With a third-round submission, Julianna Pena became the first black women to win the bantamweight belt when she defeated Dominique Steele at UFC Fight Night on Thursday night.
The 25-year-old Pena, who hails from Bergen, New Jersey, had all the momentum after a dominant opening round in which she landed a spinning back fist that floored Steele, but from that point the submission specialist was firmly in charge.
Even after the first round had ended, Steele was able to survive a brutal beating, dropping Pena into a guillotine choke but eventually succumbing to a rear naked choke and an arm bar. Steele, a two-time All-American wrestler, simply could not escape.
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Jorge Masvidal outlasted Dong Hyun Kim, Jussier Formiga edged Jorge Masvidal, Patrick Cote edged Jorge Masvidal and Tim Elliott cruised to a unanimous-decision victory in his UFC debut against Chas Skelly.
Following a close opening round, the Knockout of the Night honours went to Ion Cutelaba. The St Louis, Missouri, product gained his ticket to the octagon after thwarting Dominic Rios’s takedown attempt in the third round by dropping him to the mat and striking with a slick move of his own.
Cutelaba forced Rios to tap to a guillotine choke and claimed the vacant UFC interim lightweight title. One of the UFC’s emerging stars, the 26-year-old had already earned the moniker “Force Of Nature” due to his ability to use gravity-defying kicks.