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UFC 224 live blog: Amanda Nunes vs. Raquel Pennington

Amanda Nunes and Raquel Pennington
Amanda Nunes and Raquel Pennington will square off in the UFC 224 main event Saturday.
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

This is the UFC 224 live blog for Amanda Nunes vs. Raquel Pennington, a women’s bantamweight championship bout at Saturday night’s UFC event at the Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro.

Nunes, who is looking for her third consecutive title defense, fights Pennington, who has been victorious in her last four outings, in the main event.

Check out the UFC 224 live blog below.

Round 1: Here we go. Five rounds to determine the women’s bantamweight title. Marc Goddard is your referee in Rio. They had a good stare down during instructions, and touched gloves. Nunes to center, and she leans in with a right hand early. Right off a leg kick throws Pennington off balance. Nunes moves to fence, and a straight left lands. Nice leg kick again momentarily sends Pennington off balance. Nunes looks great early, mixing in punches up top with leg kicks. Already some redness on Pennington’s legs. Now Nunes working some body blows, and Pennington fires off a good right hand in the pocket. The action is fast and furious. Pennington is right now dancing to Nunes’ tune, reacting rather than initiating. And now Nunes clinches, and lands a knee in the plum. They break, and Nunes back to center. Pennington got off a couple of nice shots there, landing a right hand that gave Nunes a reminder that she’s in a fight. Still, the champ moves forward with a push kick, and now a couple of strong rights. Nunes walking through some of Pennington’s offense, not overly concerned. Another body blow from Nunes lands, followed up with a head kick. A lot of redness on that lead leg of Pennington’s. Going to be a factor. Now Pennington rushes forward throwing, and she landed the trailing right. Nunes bouncing those shoulders, and firing off shots. At the endof the round we get a big exchange. Pennington still in it, but that round was all Nunes. MMA Fighting scores R1 for Nunes, 10-9

Round 2: Nunes touches gloves again, and she’s smiling. An overhand right is errant by Nunes, but she’s dealing — she lands a nice combo on the fence. Now a kick to Pennington’s body, and marks are forming on her belly. Nunes just mixing up the strikes, showing a wide range of kicks and punches, most of them effective. She is comfortable in there, too. Another leg kick, and each one of those that lands on Pennington’s makes her wobble. Jab by Nunes. Poise. Pennington seems to be waiting for her moment, but in the meantime she is being nickel and dimed with volume. Nunes not giving her a lot of space, either, cutting angles and landing with both hands. Now Pennington does move in, and grabs Nunes’ head in clinch to slam home a couple of uppercuts. Didn’t slow Nunes down. She fires again from the hip. and Pennington reclining on fence trying to avoid incoming shots. Another body shot, and leg kick from Nunes. A big knee from the clinch from Pennington, and now she pushes Nunes to the fence. She has her back, and is in a controlling position there. Pennington trying to lift Nunes, and now she does — she dumps the champ and goes into side control. She holds her there momentarily, and they get up for one last exchange. MMA Fighting scores R2 for Nunes, 10-9 (20-18 overall)

Round 3: Big breath from Pennington as she emerges from her corner. They touch them up again. And Pennington quick to the center. Her lead leg is a mess; hard to look at. Many shades of purple. Nunes would do well to attack that leg. She shoves Pennington to the fence, and misses barely on a right hand. Pennington waits on the links and then throws three shots moving forward on Nunes, who is forces to dodge. Another leg kick, and now Nunes dumps in an aggressive Pennington to the canvas in a violent heap. Half guard, as the Rio fans break into a chant. Nunes leaning her weight through her shoulders into Pennington’s chin, and now Pennington recovers to full guard. She’s keeping Nunes in close, as Goddard warns Nunes to stay busy. Pennington is actually roughhousing from the bottom, landing little elbows. Nunes spins Pennington around like she’s on a swivel, but Goddard has seen enough — he stands them up. Back at it, and they break out into a gunfight right there, throwing heaters. Now Pennington goes low and pushes Nunes to the fence. Can’t do anything with that, and they break. Pennington with a left hand. Nunes returns from center with a right. She lowers and tries for a takedown, but nothing there. Pennington a hard object to move. Both a slowing down a bit. Nice right counter from Nunes there as Pennington rolled forward. At the end of the round Pennington took a long time to stand up. MMA Fighting scores R3 for Nunes, 10-9 (30-27 overall)

Round 4: Nunes has some blood and bruises, but she’s smiling and looks fine heading into championship rounds. Rocky lands a stiff left, and now another as Nunes goes back to the leg kick. Pennington’s leg is the color of skinned rabbit; it’s raw as hell. Nunes still dictating the action, too. Nunes goes low with a punch, and that triggers a four-shot retaliation from Pennington. Beautiful inside trip from Nunes, and that caught Pennington off guard — down she goes to the canvas. And from there Nunes goes to work in her butterfly guard, trying to get something going. So far it’s an impasse there. Nunes catching her breathe. They continue to toil there, and finally Pennington stands up — only to be greeted with three knees to the body in the clinch. Pennington is tough. She has taken a hell of a beating, but she’s still coming. Now she ducks in and has Nunes on the fence, trying to dump here there along the chains. Nunes grabs her head and tries to slam a knee into her head, but that’s (mostly) deflected. Nunes teeing off now with separation, and she lands a couple of big knees that jerk Pennington’s head back. Still — what a tough fighter Rocky is. She lifts Nunes leg and tries to spin her down, but can’t. Lots of blood running out of her nose as she goes to the corner. MMA Fighting scores R4 for Nunes, 10-9 (40-36 overall)

Round 5: Pennington told her corner she was done between rounds, but her corner talked her into continuing. Looks like Pennington’s nose might be broken. They continue. Nunes rolls right back towards her, and Pennington lands a nice push kick. Right hand from Nunes, as blood smears across the broad of Pennington’s face. Nice one-two from Pennington off a missed leg kick from Nunes, but now Nunes changes levels and takes Pennington down. Right back to ground and pound, if she can create some separation. Nunes now 3/6 on takedowns. Pennington continues to survive, but she’s now in an impossible situation — down on the scorecards, frustrated, bleeding. There is a lot of blood. Nunes wails away from the back as Pennington covers up, leaving blood stains on the canvas. And that’s it. Goddard stops it. Awesome stuff from Nunes. Pennington is tough as hell to last as long as she did.

UFC 224 official results: Amanda Nunes def. Raquel Pennington via TKO (punches) at 2:36 of R5

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