Las Vegas, NV - On a night full of the UFC's biggest stars, it was the unsuspecting Amanda Nunes who stole the show.
A heavy underdog against women's bantamweight champion Miesha Tate, Nunes needed less than four minutes to finish the fight, which was promoted to evening's main event just two days before the bout.
Known for her fast starts and heavy striking, Nunes poured on the punches, landing crisp combinations to stun Tate. Tate provided little in the way of offense, as Nunes completed a takedown before landing a devastating knee on the break.
With Tate visibly stunned and hurt, Nunes continued to pressure, unleashing picturesque and technical punches that dropped Tate to the canvas.
Back on their feet, the pair exchanged briefly, before Nunes brought the bout back to the ground, where she locked in the rear-naked choke, forcing Tate to tap out at 3:16.
"I always have things to work on and try to make things happen in my life," commented Nunes following the fight. "For years I've been working hard for this moment ... when I saw she was hurt, I controlled myself because I know she can come back. I made sure she couldn't come back anymore."
Professional wrestling star and former UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar made his successful comeback to the Octagon, taking a unanimous decision over striker Mark Hunt.
Returning to the UFC for the first time since 2011, Lesnar used his wrestling and ground and pound to handle Hunt in the first round.
In the second frame, Hunt started to find his groove, sprawling to avoid all of Lesnar's takedown attempts. But Hunt was unable to land anything significant, and Lesnar took the bout back to the ground in the third, where he poured on the ground and pound until the final bell sounded.
"It took me a little while just to get acclimated," offered Lesnar, who earned his first win since 2010.
Scratched from the headlining spot just 72 hours before the event due to a potential doping violation against Jon Jones, light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier outpointed UFC legend and former middleweight champion Anderson Silva in a non-title affair.
Taking Silva down in all three rounds, Cormier was never flashy, preferring to use his wrestling and ground and pound to dominate Silva, who entered the bout with no training, just seven weeks removed from gallbladder surgery.
With referee John McCarthy calling for the fighters to stand up in both the second and third rounds, Silva did manage to deliver some thrilling kicks on the feet. But Cormier's wrestling proved to be too strong, as he coasted on all three scorecards.
"I've been training for a specific guy for 8 weeks ... it's so difficult to change opponents," commented Cormier, who drew massive jeers from the crowd at the T-Mobile Arena. "I was a little nervous; he's so good. I did what I had to do."
Fighting for the interim featherweight belt, former champions Jose Aldo and Frankie Edgar went the distance in a rematch of their 2013 title bout.
Edgar set a furious pace in the early rounds, tagging Aldo, who patiently retreated from the action, using his right hand to keep distance. When Aldo landed, he connected with power, cutting Edgar over the eye. And while Aldo has historically faded in the later rounds, he conserved his energy, absorbing Edgar's punch and kick combinations, landing well-placed shots.
The patient Aldo absorbed Edgar's combinations, waiting until the fourth and fifth rounds to pour on the striking. And while Aldo threw fewer kicks and punches, he did significant damage on the feet while defending all of Edgar's takedown attempts.
After five rounds, Aldo earned the unanimous decision, 49-46, 49-46, 48-47, identical scores as their first bout.
"I feel really good. This is one step to getting the belt back," offered Aldo, who is expected to face champion Conor McGregor in a title unification bout later this year. "The next time you'll see me as the true champion."
Leading off the UFC 200 main card, former two-time heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez earned his first victory since October 2013, with a dominant technical knockout of Travis Browne.
Velasquez pressured from the opening bell, forcing Browne against the cage. Adding the spinning heel kick to his vast wrestling and kickboxing arsenal, Velasquez clipped Browne with an overhand right, stunning the 6-foot-7 Hawaiian.
And while Browne fought back, Velasquez continued with pressure, taking Browne down before laying on the ground and pound.
Referee John McCarthy waived off the bout at 4:57 of the first round.
"I'm never happy with what I have. My timing was a little off as far as being able to close the distance," stated Velasquez. "It's good to get a win, but I always want to be better. It's about improving on those little things as a fighter. That's just the way I am ... I want to fight the best guys out there."
Headlining the preliminary card, Julianna Pena, the first woman to win The Ultimate Fighter, came from behind to score a unanimous decision over former title challenger Cat Zingano.
It was Zingano who came out the stronger fighter, taking Pena down on multiple occasions in the first round. With Pena on her back, Zingano did little damage, but controlled the opening frame.
Then, midway through the second period, Pena found her form, reversing Zingano on the ground after a scramble. Pena continued to work on the ground throughout the third round, riding her wrestling to the victory, her fourth inside the Octagon.
"Sometimes I just let my opponents gas themselves out and do their thing. Then, I'll come out in the second and the third where I know I'm my strongest and my cardio is the best," said Pena. "Everybody that's been put in front of me, I've beaten so I don't see anything else but the title."
A pair of hard-hitting welterweights scrapped for the distance, as former The Ultimate Fighter winner Kelvin Gastelum outpointed Johny Hendricks, a former UFC champion, for a unanimous verdict.
Gastelum looked phenomenal throughout, using his relentless pressure to back Hendricks up, while landing crisp punches.
