In the main event of UFC 224, women's bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes dominated Raquel Pennington with a 5th-round TKO win for her third straight title defense. Pennington showed a ton of heart surviving as long as she did, but Nunes poured it on in the final frame to get the win.
At the start of the fight, Nunes surprised Pennington with a hard leg kick that dropped her to the ground and she continued to pepper that leg throughout the first round. Pennington's movement was visibly compromised and Nunes began landing punches and dropped her a second time with a leg kick. Pennington recovered a bit in the second round and was able to score a takedown for her lone bright spot in the fight. Nunes didn't get tired and won most of the striking exchanges and landed a takedown of her own in the third round. Pennington landed some shots here and there but couldn't connect with anything significant.
In the fourth round, Nunes turned up the pressure and landed some hard punches. She then connected with a hard knee that broke Pennington's nose and the blood started flowing. In between rounds there was a bit of controversy as Pennington told her cornermen that she wanted to be done, but her coaches talked her into continuing the fight. The miracle they were hoping for didn't happen. Nunes landed a takedown and hit Pennington with some devastating ground-and-pound, further damaging her broken nose and the referee was forced to step in and stop the fight.
In the co-main event, Kelvin Gastelum earned a split decision win over Jacare Souza to likely become the next contender for the middleweight championship. It was a back-and-forth fight with both fighters having big moments. Souza got the fight to the ground in the first round and dominated the grappling exchange, getting to mount multiple times. He attempted an armbar at the end of the round but Gastelum managed to survive. Gastelum poured on the strikes in the second round and got a knockdown on a stiff left hand. Souza recovered and managed to hit Gastelum with a bunch of power shots, but Gastelum seemed unfazed. In the third round, both fighters were tired but both of them managed to land shots. Gastelum did just enough to earn the win in the judges' eyes and after the fight he asked to face the winner of UFC 225's main event between middleweight champion Robert Whittaker and Yoel Romero.
Full results from the event can be found below:
- Amanda Nunes def. Raquel Pennington via TKO (punches) – Round 5, 2:36 – to defend women's bantamweight title
- Kelvin Gastelum def. Ronaldo Souza via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
- Mackenzie Dern def. Amanda Cooper via submission (rear-naked choke) at 2:27 of Round 1
- John Lineker def. Brian Kelleher via knockout (punch) at 3:43 of Round 3
- Lyoto Machida def. Vitor Belfort via knockout (kick) at 1:00 of Round 2
- Cezar Ferreira def. Karl Roberson via technical submission (arm-triangle choke) at 4:45 of Round 1
- Aleksei Oleinik def. Junior Albini via submission (Ezekiel choke) at 1:45 of Round 1
- Davi Ramos def. Nick Hein via submission (rear-naked choke) at 4:15 of Round 1
- Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos def. Sean Strickland via TKO (kick, punches) at 3:12 of Round 1
- Warlley Alves def. Sultan Aliev via TKO (doctor stoppage) at 5:00 of Round 2
- Jack Hermansson def. Thales Leites via TKO (punches) at 2:10 of Round 3
- Ramazan Emeev def. Alberto Mina via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Markus Perez def. James Bochnovic via submission (rear-naked choke) at 4:28 of Round 1