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UFC 224 ‘Nunes vs. Pennington’ Recap: Crazy sh*t happens in Brazil

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Don’t these promoters know we only have two eyes?

Saturday was beyond busy for combat sports fans, with two major boxing cards and two huge offerings from the biggest MMA companies. The end result was a night that had everything we love about combat sports-violence, blood, controversy, crazy knockouts, brutal submissions, new stars emerging, and that feeling that can only happen when two great competitors push each other to a new level, and we as fans, are lucky and blessed enough to be along for the ride…

After Lomachenko-Linares opened the night and as UFC presented their latest pay per view, Bellator MMA and HBO Boxing vied for their slice of the combat sports fan pie. The end saw both platforms focus some hot action and lift some potential new stars.

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Crazy sh*t happens in Brazil, yo.

While UFC 224 didn’t look like the most thrilling card on paper, it over delivered on crazy happenings in and out of the cage. Whether it was Jack Hermansson on Fight Pass, pulling one of the best comebacks in recent UFC history, enduring a broken rib and a sunk arm triangle in the second round to stop Thales Leites in the third, and screaming in his pain in the corner afterwards, or Raquel Pennington’s corner sending her out to be killed in fifth round by Amanda Nunes when she said she was done — 224 was insane.

If you loved crazy kick knockouts, there was Elizeu Zaleski Dos Santos stopping Shane Strickland with a spinning back kick to kick off the FX portion of the show and Lyoto Machida sending Vitor Belfort in retirement, ending the much ballyhooed battle of Brazilian legends with a front kick to the face.

If crazy submissions are more your thing, you had Davi Ramos basically crushing the face of Nick Hein with a rear naked choke or Oleksiy Oliynyk somehow getting his arms around the massive head of Junior Albini and choking him out with his patented Ezekiel Choke from the bottom.

For those who love the controversy, there was BJJ ace Mackenzie Dern, who came in a ridiculous seven pounds overweight, dropping and finishing a pissed off Amanda Cooper with a rear naked choke in less than three minutes.

The co-main event turned out to be the best fight of evening, with Kelvin Gastelum becoming the unofficial number one contender to the middleweight title, beating Ronaldo Jacare Souza by close split decision. Gastelum survived a hellish first round on the ground to BADLY drop Souza in the second round and nearly finish him. With the fight on the table in the third, Gastelum’s speed and volume made the difference as they often do, giving the former Ultimate Fighter winner the best win of his career. Bring on the winner of Whitaker/Romero 2.

While Amanda Nunes’ destruction of Raquel Pennington wasn’t the whirling dervish that ripped through Miesha Tate and Ronda Rousey, it was effective enough. Nunes tore up Pennington’s leg, broke her down, and it was apparent that Pennington was done by the end of the fourth. The actions of Pennington’s corner have already come under harsh scrutiny in the MMA community and with good reason. To send a fighter who is fried out against a killer like Amanda, that’s damn near criminal.

To add to it, it takes away from Nunes’ victory. She may remain the most underrated champion in all the UFC, which is a damn shame.

Here are your full results from this past weekend’s PPV in Brazil:

Main Card (PPV)

Women’s Bantamweight Championship Main Event
Amanda Nunes (c) (16-4) defeats Raquel Pennington (9-6) via TKO (punches) – Round 5, 2:36

Middleweight Bout
Kelvin Gastelum (16-3) defeats Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza (25-6) via Split Decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

Women’s Catchweight Bout (123 lbs)
Mackenzie Dern (7-0) defeats Amanda Cooper (3-4) via submission (RNC) – Round 1, 2:27

Bantamweight Bout
John Lineker (31-8) defeats Brian Kelleher (19-9) via KO (punch) – Round 3, 3:43

Middleweight Bout
Lyoto Machida (24-8) defeats Vitor Belfort (26-14) via KO (front kick) – Round 2, 1:00

Preliminary Card (FX)

Middleweight Bout
Cezar Ferreira (13-6) defeats Karl Roberson (6-1) via technical submission (arm-trinagle choke) – Round 1, 4:45

Heavyweight Bout
Oleksiy Oliynyk (56-11) defeats Junior Albini (14-4) via submission (Ezekiel Choke) – Round 1, 1:45

Lightweight Bout
Davi Ramos (8-2) defeats Nick Hein (14-3) via submission (RNC) – Round 1, 4:15

Welterweight Bout
Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos (19-5) defeats Sean Strickland (19-3) via KO (wheel kick + punches) – Round 1, 3:40

UFC Fight Pass Prelims (Fight Pass)

Welterweight Bout
Warlley Alves (12-2) defeats Sultan Aliev (14-3) via TKO (doctor stoppage) – Round 2, 5:00

Middleweight Bout
Jack Hermansson (17-4) defeats Thales Leites (27-9) via TKO (punches) – Round 3, 2:10

Welterweight Bout
Ramazan Emeev (17-3) defeats Alberto Mina (13-1) via UD (30-27 x 3)

Middleweight Bout
Markus Perez (10-1) defeats James Bochnovic (8-3) via submission (RNC) – Round 1, 4:28

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