Amanda Nunes walked into UFC 224 as the women's bantamweight champion and she had no plans of giving up that belt as she put on a dominant performance to defeat Raquel Pennington in Saturday's main event from Brazil.
While Nunes is known for putting on a blistering pace to start her fights, she was more methodical during the opening round with Pennington as she concentrated on battering her opponent's lead leg throughout the five-minute session.
As the fight wore on, Nunes started to pour on the punishment, with Pennington stuck standing in front of her thanks to a lack of mobility courtesy of that early damage done to the leg.
By the fourth round, Nunes was battering Pennington with her striking attacks, including a barrage of knees that may have left the former Ultimate Fighter competitor with a broken nose. Finally, in the fifth round, Nunes went on an offensive onslaught that forced Pennington to cover up to avoid any more damage and the referee stepped in to stop the contest.
Going into the night, Nunes was an overwhelming favorite, as the reigning women's bantamweight champion was selected by a whopping 88 percent of fantasy players, with another 73 percent correctly predicting that she would win the fight by knockout. Nunes certainly delivered with her performance on Saturday night.
In the co-main event, Kelvin Gastelum earned a razor close split decision victory over local favorite Ronald "Jacare" Souza to pick up his second win in a row in the middleweight division.
Gastelum survived a scary first round spent on the mats with Jacare before storming back to pick up the victory. The result in the fight mimicked the picks by fantasy players as well, with Gastelum coming in as a slight underdog with 47 percent selecting him to beat Jacare in one of the most closely contested bouts on the entire card.
Meanwhile, Mackenzie Dern picked up her second UFC win with a jaw-dropping performance over Amanda Cooper as she scored a huge knockdown in the opening round before finishing the fight with a rear naked choke in the first round. Dern remains undefeated in her career while picking up a second win as a heavy favorite with 77 percent of fantasy players picking her at UFC 224. Another 60 percent had Dern winning by submission, which is exactly what the Brazilian jiu-jitsu prodigy did on Saturday night.
Another heavy favorite came through as John Lineker put away Brian Kelleher by third round knockout with 87 percent of fantasy players on his side and another 61 percent correctly predicting that he would finish the fight by strikes.
Lyoto Machida kicked off the main card with 73 percent of fantasy players picking him, as the former light heavyweight champion picked up a spectacular front kick knockout to finish Vitor Belfort in the final fight of The Phenom's legendary career.
On the preliminary card, Cezar Ferreira was dominant as he handed Karl Roberson a loss by submission with 54 percent of fantasy players picking the Brazilian going into the night. Because the fight was considered such a tight matchup on paper, players picking Ferreira also earned an extra 120-point bonus.
Speaking of submissions, Aleksei Oleinik pulled off another eye-popping finish with an Ezekiel choke from the bottom to tap out Junior Albini with 72 percent of fantasy players picking the Russian heavyweight to get the job done.
Davi Ramos kept up with the trend of favorites walking away victorious as he put away Nick Hein with 67 percent of fantasy players picking him on the card.
The lone upset on the preliminary card came from Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos, who pulled off an amazing wheel kick knockout to finish Sean Strickland after he went into the fight as the underdog with just 35 percent of fantasy players picking him to win.
On the early prelims, former Ultimate Fighter Brazil winner Warlley Alves picked up an impressive victory over Sultan Aliev with 67 percent of fantasy players selecting him on the night while Jack Hermansson pulled off a miraculous comeback win over Thales Leites with 55 percent on his side going into the night.
The only upset on the early prelims came from Ramazan Emeev, as he defeated Alberto Mina with just 39 percent of fantasy players picking him on the card.
At the end of the night, 10 favorites were victorious according to selections made by fantasy players ahead of UFC 224 with only three total upsets on a night filled with finishes from the start of the card until the closing moments of the main event.