Nunes defends bantamweight championship, retires from UFC

The GOAT women's MMA fighter removed her gloves after a masterful final performance.

The Great White North took center stage as Rogers Arena hosted UFC 289 on Saturday night. It marked the first UFC event in Canada since 2019.

The pay-per-view was headlined by two division champion Amanda Nunes (23-5). “The Lioness” defended the Women’s Bantamweight championship, outclassing Mexico’s Irene Aldana (14-7) over five rounds. The Brazilian striker landed powerful jabs, leg kicks, and wrestled her opponent down at will. Nunes officially won by unanimous decision (50-44, 50-44, 50-43).

Nunes added to her already illustrious fighting resume with an 11th title defense. After the contest she was visibly emotional, laying both her belts and gloves down onto the canvas.

Speaking with broadcaster and Hall of Fame fighter Daniel Cormier, Nunes announced her decision to call it a career. The sold-out crowd of 17,628 would give her a standing ovation.

Amanda Nunes: By The Numbers

  • Most career wins in Women’s UFC history (16)
  • Most title defenses in Women’s UFC history (11)

In the co-main event, Charles “Do Bronxs” Oliveira (34-9) made quick work of Beneil Dariush (22-5-1), snapping his 8-fight-win streak. The former champ and no. 1 lightweight from Brazil landed a head kick in round one, followed by a barrage of punches before the referee stepped in. Oliveira’s 20th finish inside the octagon is a UFC record. He will most certainly rematch for the title next against Islam Makhachev.

While the lineup was spread thin of marquee names, Canadian fighters made the most of their opportunities. When Mike Malott (10-1) defeated Adam Fugitt (9-4) by guillotine choke in round two on the main card, a raucous crowd celebrated the clean sweep. All five Canadians earned victories in front of their home nation. You could feel a shared passion amongst athlete and spectator.

Looking ahead, next month will focus on International Fight Week. UFC 290: Volkanovski vs. Rodríguez takes place July 8, at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.