Nunes, 5 ex-wrestlers come out on top at UFC 250

Twelve bouts. One hour, ten minutes of actual fight action. Five former wrestlers win their matches. Amanda Nunes holds onto her women's featherweight title (in a whole 'nother set of impressive stats).

By all these measures, UFC 250 at UFC APEX held Saturday night in Las Vegas was an evening to remember.

Nunes still champion

In the end-of-the-evening main event, women's featherweight champ Amanda Nunes held onto her UFC title belt vs. Felicia Spencer via in a unanimous-decision, five-round top-of-the-card matchup, (50-44, 50-44, 50-45).

By the numbers, there's more to Nunes' performance at UFC 250. Nunes became the first fighter in UFC history to record title defenses in two divisions while simultaneously holding multiple belts. Nunes' eight victories in UFC title fights are tied with Jose Aldo for third most in company history behind Jon Jones (14) and Anderson Silva (11). Nunes' eight victories in women's UFC title fights are most in company history. Nunes' 11-fight UFC winning streak is tied for second longest among active fighters in the company behind Khabib Nurmagomedov (12). What's more, Nunes' 11-fight UFC winning streak in women's competition is the longest in company history.

A handful of ex-wrestlers as winners

At least five former amateur wrestlers left the Octagon in Las Vegas in victory at UFC 250.

Cody Garbrandt: In a bantamweight bout on the main card just prior to the championship Nunes vs. Spencer, Garbrandt faced off against Raphael Assuncao. Garbrandt-- who once wrestled at Claymont High School in eastern Ohio -- scored a second-round knockout over Assuncao at 4:59 in Rd. 2.

Aljamain Sterling
Aljamain Sterling: Another main-card bantamweight match featured yet another wrestler whose mat career spanned high school and college within the state of New York. Abjamain Sterling first took to wrestling in Uniondale High School, then continued on at Morrisville College before enrolling at Courtland -- SUNY (State University of New York) where he was a two-time NCAA Division II All-American. (It was at Courtland where Sterling really launched his MMA career, having worked out with Jon Jones.)

In the first round, Sterling dragged Cory Sandhagen to the floor, putting him in a body triangle. Sandhagen struggled to survive. Sterling applied the triangle choke and Sandhagen struggled to stay awake ... but then tapped out just before passing out at 1:28 of Round 1. (Want to know more about how Abjamain Sterling's wrestling background has helped him find success in MMA? Click here to read this ESPN article.)

Earlier in the evening -- in the preliminary set of bouts -- Ian Heinisch faced Gerald Meerschaert in a middleweight match. Prior to launching his pro MMA career, Heinisch wrestled the Rocky Mountain States. He started in Colorado, where he was a state champ and two-time Colorado state All-American. Heinisch then continued his mat career at North Idaho College.

At UFC 250, Heinisch faced Meerschaert, knocking him to the floor. Heinisch followed, starting to unleash punches. Meerschaert tried to recover, but Heinisch was unrelenting with the strikes, and this fight was over at 1:14 of Round 1.

Alex Perez brought his impressive wrestling resume into the Octagon in Las Vegas ... and demonstrated his dominance with a first-round TKO (leg kicks) in his flyweight bout vs Jussier Formiga. Perez wrestled collegiately at West Hills College, where he was a runner-up at the 2013 CCCAA State Wrestling Championships.

And, among the heftiest former wrestlers in the Octagon was Devin Clark, competing at light-heavyweight. Clark brought a multi-dimensional combat sports skills set to his UFC 250 bout to his unanimous decision -- 30-27, 29-28, 29-28 -- vs. Alonzo Menifield. Clark started boxing as a kid, then took on wrestling in high school. Clark made it to the South Dakota State Finals match as a junior (placing second) and as a senior (winning the 189-pound title). Clark attended Minnesota's Rochester Community and Technical College where he was a two-time NJCAA All-American, winning a national title once.

Amanda Nunes (c) def. Felicia Spencer via unanimous decision (50-44, 50-44, 50-45)
Cody Garbrandt def. Raphael Assuncao via second-round knockout (punch)
Aljamain Sterling def. Cory Sandhagen via first-round submission (rear naked choke)
Neil Magny def. Anthony Rocco Martin via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Sean O'Malley def. Eddie Wineland via first-round knockout (punch)
Alex Caceres def. Chase Hooper via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Ian Heinisch def. Gerald Meerschaert via first-round TKO (punches)
Cody Stamann def. Brian Kelleher via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Maki Pitolo def. Charles Byrd via second-round TKO (punches)
Alex Perez def. Jussier Formiga via first-round TKO (leg kicks)
Devin Clark def. Alonzo Menifield via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Herbert Burns def. Evan Dunham via first-round submission (rear-naked choke)


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Wesley Csop (1) about 6 months ago