On Saturday, July 9, the UFC hosted UFC 200: Tate vs. Nunes from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
The event was slated to be headlined by a light heavyweight title unification bout between champion Daniel Cormier and the only man to defeat him, interim titleholder Jon Jones. However, just three days before the event, Jones was pulled from the card due to a failed out-of-competition drug test administered by the USADA.
As such, a women’s bantamweight title fight between champion Miesha Tate and Brazil’s Amanda Nunes took the top billing. Tate, who claimed the belt with a fifth-round submission of Holly Holm at UFC 196, looked to defend her belt for the first time. Nunes entered the title affair having won three straight.
In the co-main event, former heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar squareed off with knockout artist Mark Hunt. The current WWE superstar Lesnar returned to the Octagon for the first time since a knockout loss to Alistair Overeem at UFC 141. Hunt, meanwhile, rode the momentum of back-to-back knockouts of Frank Mir and Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva.
Also on the main card, former middleweight champion Anderson Silva stepped in on days’ notice to face the aforementioned Cormier in a non-title bout and former featherweight champion Jose Aldo rematched Frankie Edgar with the interim title on the line.
The 12-fight event kicked off Saturday at 6:30 p.m. ET with three fights streaming on UFC Fight Pass. Four additional preliminary card bouts followed at 8 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1, with the five-fight main card airing live on pay-per-view at 10 p.m. ET.
There’s a new champion in the women’s bantamweight division as Brazilian Amanda Nunes dismantled Miesha Tate and earned a first-round submission win. Nunes attacked with her jab to keep her range early in the fight. Tate looked for a takedown, but Nunes brushed her aside. Nunes cracked Tate with a right hand that wobbled her. Nunes flurried, bloodying the face of the American. Another barrage of heavy punches saw Tate fall to the canvas. Nunes took her back and slapped on a rear-naked choke, forcing Tate to tap.
After nearly five years away from the sport, former heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar edged Mark Hunt by decision. Lesnar stayed on the outside early, before taking Hunt to the ground. Hunt tried to escape back to his feet, but ate a series of left hands as the opening round closed. The second stanza was spent on the feet as Hunt stalked Lesnar around the cage. Lesnar went back on the offensive in the third, again putting Hunt on his back. He passed to the mount and dropped right hand after right hand. When the final bell sounded, all three judges gave the fight to Lesnar.
Light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier used his superior wrestling to dominate former middleweight titleholder Anderson Silva. Cormier quickly planted Silva on the canvas and scored with ground and pound. Silva could not get up from under Cormier’s top pressure. Silva looked for a jumping head kick to open the second round, but Cormier again put him on his back. The final frame was more of the same, but referee John McCarthy stood them up, giving Silva a brief chance. He landed a heavy shot late in round three, but it was too little, too late, as Cormier took the decision victory.
Longtime featherweight kingpin Jose Aldo once again has UFC gold around his waist, albeit the interim variety, after a dominating decision win over Frankie Edgar. Edgar looked to kick early as Aldo was patient in finding his range. Aldo got comfortable late in the first round, delivering heavy right hands and a big knee. In round two, Aldo increased his volume and easily stuffed multiple takedown attempts from Edgar. Edgar continued to march forward, but Aldo countered perfectly, bloodying the nose and both eyes of the American. The fourth and fifth rounds were vintage Aldo as he avoided Edgar’s strikes and delivered counter punches. When the scorecards were read, all three were in favor of the Brazilian Aldo.
Former heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez kicked off the main card with a dominant finish of Travis Browne. Velasquez pressured forward from the opening bell, backing Browne against the fence. Velasquez battered Browne with punches and a wheel kick. Late in the round, Velasquez dropped Browne with a right hand. Velasquez smelled blood and flurried for the stoppage win.
The women’s bantamweight division has a new contender as TUF winner Julianna Pena bested former title challenger Cat Zingano by decision. Zingano was relentless with her takedowns in the first round, planting Pena on the canvas with ease. It was more of the same to open the second round, but Pena was able to reverse and take Zingano’s back. She went for the rear-naked choke, but Zingano defended. In the final round, it was Pena that scored with a takedown and she again worked to Zingano’s back. She was unable to finish, but her efforts were enough to earn the decision nod.
TUF winner Kelvin Gastelum outworked former champion Johny Hendricks en route to a unanimous decision victory. Gastelum fired jab-cross combos with repetition in the first round, forcing Hendricks to retreat. Hendricks came back in round two, coming forward and earning a brief takedown. The momentum swung back to Gastelum in the final round, as he again peppered Hendricks with straight punches. The judges all saw the fight in favor of Gastelum.
Former bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw exacted revenge on Brazilian Raphael Assuncao, earning a clear-cut decision win. Dillashaw’s high-volume striking was the difference throughout, as Assuncao struggled to get inside. The pair traded kicks early, but it was the counter right hand of Dillashaw that did the most damage. He busted open the nose of Assuncao midway through the fight, prompting the doctor to examine the Brazilian. A late takedown from Dillashaw sealed the final frame and the fight for the American.
Prospect Sage Northcutt rebounded from an embarrassing loss in his last outing, earning a unanimous decision over Enrique Marin. Northcutt scored early and often with strikes in the opening stanza. Marin turned the tides in round two, earning a takedown and threatening with an armbar. Northcutt escaped, but Marin went for a kimura as the round closed. Marin’s takedown were a factor in round three, but Northcutt scored with elbows, opening up a large cut. The fight went the distance and the judges rewarded Northcutt for his efforts.
Veteran Joe Lauzon steamrolled Diego Sanchez in just 86 seconds, earning a dominant TKO win. Lauzon cracked Sanchez with a left hand early, dropping him. Sanchez tried to recover and Lauzon briefly looked for a guillotine choke. He allowed Sanchez back to his feet and unleashed a barrage of punches that forced referee Mark Smith to intervene.
Gegard Mousasi put on a show against Thiago Santos, knocking out the Brazilian late in the opening frame. Once Mousasi found his range, he unloaded on Santos and scored a takedown. He was able to control Santos on the mat, but allowed him to stand. As Santos found his feet, Mousasi unleashed a right hand that dropped him and flurried for the knockout win.
Kicking off the action, lightweight Jim Miller dominated former Pride FC champion Takanori Gomi, earning a first-round TKO. Miller quickly took Gomi to the mat and took his back. He worked for a rear-naked choke before ultimately flattening out the Japanese fighter and raining punches to secure the stoppage.