UFC 277 Predictions: Peña vs Nunes 2

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UFC 277 Predictions: Peña vs Nunes 2

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Putting the UFC 277 predictions aside for one moment, can we all just agree on how truly God-awful this card is? The main event on paper is incredible. A rematch featuring the former, long-reigning champion seeking to regain her belt. In reality, aside from the shock of Nunes losing, it was pretty dire viewing in terms of technical ability shown. Although the co-main involves two of the most exciting Flyweights, the fight is for an interim belt to justify the PPV price tag. Deiveson Figueiredo is the rightful Flyweight champion, and as such, should have been offered the respect to recover from his hand injuries.

As a featured preliminary, Alex Morono and Matt Semelsberger can probably attract a combined 100 sets of eyes to the TV. It’s a real headscratcher as to why the compelling Lightweight bout between Drew Dober and Rafael Alves hasn’t received featured privileges. The less said about the appearances of Blood Diamond, Nick Negumereanu and Don’Tale Mayes, the better.

Where/When is UFC 277 taking place:
July 30, 2022. American Airlines Center. Dallas, United States.

What time does UFC 277 start:
🇬🇧 UK: 11pm / 🇺🇸 US ET: 6pm

What channel is UFC 277 on:
🇬🇧 UK: BT Sports / 🇺🇸 US: ESPN+

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Folks really be writing off Derrick Lewis...? | UFC 277 Predictions
Folks really be writing off Derrick Lewis…?

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UFC 277 Picks & Odds

UFC 277 Fights & OddsWinnerMethodRound
Amanda Nunes (-265)
Julianna Peña (+225)
NunesTKO1
Brandon Moreno (-210)
Kai Kara-France (+180)
MorenoDecision/
Derrick Lewis (+105)
Sergei Pavlovich (-125)
LewisTKO2
Anthony Smith (+390)
Magomed Ankalaev (-490)
AnkalaevDecision/
Alex Perez (+155)
Alexandre Pantoja (-180)
PantojaDecision/
Drew Dober (-200)
Rafael Alves (+170)
DoberDecision/
Alex Morono (+135)
Matthew Semelsberger (-155)
MoronoDecision/
Don’Tale Mayes (-180)
Hamdy Abdelwahab (+155)
MayesTKO3
Adam Fugitt (+450)
Michael Morales (-600)
MoralesTKO2
Drakkar Klose (-225)
Rafa Garcia (+190)
KloseDecision/
Ihor Potieria (-130)
Nicolae Nergumereanu (+110)
NegumereanuDecision/
Ji Yeon Kim (+110)
Joselyne Edwards (-130)
EdwardsDecision/
Blood Diamond (+150)
Orion Cosce (-175)
CosceTKO1
Odds are based on BestFightOdds.com. All odds of 27 July 2022..

UFC 277: Main Event

Julianna Peña vs Amanda Nunes

Women’s Bantamweight (135)

UFC Women’s Bantamweight Championship

Julianna Peña (11-4)

From being choked out by GDR to subbing the Women’s GOAT in under two rounds – can the Peña vs Nunes rematch inspire a tepid PPV? Peña’s abhorrent post-fight comments sparked a little animosity between the two, yet Nunes is a consummate professional and has failed to engage the fans with a petty rivalry that excites casuals. Despite the time that has passed, it must never be forgotten, Peña out-boxed Nunes before hitting the submission.

The dipping jab. A basic step forward, moving off the centre-line, was enough to topple the most feared Women’s fighter of all time. Peña is unlikely to have added more strings to her limited striking bow. Nunes occasionally timed an intercepting uppercut as a means to counter Peña, but the damage had already been done early by the Venezuelan Vixen.

Amanda Nunes (21-5)

No matter the combat sport, even the elite of the division can be embarrassed. Lennox Lewis, the arguable number one Heavyweight boxer, dropped fights against meagre opponents. Is Nunes capable of handling the mental scars in an immediate rematch with an opponent that remains thoroughly limited? Can Nunes move her head out of the way of Peña’s jab? Will Nunes enter at angles or use feints to draw out Peña’s straight shots?

If Nunes sits on the outside, the Brazilian has to continue to be favoured as a result of her clubbing power. Once the former champ waded into the pocket, it opened up the avenue for Peña to avoid prolonged exchanges and take the fight to the mat. Sure, Peña hammered Nunes on the outside last time, but you’d hope that fighters at the top of the division can adopt a couple of technical adjustments. This is Women’s Bantamweight, however – a division which granted Megan Anderson a title shot.

