Amanda Nunes entered UFC Fight Night 73 an underdog.
She left Nashville, Tennessee a future challenger to the female bantamweight belt after submitting Sara McMann.
Nunes (11-4) rocked the Olympic silver medalist and former title contender with a right-hand, putting in work on the ground with more shots before locking up the submission early in the first round.
“I am so happy,” she said. “I am so emotional. Sara’s tough, but I trained hard at ATT.”
With champion Ronda Rousey likely set to face Miesha Tate for a third time, new faces are needed for the top spots in the division. Nunes has lost only to former contender Cat Zingano since coming over from Invicta FC in 2013.
Her wins have all been first round finishes, as she also knocked out Germaine de Randamie and Sheila Gaff. She trails only Rousey for the most finishes in the division with four to Rousey’s six. The submission was set up after Nunes avoided a spinning attack and caught her with a clean right.
After the victory, Nunes jumped out of the cage and was greeted by American Top Team owner Dan Lambert and welterweight champion Robbie Lawler, who were cageside watching the performance. She also credited former WEC champion Mike Brown with “beating me up” every day in training.