In a historic victory, Colorado native Raquel Pennington secured the vacant women’s bantamweight title at UFC 297 by defeating Mayra Bueno Silva through a unanimous decision at the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto. Pennington’s triumph not only marked her ascent to the top but also made her just the third Colorado-born fighter to claim a UFC championship, joining the ranks of Shane Carwin and Benson Henderson.
The title became vacant after Amanda Nunes’ retirement in June following her win at UFC 289. Pennington, on a remarkable six-match winning streak since January 2020, showcased her resilience and skill to capture the championship.
After her victory, Pennington expressed interest in facing Julianna Peña, the division’s top-ranked fighter, emphasizing the history between them dating back to their time on “The Ultimate Fighter” in 2013.
The win for Pennington, who had previously faced Nunes in a title bout, marked a significant moment in her career. She addressed the challenges faced, stating, “It’s been a long five years getting back to this,” and acknowledged the toughness of her opponent, Mayra Bueno Silva.
Bueno Silva, though threatening at times with choke attempts, was unable to thwart Pennington’s dominance. The fight showcased Pennington’s striking prowess, particularly with her jab and right cross, leading to a clear advantage in total strikes.
The victory sets the stage for a potential showdown between Pennington and Julianna Peña for the bantamweight title. Despite the long wait for this opportunity, Pennington is eager to face her next challenger and continue her journey as the newly crowned champion.