Predicted Result: Nunes TKO Round 1

The dipping jab. A basic step forward, moving off the centre-line, was enough to topple the most feared Women’s fighter of all time. Nunes occasionally timed an intercepting uppercut as a means to counter Peña, but the damage had already been done early by the Venezuelan Vixen. Can Nunes move her head out of the way of Peña’s jab? Will the Brazilian enter at angles or use feints to draw out Peña’s straight shots? God forbid, Nunes dips into her underrated top game and hammers Peña from the top.

If Nunes sits on the outside, the Brazilian has to continue to be favoured as a result of her clubbing power. Sure, Peña hammered Nunes on the outside last time, but you’d hope that fighters at the top of the division can adopt a couple of technical adjustments. This is Women’s Bantamweight, however – a division which granted Megan Anderson a title shot.

Result: Nunes def. Peña // Decision (UD – 50-45, 50-44, 50-43)

Winner ✔️ // Method ❌ // Round ❌

Nunes doesn't have to write off going to the mat, but she cannot afford to end up on her back | UFC 277 Predictions
Nunes doesn’t have to write off going to the mat, but she cannot afford to end up on her back

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UFC 277: Co-Main Event

Brandon Moreno vs Kai Kara-France

Flyweight (125)

UFC Interim Flyweight Championship

Brandon Moreno (19-6-2)

After a gruelling trilogy with Deiveson Figueiredo, Moreno’s hype flip-flopped between extremities. The third-round submission over Figueiredo saw the Funko Pop collector skyrocket in popularity, only to crashland with a decisive loss in their rubber match. Has Moreno lost a piece of himself as a fighter over such a brutal trilogy?

The Assassin Baby owns one of the P4P best chins in the business, yet Figgy Pudding has softened Moreno’s chin while Kara-France carries firecrackers in his hands. Moreno battered Kara-France last time out through excellent use of angles and confusing the once stoic counter-puncher. Now that Kara-France is more willing to press on the front foot, the rounds may feel more debatable on the scorecards.

Kai Kara-France (24-9)

After a shock guillotine choke loss to Brandon Royval, Kara-France enjoyed a glittering 2021-22 with scalps over Rogerio Bontorin, Cody Garbrandt and Askar Askarov. Crucial to recent success has been Kara-France’s comfort in the pocket. Bontorin and Garbrandt are heavy-handed foes, yet Kara-France’s edge in speed has been noticeable during his ascent to the interim title.

Interestingly, during their first bout, neither man attempted a takedown. Kara-France showcased far more elusive TDD against Askar Askarov than in any of the other 31 fights in his extensive career. Whether the newfound explosiveness will deter Moreno from dipping into his wrestling chops, however, is yet to be seen.

Predicted Result: Moreno Decision

After a gruelling trilogy with Deiveson Figueiredo, Moreno’s hype flip-flopped between extremities. Can one of the P4P best chins in the business endure Kara-France’s newfound aggression and heavy hands? During their first bout, neither man attempted a takedown. Kara-France showcased far more elusive TDD against Askar Askarov than in any of the other 31 fights in his extensive career. Whether the newfound explosiveness will deter Moreno from dipping into his wrestling chops, however, is yet to be seen. Backing an equal affair on the feet, with razor close rounds falling in favour of Moreno.

Result: Moreno def. Kara-France // TKO (body kick and punches) Round 3 4:34

Winner ✔️ // Method ❌ // Round ❌

Has Brandon Moreno taken too much punishment over three fights with Figgy? | UFC 277 Predictions
Has Brandon Moreno taken too much punishment over three fights with Figgy?

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UFC 277: Main Card

Derrick Lewis vs Sergei Pavlovich

Heavyweight (265)

Derrick Lewis (26-9)

Folks are far too hasty to write off Derrick Lewis. Sure, the Heavyweight isn’t a dedicated athlete – his fitness is often a coin flip in the build-up to any of his fights. Losing to Tai Tuivasa, however, in a strike-for-strike fist fight is exactly the sort of loss that Lewis has always teetered on the edge of losing. Lewis still carries comically nuclear power. Pavlovich isn’t riding a career-high form like Tuivasa, nor is he as comfortable in throwing extended combinations within the pocket. Lewis still represents a nightmare to keep on the mat, and if you can’t put him away, he will find the light switch.