Hendricks battled back in the second frame, landing punches of his own, but Gastelum's pace proved to be the difference, as he repeatedly tagged Hendricks, who lost back-to-back contests for the first time in his mixed martial arts career.
"This win puts me in the conversation to possibly fight for a number-one contender spot ... I didn't really have a plan coming in here," commented Gastelum. "I just prepared for anything that came my way ... I've never felt this level of confidence before during a fight. I've never felt this level of preparation."
Former bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw avenged a 2013 loss to Rafael Assuncao with a dominant, unanimous-decision victory.
Dancing around the cage with his signature footwork, Dillashaw landed crisp punches and kicks throughout, including a straight right that momentarily dropped Assuncao, who was bloodied in the second frame.
Winning every round on all the judges' scorecards, Dillashaw now looks to rematch current titleholder Dominick Cruz, after losing the belt in January.
"I'm the champion in the bantamweight division. That's my belt," stated Dillashaw. "I want my belt back. I'm coming for that title ... a title fight is next. Nothing but a title fight."
Twenty-year-old phenom Sage Northcutt went the distance for the first time in his young MMA career, earning a unanimous decision over Spain's Enrique Marin.
Northcutt started fast, landing a head kick and punch combination to startle Marin. The Texas native was dominant for the rest of the frame, using his strength to out-muscle Marin.
In the second, the Spaniard stole the round with grappling exchanges, top control, and an armbar submission attempt. However, Northcutt survived the round, and proved his worth in the third, nullifying Marin's grappling with elbows against the clinch.
"I'm always learning and getting better with my technique. I'm still very young, so I have a lot to learn. His jiu jitsu is pretty good, but none of the submissions he went for bugged me or hurt," commented Northcutt. "I had the most significant strikes and never really got hit by him."
Lightweight Joe Lauzon returned to the win column with a quick and efficient standing-TKO finish over former The Ultimate Fighter winner Diego Sanchez.
With Sanchez stalking early, pressing with his jab and a body kick, Lauzon patiently waited to find his opening. And once he started landing punches, Lauzon never quit, dropping Sanchez on multiple occasions.
Sanchez stayed tough in the pocket, attempting to fight off a charging Lauzon. But after Lauzon connected with a brilliant shot that knocked Sanchez's mouthpiece out, referee Mark Smith stopped the bout at 1:26 of the first period.
"It was a short fight, but things went our way. I think in the past I've tried to do too long of a camp so we shortened it quite a bit and sparred a lot less," said Lauzon. "He came out and was kind of tentative. I was a little more cautious, I thought he was trying to draw me in a little bit since he was a little complacent."
Dutchman Gegard Mousasi delivered an impressive performance in his first round knockout of Brazil's Thiago Santos.
Starting slow, Mousasi threw low kicks while gauging distance and being cautious of Santos' power. But once Mousasi found his range, he was able to rush in and land combinations, dropping Santos against the fence.
Stunned by the strikes, Santos was able to recover and return to his feet, but Mousasi continued to clinch and take the bout to the ground.
Again, Santos stood back up, but Mousasi was quick to capitalize, immediately dropping Santos, following up with punches on the ground. Referee Marc Goddard called the bout at 4:32 of the first.
"He doesn't have a real recognizable name, but he's dangerous," offered Mousasi.
"I believe I have one of the best stand up in the middleweight [division]."
"I knew I had better hands than him because he's a good kick boxer ... I felt if I could take him down, I would dominate him on the ground," commented Mousasi. "I felt the same way about my standup and obviously I got it done with the strikes. I wanted to show my dominance in my striking and impose my will on him so he wouldn't build confidence."
Kicking off the entire UFC 200 event, lightweight Jim Miller made short work of former Pride champion Takanori Gomi.
Connecting on a few crisp hooks in the opening minute, Miller took Gomi down to the mat, after catching a low kick from the Japanese fighter. And once they were on the ground, Miller quickly scrambled to take Gomi's back.
Miller remained patient and methodical, attempting a kimura before transitioning to a body triangle. From there, Miller roughed Gomi up with punches, while threatening with a rear naked choke. Miller would not even need to complete the submission, as referee Mark Smith stepped in to waive off the bout at 2:18 of the first round.
"I'm a jiu jitsu black belt and I knew had an advantage on the ground ... I knew if I took his back he'd give it to me," offered Miller, who avoided a third-straight loss with his first TKO since 2011. "This is a big one for me, I had a rough year."
UFC 200 Results
Amanda Nunes def. Miesha Tate via submission (rear naked choke) R1, 3:16
Brock Lesnar def. Mark Hunt via unanimous decision (29-27, 29-27, 29-27)
Daniel Cormier def. Anderson Silva via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-26)
Jose Aldo def. Frankie Edgar via unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 48-47)
Cain Velasquez def. Travis Browne via TKO (punches) R1, 4:57
Julianna Pena def. Cat Zingano via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Kelvin Gastelum def. Johny Hendricks via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
TJ Dillashaw def. Rafael Assuncao via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Sage Northcutt def. Enrique Marin via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Joe Lauzon def. Diego Sanchez via TKO (punches) R1, 1:26
Gegard Mousasi def. Thiago Santos via KO (punches) R1, 4:32
Jim Miller def. Takanori Gomi via TKO (punches) R1, 2:18