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Nunes beats Aldana to retain title at UFC 289, announces retirement

Amanda Nunes Amanda Nunes - The Canadian Press

VANCOUVER — Amanda (Lioness) Nunes announced her retirement after dominating Irene Aldana to retain her bantamweight title at UFC 289 in Vancouver, B.C.

Nunes dominated the fight, landing far more hits than her opponent, while Aldana's corner repeatedly encouraged their fighter to go on the offensive.

"It went exactly how I pictured it in my mind. I did what I was supposed to do," Nunes said about her win. "When I started to mix it up ... (Aldana) wasn't able to do anything."

Nunes entered the post fight press conference on crutches, revealing she has suffered nerve damage in one leg for some time.

"I did everything, I broke a lot of records," she said about her reputation, adding she wants to be remembered as the greatest female fighter of all time.

Nunes said she'd like to stay involved in mixed martial arts in the future and would like to train a female champion, but will first take time to spend time with her wife and family in Brazil.

Aldana suffered repeated blows to the face, with one elbow hit opening a cut on her face.

UFC President Dana White praised Nunes after her announcement, adding that she was an icon of the sport.

"She’s been incredible to work with. She’s such a good human being … if she’s ready to go you have to be happy for her," he said.

White added that Aldana had been taken to hospital for evaluation after the fight.

Charles (Do Bronxs) Oliveira won by TKO in the co-main event against Beneil Dariush in the lightweight bout to set up a potential title fight against lightweight champion Islam Makhachev in Abu Dhabi in the fall.

"He's got the belt and I want to be a champion so I need to go through him. Of course I want to fight him," he said.

The title fight capped a successful night for Canadian fighters with all six Canadians or Canadian-based fighters going undefeated.

Aiemann Zahabi won by knockout against Aoriqileng while (Proper) Mike Malott beat Adam Fugitt by submission.

"This was our show man. This was our coming out," Mallot said. "I hope all the Canadians who fought tonight get a performance bonus. That was pretty special."

Malott won a $50,000 bonus for his performance on Saturday night.

Fighting legend Georges St-Pierre attended the fight and sat cageside with many fighters saying they were unaware of his presence until after their respective fights.

A railing fell during Malott's walk out, sending fans tumbling to the ground and striking one of the Canadian fighter's cornermen in the hip.

Rogers Arena later issued a statement detailing the accident.

"Our arena staff worked quickly to relocate the fans in the affected area and no serious injuries were reported," read the statement.

Diana Belbita won in the preliminary fight stage while Nelson and Zahabi won in the preliminaries. Marc-Andre Barriault won his middleweight bout on the main card before Malott's win in the welterweight class.

The fight in Vancouver was a sellout with 17,628 attendance and $5.4 million in gate revenue.

White said Toronto would be a logical choice as the next potential location for a Canadian fight.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 10, 2023.