.