Only 48 seconds after the opening bell, the comeback was over.
Ronda Rousey, the UFC’s once-great hope and the sport’s all-dominating athlete, saw her chance to redeem her November 2015 loss to Holly Holm.
But almost straight away that dream was shattered by a prepared, efficient and confident Amanda Nunes, the women’s bantamweight champion, whose defense of her belt was largely ignored in the run-up to the fight.
“Before I walked out, (my team) talked, and this moment was my moment,” said the Brazilian, who claimed her first successful defense of her July title.
“(Rousey) had her time, she did a lot for the sport. I thank Ronda Rousey. But right now, I showed I’m the champion and I’m here to stay.”
The matchup was largely billed as the American challenger’s opportunity to regain some of the dominance she demonstrated for much of her career — right up to that shock defeat to Holm. She’s been away from the sport and down since that loss — even admitting to thoughts of suicide — and in preparation for Friday’s Las Vegas clash, she kept largely out of the limelight.