Cast member Ronda Rousey attends the premiere of the motion picture thriller "The Expendables 3" at TCL Chinese Theatre in the Hollywood section of Los Angeles. UPI/Jim Ruymen | License Photo
The Ronda Rousey era is officially over.
The former UFC women's bantamweight champion returned to action on Friday night, 13 months after her stunning knockout loss to Holly Holm. But current champion Amanda Nunes didn't welcome her back graciously.
Nunes (14-4), a Miami resident by way of Brazil, picked apart Rousey (12-2), of Venice, Calif., who looked woefully overmatched. The time of the TKO was 48 seconds at Las Vegas' T-Mobile.
Nunes, the winner of five straight fights, seemed dismissive of Rousey, who stormed out of the Octagon after Nunes was announced as the winner.
"Now she's going to retire and go to movies and make a lot of money now," Nunes said. "You have lots of talent in this division. Forget about Ronda Rousey."
Earlier, Cody Garbrandt put a stunning stamp on his UFC bantamweight title encounter with Dominick Cruz of San Diego.
Cruz (22-2) went into the bout on a 12-fight win streak and undefeated since 2007. But Garbrandt (12-0), a 25-year old underdog from San Diego, put on a flawless performance to win the title.
A combination of superior footwork, heavy hitting and heaps of trash talk for five rounds gave Garbrandt a unanimous decision victory. The judges' scores were 48-46, 48-46 and 48-47.
"I thrive in that environment," said Garbrandt, who went 4-0 in 2016. "That's what I grew up in, fighting. Hats off to Dominick for making me a better person and a better fighter. He's a champion for a reason, he's one of the best."
Meanwhile, former bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw (14-3) of Denver stated his case for another title shot with a thorough victory over John Lineker (29-8) of Brazil. Dillashaw used kicks to stymie Lineker's hard-charging style and used his wrestling to set up a dominant ground game.
Dillashaw, who lost the title to Cruz on a narrow split decision in January, received 30-26 scores across the board for his sixth win in his past seven fights.
"I'm still one of the best in the world, and I proved it," Dillashaw said. "If I don't get the next title shot, this (expletive) is rigged."
A welterweight matchup between Dong Hyun Kim (27-10-1, 1 NC) of South Korea and Tarec Saffiedine (16-6) of Belgium made for an interesting style contrast. Kim relentlessly pushed forward and Saffiedine alternated between attempting to counter at range and initiating clinches.
While neither fighter came close to finishing the bout, Kim's approach was more impressive to two of the three judges. Kim received two 29-28 scores and Saffiedine a 30-27 to claim a split-decision victory in a bout more grueling than exciting.
"Saffiedine has a great clinch game, so it was hard to perform an exciting fight," said Kim, who has won three straight fights and seven of his past eight.
In the main-card opener, Ray Borg (10-2) of New Mexico put on an impressive show in a unanimous decision victory over Louis Smolka (11-3) of Hawaii.
Borg, who missed weight for a scheduled flyweight bout by three pounds, outgrappled, outscrambled and outstruck Smolka for the better part of 15 minutes and received judges' scores of 30-26, 30-26, and 30-27.
"I expected it to be a grappling match," said Borg, who has won four of his past five fights. "I expected him to scramble more and be a little bit stronger."