Nunes successfully defends after stoppage

Amanda Nunes successfully defended her women’s bantamweight title after a bloody stoppage in the main event at UFC 224.

In her first fight for 18 months, challenger Raquel Pennington produced a gutsy effort in Rio de Janeiro, yet Nunes had too much power in the third defence of her title and was able to celebrate in front of her home fans.

Nunes pinned Pennington back against the cage with a series of heavy kicks in the opening round, with that pattern continuing, as the American struggled to get the champion down on the mat.

Pennington had had enough by the end of the fourth round, but her corner persuaded her to continue the contest, although the fifth didn’t last long.

Nunes took down Pennington and after strikes to the face, left blood pouring from her nose, before the referee stepped in for the stoppage.

In the co-main event, Kelvin Gastelum put himself in line for a middleweight title shot after edging the decision from a thrilling three-round contest with Ronaldo Souza.

The action was non-stop to-and-fro, but it was Gastelum who finished on top and he took the fight on two of the three judges’ cards.

Gastelum said: “I expected to win, but I wanted to finish the fight and guarantee the title shot. Now I don’t know if I will get it, but hopefully I will.”