Sergei Pavlovich (15-1)

The roidy Russian enjoyed a first-round finish on his return to the octagon just a few months ago. Pavlovich was highly backed on his debut against a fading Alistair Overeem, yet the Russian was battered to a pulp on the mat by the resurgent veteran. Pavlovich hits hard but his strikes are often telegraphed. Lewis isn’t a defensive savant, but Tuivasa aside, the Black Beast isn’t a man to handshake into a war of attrition in the pocket.

Predicted Result: Lewis TKO Round 2

Hot off the presses – Lewis still carries comically nuclear power. Pavlovich hits hard but his strikes are often telegraphed. Lewis isn’t a defensive savant, but Tuivasa aside, the Black Beast isn’t a man to handshake into a war of attrition in the pocket. The Russian can certainly take Lewis down, but to keep his opponent on the ground is highly unlikely. Eventually, Lewis has to be backed to find the killswitch.

Result: Pavlovich def. Lewis // TKO (punches) Round 1 0:55

Winner ❌ // Method ✔️ // Round ❌

Return to Fight Card


Alexandre Pantoja vs Alex Perez

Flyweight (125)

Alexandre Pantoja (24-5)

The back control king returns to the octagon. If Pantoja has the opportunity to hit the mat, the Brazilian can neutralise opponents into a static affair. On the feet, Pantoja is a reactive counter-puncher who could punish Perez’s preference for chopping leg kicks. Add in Pantoja’s granite chin and it leaves Perez needing to push a ridiculous pace over three rounds to overcome the technical deficits.

Alex Perez (24-6)

Damn, it’s really been a two-year lay-off since Perez was iced in a round by Deiveson Figueiredo. Granted, Perez has suffered 6 cancelled bouts, but any hype from the Formiga leg kick KO has all been lost. Perez owns a fantastic top control game and a vicious low leg kicking game, but he was also humiliated by Figgy’s outrageous athletic gifts. Pantoja sits into his jab to the extent that Perez’s leg kicks could well pick apart the Brazilian by the latter rounds – but the layoff is a red flag.

Predicted Result: Pantoja Decision

If Pantoja has the opportunity to hit the mat, the Brazilian can neutralise opponents into a static affair. On the feet, Pantoja is a reactive counter-puncher who could punish Perez’s preference for chopping leg kicks. Sure, Pantoja sits into his jab, yet his durability is insane and he produces punches in bunches to bully opponents.

Result: Pantoja def. Perez // Submission (neck crank) Round 1 1:31

Winner ✔️ // Method ❌ // Round ❌

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Magomed Ankalaev vs Anthony Smith

Light Heavyweight (205)

Magomed Ankalaev (17-1)

For all my concerns with Ankalaev’s striking, he continues to add minimal layers with each fight. The jab remains key behind all of the Russian’s front-foot offence, yet there are educated layers that are intentionally built. It goes without saying at this point that Ankalaev is a monster on the mat. Smith had his teeth pummelled out by Grandad Teixeira, another disgusting GnP performance is on the cards. As Smith is unable to set a consistent pace over three rounds to wilt Ankalaev, the Russian’s weaknesses are unlikely to arise.

Anthony Smith (36-16)

I do love me a bit of gatekeeper Anthony Smith. Surprisingly well-rounded, Smith can meet fighters at their own game and only folds to the most committed opponents. Aleksandar Rakic, Glover Teixeira and Jon Jones were able to overcome initial adversity to eventually ask questions of Smith. For all the heart that Lionheart shows, he does tend to hit a point of no return when survival becomes the strategy. Ask Jimmy Crute, Ryan Spann and Volkan Oezdemir whether Smith hits ridiculously hard and can hold his own on the mat.

Predicted Result: Ankalaev Decision

For all my concerns with Ankalaev’s striking, he continues to add minimal layers with each fight. The jab remains key behind all of the Russian’s front-foot offence, yet there are educated layers that are intentionally built. Ask Jimmy Crute, Ryan Spann and Volkan Oezdemir whether Smith hits ridiculously hard and can hold his own on the mat. Still, there comes a point in an Anthony Smith fight where he adopts a strategy of survival – Ankalaev can draw that out of Lionheart.

