UFC 250: Aljamain Sterling stands tall on big night for bantamweights

There were no fewer than three division-shaping bantamweight bouts at UFC 250, and while a former champ announced his return, it was Aljamain Sterling who truly stamped his authority.

With Henry Cejudo calling time early on his career, the 135lbs division is suddenly a melting pot with plenty of pedigree jostling for the gold.

Jose Aldo and Petr Jan will battle is out for the vacant strap, but the winner will have a pretty lengthy line forming.

The head of that line is Sterling, who produced a scintillating stoppage of Cory Sandhagen in Las Vegas.

Sandhagen, previously unbeaten in his five UFC outings, was carrying some solid momentum but didn’t last 90 seconds as the Funk Master was too fast standing up, and too good on the ground securing a sensational rear naked choke stoppage.

Now at 19-3, Sterling is the best we have ever seen him, boasting a five-fight win streak of his own, and is without question the next in line once a 135lbs king is crowned.

Back in the reckoning is Cody Garbrandt after he unleashed a buzzer-beating Exocet that slept Raphael Assuncao at the end of the second round in their clash.

On the back of three-straight losses, including dropping the bantamweight title, we were promised Cody 2.0, and No Love certainly delivered.

Speed has always been a key weapon in his arsenal, but it seemed Garbrandt had taken things up a notch further, looking slick and smooth on his feet against a naturally cagey and defensive opponent who is a difficult puzzle to solve.

Assuncao has not spent years in the top echelons of the division for no reason and it took something special to stop him in the form of a blistering right hook to the chin.

Garbrandt will be fully aware this does

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Team Lakay’s Iniong takes a break, focuses on first pregnancy

Photo from ONE Championship

MANILA, Philippines—It’ll take a long time before Gina Iniong returns to the ONE Championship cage.

ONE’s No. 5 ranked women’s atomweight contender is expecting her first child with her husband Richard Araos, whom she married in October.

The pregnancy nearly made Iniong walk out of the sport entirely but a lengthy conversation with mentor Mark Sangiao persuaded the Team Lakay stalwart to think things through.

“She thought about retirement, but I told her, ‘don’t think about it yet.’ I told her to focus on her pregnancy and then maybe she can make decisions after if she really wants to stop,” said Sangiao in a report from ONE’s official website.

“I told her that it is hard to decide right now. I’ve seen a lot of people retire, then come out of retirement. It’s best for her to just focus on her well-being and pregnancy, and then worry about the next steps in her career later.”

Iniong (9-4) is 3-1 in her last four fights and is coming off back-to-back victories against Hayatun Jihin Radzuan and Asha Roka.

She’s also dabbled outside of the MMA circuit and was successful in her kickboxing pursuit when she won the gold medal in the Southeast Asian Games in December.

Sangiao said that Iniong had been adamant in her decision to focus on her family even before the SEA Games started as she and her husband already had plans of having a child during that time.

“Even before the SEA Games, she was telling me that she wanted to focus on her family. She said they’re getting older [Iniong is 30-years-old] and they already want to have a child,” said Sangiao.

“This is such a huge blessing for her. She wanted this for a long time, and it was given.”

Although

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Amanda Nunes defeats Canadian Felicia Spencer at UFC 250

Amanda Nunes has defeated Canadian Felicia Spencer by decision in their main event featherweight title bout at UFC 250.

More to come.

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