UFC Vegas 43: Luana Pinheiro Defeats Sam Hughes Via Unanimous Decision

Sam Hughes and Luana Pinheiro, UFC Vegas 43
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - NOVEMBER 20: (R-L) Luana Pinheiro of Brazil punches Sam Hughes in a strawweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on November 20, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Kicking off Saturday’s UFC Vegas 43 preliminary card, Sam Hughes looked to shake off two consecutive losses to start her UFC career as she took on Luana Pinheiro.

Hughes had been expected to face Lupita Godinez in October, only to have COVID-19 protocols force her from the bout. Coincidentally, “Loopy” was sharing the card with Hughes Saturday, but it was Brazil’s Pinheiro she had to worry about.

Both fighters took the center of the octagon. There was no touch of gloves.  Hughes opened up with calf kicks. Pinheiro threw a low kick and missed with a huge hook. Two minutes into the fight and both fighters were still trying to find their range. Pinheiro came in swinging, but missed most of her punches. Pinheiro landed a headlock throw and planted Hughes on the ground. Hughes got to her knees, fighting off a guillotine, and when she got to her feet, she got thrown down again with the headlock toss. One minute left in the round, and both women got to their feet in the center of the octagon. The round ended with Hughes throwing a high kick.

Round two started with a jab from Pinheiro and a calf kick from Hughes. 3:20 left in the round, and Hughes landed a heavy low kick. Pinheiro threw a teep kick that missed. A heavy jab from Hughes backed Pinheiro up. Pinheiro put Hughes up against the fence with two minutes left trying for her judo toss, but Hughes blocked it and forced Pinheiro back to the center of the octagon. With 30 seconds left, Pinheiro charged Hughes with a couple of combos and landed one that dropped Hughes.

Thirty seconds into the third and Pinheiro blitzed Hughes and landed a couple of punches. 3:18 left in the fight, and the referee told the pair of fighters to fight. Calf kick from Hughes with two minutes left, and she ate a right hook. Hughes put Pinheiro against the fence and landed an elbow. Pinheiro worked off the cage and escaped to the center.  Hughes threw a flying knee, but nothing landed and then landed a body kick. The fight ended with another flying knee attempt and hook from Hughes.

Official Result: Luana Pinheiro defeated Sam Hughes via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)