Juliana Penna failed in the first defense of the bantamweight title
Ex-UFC women’s bantamweight champion Julianna Pena was rushed off to hospital for emergency plastic surgery after losing not just the title but also a ‘big chunk’ of her forehead against Amanda Nunes at UFC 277 on Saturday.
Pena pulled off one of the biggest upsets in the MMA promotion’s history in December when stopping Nunes, who is widely considered to be the greatest female fighter of all time.
This time round, however, at the American Airlines Center, the ‘Venezuelan Vixen’ was outclassed by Nunes who achieved revenge and recovered the 135lbs strap by knocking down her opponent three times and cruising to a unanimous victory with scores of 50-45, 50-44 and 50-43.
With Pena having blood gush down her face and a huge gash open on her forehead, White later confirmed that she had been immediately rushed to hospital to receive emergency treatment.
“Julianna’s got a big chunk missing from her forehead,” White revealed at a press conference following the main event.
Dana White shares that Julianna Peña will need surgery after #UFC277
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) July 31, 2022
“She’s going to see a plastic surgeon right now,” he added, while also admitting that this could be the end of the road for the 32-year-old.
“It takes some time to heal and then I don’t know,” White shrugged.
“She got pretty banged up tonight, she got five or six knockdowns in the first two rounds. She was hurt.
“She needs to take some time off, relax, spend some time with her daughter and then we will go from there,” White insisted.
Dana White says Julianna Peña was immediately taken to a plastic surgeon after losing a "big chunk" of her forehead at #UFC277. 😳
— MMA Junkie (@MMAJunkie) July 31, 2022
Given that the fight was competitive in spells, with Pena almost pulling off an armbar submission in the fourth round, some fans and pundits have suggested that Pena and Nunes should run it back a third time with their rivalry currently tied at 1-1.
Who has the last say on this is White, however, and his comments in the same Q&A session indicated that a trilogy bout might not be on the horizon any time soon.
“I thought it was completely dominant. There was five knockdowns in the first two rounds,” White incorrectly claimed, with official stats showing just three.
— akhil (@akhil56565) July 31, 2022
“There’s a big difference between submission attempts and knockdowns,” he went on.
“They’re not even comparable. Julianna’s tough as nails and her will to win is second-to-none. She wanted to win.
“I think as dominant as Amanda was – and she was dominant tonight – I didn’t think it was close in any way, shape, or form. It was a complete shutout,” White said.
White seems to be more entertained by the prospect of a third fight between Nunes and flyweight queen Valentina Shevchenko which he said wasn’t a “bad idea”, and Nunes also felt that Pena’s win over her was just a fluke that everyone should move on from.
“Tonight it was proven that was a lucky day for her,” Nunes remarked. “If she needed to become a champion like that, she had her time, and now it’s over.”
“The lioness …,” she also remarked, in reference to her ring name. “If they don’t get the prey the first time, I set the trap and I know I’d get it the second time.”
As a two-division ruler once more, Nunes could also defend her featherweight crown next which she hasn’t done since March last year when stopping Megan Anderson in the first round of a mismatch that sent the Australian into retirement.