UFC 297 results, highlights: Raquel Pennington ends ‘Rocky’ story, defeats Mayra Bueno Silva for UFC title

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Raquel Pennington is finally a world champion. “Rocky” took the long road to glory, a 12-year journey that culminated at UFC 297 in Toronto on Saturday.

Pennington and Mayra Bueno Silva faced off to find an heir to the UFC bantamweight throne after Amanda Nunes retired. Tecia Torres, wife of Nunes and Pennington, stood cageside as Pennington put the finishing touches on a winning effort. It was a great moment to consider Nunes hitting and breaking Pennington in the latter’s first shot of 2018.

“It’s been a long five years,” Pennington said in her post-fight interview. “I’ve climbed mountains to get back here. For everyone who is chasing a dream and you have people saying you can’t do it or you’re not good enough, keep believing because that’s exactly what I did.”

Pennington blasted away at the less experienced Bueno Silva over 25 minutes. It wasn’t pretty or exciting but effective enough to get the UFC women’s bantamweight title. Pennigton stayed calm through her opponent’s early submission threats and rocked her in Round 2. The fight went further in Pennington’s favor as time wore on and Fatigue begins for Bueno Silva. The result was a unanimous decision for Pennington (49-46, 49-46, 49-45) by multiple scorecards 10-8.

Pennington’s (16-8) career resurgence of late is admirable. She is on a six-fight winning streak at the age of 35. Pennington has often been dismissed as an elite talent but she has never shied away from a tough fight. Pennington has stood across the cage from future, past and present UFC champions. Nunes, Holly Holm (twice), Miesha Tate, Germaine de Randamie and Jessica Andrade (twice) are among the main names she has fought.

Looking ahead, Pennington will likely defend her UFC bantamweight title against former champion Julianna Pena. Pena was in attendance at UFC 297. It’s a fight Pennington says has been 10 years in the making.

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