Germaine de Randamie made a statement Saturday night: She’s still a major player at 135 pounds.

The former women’s featherweight champion was coming off a loss in a bantamweight title shot against champion Amanda Nunes, and she showed she’s still very much a factor with a third-round technical submission of Julianna Pena during the main card of UFC on ESPN 16.

A tight guillotine choke put an end to things at the 3:25 mark of the third round in a back-and-forth fight, as de Randamaie (10-4 MMA, 7-2 UFC) got her first career submission victory.

“I felt sloppy and very stiff, but I tell everybody if you give me your neck, I’ll put you to sleep. Yeah. Hell yeah,” de Randamie said.

The opening round saw de Randamie use her size and reach advantage to maximum effect, as she blasted Pena (9-4 MMA, 5-2 UFC) with overhand rights whenever Pena tried to close the distance – until near round’s end, that is, as Pena closed the distance and scored a trip off the clinch.

That gave Pena confidence going into Round 2 as she started aggressive, pushed forward, scored with a big flurry and set the tone for the round. Pena, the “TUF 18” winner, eventually scored a takedown and spent most of the rest of the round in top position, although there, too, GDR’s length advantage kept her from absorbing much in the way of head trauma.

Pena started aggressive once again in Round 3, but this time de Randamie answered the call, as she re-implemented those looping rights. Pena eventually closed the distance and got the clinch but this time, de Randamie got the best of things. She sank in a tight guillotine and had to signal to referee Jason Herzog that her opponent was out. Pena could be seen twitching by the time things were waved off, though she was back on her feet in time for the announcement of de Randamie’s win.

De Randamie’s fifth career stoppage win was her sixth victory in her past seven fights. Pena has dropped two of three.

The women’s bantamweight bout was part of the UFC on ESPN 16 main card at Flash Forum at Yas Island in Abu Dhabi. It aired on ESPN following prelims on ESPN+.

Up-to-the-minute UFC on ESPN 16 results include:





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