Result: Ankalaev def. Smith // TKO (punches) Round 2 3:09

Winner ✔️ // Method ❌ // Round ❌

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UFC 277: Preliminary Card

Alex Morono vs Matt Semelsberger

Welterweight (170)

Alex Morono (21-7)

Hm. On the one hand, Morono has spent a lot of time accumulating a strong record in the dark. On the other, Morono will always be athletically capped. Ancient Donald Cerrone and David Zawada are banana skins for many at Welterweight, but Morono fought smart relentless fights. Dismantling Mickey Gall further proved Morono is a top-15 gatekeeper, yet doesn’t The Great White deserve a promotional push at this point?

Matt Semelsberger (10-3)

Semelsberger has cleaned up the bottom of the barrel at Welterweight with his plus athleticism. When facing a technical field in Morono, it’s a wonder how Semelsberger will get inside of Morono’s consistent jab. Against lesser fighters, Semelsberger’s lanky frame has an awkward uprightness that shocks opponents, but this has the makings of a technical disaster class.

Predicted Result: Morono Decision

On the one hand, Morono has spent a lot of time accumulating a strong record in the dark. On the other, Morono will always be athletically capped. Semelsberger’s lanky frame has an awkward uprightness that shocks bottom-of-the-barrel opponents. Against Morono’s consistent jab, Semelsberger will find his entries regularly snuffed. Side note – Morono is very hittable and Semelsberger is enough of a puncher to end this early, but it would be a surprise.

Result: Morono def. Semelsberger // Decision (UD – 29-28, 29-28, 30-27)

Winner ✔️ // Method ✔️ // Round ✔️

Return to Fight Card


Drew Dober vs Rafael Alves

Lightweight (155)

Drew Dober (24-11)

Stupid, sexy Drew Dober. Expectations were high for Terrance McKinney to mop the floor with Dober, yet mister concrete chin managed to overcome adversity to humble the youthful upstart. Against a similar kill-or-be-killed fighter, Dober’s durability and consistency are huge strengths to back. Dober’s pressure boxing is tailor-made to drain Alves and nullify his explosive threat, yet Dober does have a history of falling to submissions.

Rafael Alves (20-10)

Submitting Marc Diakiese seems to be paying dividends as the Brit continues to secure scalps with his controlled wrestling. The Brazilian is a ferocious power kicker who will happily meet opponents in their preferred game. While that lack of control over a fight will put bums on seats, as well as proving a natural capacity to adapt mid-fight, it will be punished nearer the top of the division.

Predicted Result: Dober Decision

Brazilian is a ferocious power kicker who will happily meet opponents in their preferred game. While that lack of control over a fight will put bums on seats, as well as proving a natural capacity to adapt mid-fight, it will be punished nearer the top of the division. Dober’s pressure boxing is tailor-made to drain Alves and nullify his explosive threat, yet Dober does have a history of falling to submissions.

Result: Dober def. Alves // TKO (body punches) Round 3 1:30

Winner ✔️ // Method ❌ // Round ❌

Return to Fight Card


Don’Tale Mayes vs Hamdy Abdelwahab

Heavyweight (265)

Don’Tale Mayes (9-4)

Nearly a year on from his third-round TKO over Josh Parisian, Don’Tale has been rewarded with a PPV slot. Heavyweight privileges, eh? Mayes is a 6’6″ specimen, yet he often falls into his punches on the feet. Without a balanced base beneath himself, Mayes negates much of his athletic edge and struggles to match moving opponents.

Hamdy Abdelwahab (3-0)

Egyptian UFC debutant, Hamdy Abdelwahab, has made his name with victories in Jorge Masvidal’s iKON FC promotion. A former Olympic wrestler, there is certainly a base that can be crafted into a top fighter – given the lack of talent at 265lbs. Mayes provides enough of a static target for Adelwahab to land his surprisingly heavy hands, yet Mayes will represent Adelwahab’s first opponent not to fold immediately.

Predicted Result: Mayes TKO Round 3

Egyptian UFC debutant, Hamdy Abdelwahab, has made his name with victories in Jorge Masvidal’s iKON FC promotion. A former Olympic wrestler, there is certainly a base that can be crafted into a top fighter – given the lack of talent at 265lbs. Mayes has proven his durability during his time at the UFC, however, and his huge 6’6″ frame provides a huge hurdle for Adelwahab to overcome.

