LAS VEGAS — The baddest woman on the planet found herself in a fight Saturday. She showed that she’s far more than a devastating striker.Two-division champion Amanda Nunes deployed a proficient wrestling game to ground Germaine de Randamie over the course of five rounds and retained her UFC women’s bantamweight title with a unanimous decision victory. Join DAZN and watch more than 100 fight nights a yearNunes — who has spent the past three fights mauling her opponents with devastating striking — wasn’t able to overpower the Dutch kickboxer. Instead, Nunes mixed in takedowns that left de Randamie helpless.Things nearly came to an abrupt halt in the first round when Nunes took down de Randamie, pummeled her with heavy strikes and almost ended the fight twice with submission attempts. De Randamie managed to survive and even turned the fight around in the second frame when she stunned the champion with a wicked knee. Nunes appeared to expend a great deal of energy looking for an early finish and de Randamie took full advantage in the second. She landed crisp counterstrikes and had the champion in trouble, albeit briefly. Recognizing that de Randamie wasn’t going to allow her to land the thudding right hand, Nunes opted to utilize her wrestling to ground her opponent. From there, it was a simple rinse and repeat as de Randamie’s back and the canvas got familiar during the final three rounds. The champ changing levels! ⬇️🏆 @Amanda_Leoa #UFC245 pic.twitter.com/RsS7zILJ8K— UFC (@ufc) December 15, 2019Try as she might, de Randamie had no answers for Nunes’ wrestling and repeatedly found herself looking up at the lights as Nunes pounded on her during the third and fourth rounds. With the fight seemingly in the bag, Nunes took all of nine seconds to ground de Randamie again in the fifth and never gave her the opportunity to get to her feet. Aside from the second round, it was total domination from the “champ champ” as Nunes earned scores of 49-44, 49-46 and 49-45 from the judges.
The NFL’s playoff format was largely considered one of the best in sports. The number of teams was ideal. Those with the best records were rewarded with byes and matchups against the lowest seeds. Upsets were inevitable, but generally, the champion the bracket produced was deserving and representative of its true superiority over the rest of the league. Beyond some issues with seeding, the NFL’s playoff format was perfect.So obviously it was time for a change. MORE: How last year’s NFC playoffs would have been different with new formatAs the NFL and the NFLPA finalized a new collective bargaining agreement, within the terms of the CBA was a change to the league’s playoff format. The NFL wanted to add two games to the postseason schedule, one game (and one team) per conference. “Add two games to the postseason schedule,” of course, is slang for “add chances to collect more bread.”NFL hasn’t adjusted the playoff format since 2002, when the Texans joined the league and the NFL split into eight, four-team divisions. Six playoff teams in each conference has been around since 1990.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) February 20, 2020A source told ESPN the playoff format change had been “agreed to for a long time,” and “there wasn’t a lot of disagreement” around the idea of expanding the field for the postseason. But the league is not just adding a couple games to the playoffs; more changes are coming.Below are all the changes.How many teams will make the NFL playoffs?The new format will add one team to the playoff field in both the AFC and the NFC, making it a 14-team postseason (seven teams per conference) rather than the prior 12-team format.As ESPN noted, had the new playoff format been in place in 2019, the Steelers would have reached the AFC playoffs, and the Rams would have been included in the NFC field.Here is how last season’s playoff bracket would have looked under the new format, assuming the NFL’s current seeding tactics (four division winners get top four seeds) remain in place.AFCSeedTeam1.Ravens (first-round bye)2.Chiefs3.Patriots4.Texans5.Bills6.Titans7.SteelersNFCSeedTeam1.49ers (first-round bye)2.Packers3.Saints4.Eagles5.Seahawks6.Vikings7.RamsThe question critics of this new format will raise: Did Pittsburgh (which limped to the end of the season after a series of QB injuries) and Los Angeles (which finished third in its own division) deserve to make the postseason?If the newly proposed playoff system were in place the last 10 years we would have added:• five 10-win teams• nine 9-win teams• six 8-win teamsThe team helped the most (by far) would have been the Steelers who would have made 4 more playoff trips & 10/10 the last 10 yrs. pic.twitter.com/VYWn7xBpID— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) February 20, 2020When will NFL playoffs expand?The new playoff format will be installed for the 2020 season (when and if it takes place).With a teleconference vote, NFL owners on Tuesday confirmed the playoff format change.Only one team from each conference gets a first-round byeThe prior playoff format, of course, allowed two teams in each conference to benefit from first-round byes. That’s why the 49ers’ goal-line stand against the Seahawks in Week 17 last season was such a massive play; it allowed the Packers to jump the Saints for the No. 2 seed. New Orleans ended up losing its wild-card game to Minnesota, and Green Bay reached the NFC title game.This is a great reward for the top seed in each conference, but some are wondering whether it’s too strong of an advantage.Six games on wild-card weekendHere’s the money-maker. The addition of a playoff team and the subtraction of a first-round bye in each conference means two extra playoff games on wild-card weekend. According to ESPN, “the players on the teams that earn a first-round bye will receive postseason pay for that weekend,” too.Yet, as NFLPA executive committee vice president and current 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman notes, “it’s never that simple.”Re NFL CBA: obviously owners want extra regular season/playoff game and are spinning it to the players and the media as “More games, more money!!” It’s much more complicated than that, and Players need true concessions. But they seem to have this leverage: owners want a deal now.— Andrew Brandt (@AndrewBrandt) February 20, 2020A six-game weekend for the wild-card round is obviously intriguing to viewers. The No. 2 seed will face the No. 7 seed, No. 3 will play No. 6 and No. 4 will draw No. 5. What’s unclear is how the NFL will determine that seeding, which is the biggest issue with its current playoff format.MORE: How the NFL can fix its playoff seeding problem Regular season increased to 17 games; preseason shortened to three gamesThis can be implemented for the 2021 season at the earliest.This was a proposal by NFL team owners that received significant pushback from the players, with the health and safety risks associated with another regular-season game being their biggest concerns. The league’s balancing act of subtracting a preseason game to make up for the regular-season addition is generally pointless to the regular starters who don’t play in Week 4 preseason games, anyway.Likely an effort to convince the players to agree to a 17-game schedule, players as part of the new CBA will go from a 47 percent revenue share under the prior deal to 48 percent share at 16 games, and then to a 48.5 percent share if they go to 17 games.