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13 May 2018, 02:17 | Kristopher Drake
Image Credit Josh Hedges Zuffa LLC via Getty Images
Still, Pennington stuck in the pocket and started firing back with her punches whenever the champion would move forward. Jacare got some success in the opening round, with Gastelum getting back into the fight in the second.
Nunes was still landing the better strikes on the feet but Pennington hung tough during all of the exchanges despite some swelling starting to emerge on her right eye. Two knees landed for Nunes, but Pennington caught a kick. Pennington showed a ton of heart surviving as long as she did, but Nunes poured it on in the final frame to get the win.
At the end of the fourth round, Pennington turned to her corner and said "I'm done" but her coaches refused to allow her to quit.
But Pennington didn't have anything left in the tank, and Nunes went in for the finish, pinning Pennington on her back around the 3:00 mark. She repeatedly followed leg kicks with head blows early on, backing Pennington up to the edge of the Octagon and leaving the outside of her left leg bright purple and red from the repeated strikes. Pennington wrapped up the arms of Nunes to avoid any damage. This was "The Lioness'" third title defense.
Once the fight was over, Nunes called Pennington and her fiancée Tecia Torres to join her in the Octagon where she addressed how hard this fight was for her.
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After the fight, the respect was clear between the pair, with Nunes bringing Tecia Torres to the cage and insisting the trio were going for a beer afterwards.
"It was very hard for me this fight", Nunes said.
The Brazilian had the contender in an armbar towards the end of the first, but Gastelum didn't let the fight hit the ground again until he dropped Souza at the midway point of the second round. I had to do it to defend this belt, defend my biggest dream.
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Pennington wanted to retire after the fourth round with an apparent broken nose, but returned to fight the fifth after her corner talked her into it.
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