Result: Abdelwahab def. Mayes // Decision (split – 28-29, 29-28, 29-28)

Winner ❌ // Method ❌ // Round ❌

Return to Fight Card


Drakkar Klose vs Rafa Garcia

Lightweight (155)

Drakkar Klose (12-2-1)

It was pleasing to see Klose return to the octagon with a W after Jeremy Stephens shaved a couple of years off his career. Jenkins is a regional fighter, however. Klose is tough and can neutralise opponents, yet superior athletes are capable of out-pacing the American. Klose can shut out Garcia with a three-round clinch fest against the cage.

Rafa Garcia (14-2)

For all the decisions on Garcia’s record, the Mexican always brings entertainment into the octagon. Garcia excels in the pocket, leaning into his natural toughness and eye for a counter, wading into danger to land the more meaningful work. Unless Garcia gets an early foothold, however, he does struggle to enforce himself into a fight.

Predicted Result: Klose Decision

Klose is tough and can neutralise opponents, yet superior athletes are capable of out-pacing the American. The clearest path to victory involves Klose falling back on old habits and shutting out Garcia with a three-round clinch fest against the cage. Garcia will always bring entertainment into the octagon, yet he will struggle to gain a foothold in this affair.

Result: Klose def. Garcia // Decision (UD – 29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Winner ✔️ // Method ✔️ // Round ✔️

Return to Fight Card


Michael Morales vs Adam Fugitt

Welterweight (170)

Michael Morales (13-0)

Time to get excited about Morales. I was thoroughly impressed with his first-round KO over Trevin Giles – true evidence of a freakish strength that can travel up from the regionals. This power isn’t limited to just his hands, though. Morales’ control on the mat is also a sight to behold.

Adam Fugitt (8-2)

A late notice call-up, concerning age, 33-year-old Adam Fugitt is yet another PPV debutant. Fugitt is a big, rounded Welterweight yet his squared-on striking will allow ample opportunity for Morales to seek takedowns. Fugitt is the more naturally confident striker and could deny Morales the time and space to operate on the outside.

Predicted Result: Morales TKO Round 2

Morales’ first-round KO over Trevin Giles provided true evidence that his freakish strength can travel up from the regionals. Fugitt is the more naturally confident striker and could deny Morales the time and space to operate on the outside. The debutant’s squared-on striking, however, will allow ample opportunity for Morales to seek takedowns – if the Ecuadorian’s hands haven’t made the difference already.

Result: Morales def. Fugitt // TKO (punches) Round 3 1:09

Winner ✔️ // Method ✔️ // Round ❌

Return to Fight Card


Ji Yeon Kim vs Joselyne Edwards

Women’s Flyweight (125)

Ji Yeon Kim (9-5-2)

A three-fight slide over the likes of Priscila Cachoeira, Alexa Grasso and Molly McCann. The Korean’s inability to lead a fight based on pace often sees Kim engaging on an opponent’s terms. Kim has seriously struggled to take fights to the mat over recent contests, a pathway that is crucial to the blueprint of defeating Edwards.

Joselyne Edwards (11-4)

A lengthy striker who used to time natural, reactive combinations yet now often wafts in uneducated straight shots. There remains enough variation on the feet to out-point a game Kim on the cards, but this is a stinker of an affair.

Predicted Result: Edwards Decision

Kim has seriously struggled to take fights to the mat over recent contests, a pathway that is crucial to the blueprint of defeating Edwards. Edwards has struggled to find the reactive combinations that saw her succeed in the regionals, yet her comfort on the outside should prove key.

Result: Edwards def. Kim // Decision (split – 28-29, 29-28, 30-27)

Winner ✔️ // Method ✔️ // Round ✔️

Return to Fight Card


Nick Negumereanu vs Ihor Potieria

Light Heavyweight (205)

Nick Negumereanu (12-1)

Hahaha. Battle of the padded records. Fair play to Negumereanu for picking up a three-fight streak, but damn is the competition fiercely flawed. The Romanian’s chin is pure concrete, allowing him to walk down opponents and continually push an uncomfortable pace.

Ihor Potieria (20-2)

Can crusher, Ihor Potieria is a more diverse striker and packs a decent punch but that isn’t the path to victory. The real question is whether Potieria can lead a fight for three rounds. Negumereanu will be sparked out one day, but it feels like there are still a few miles left on the clock before it happens.

Predicted Result: Negumereanu Decision

Battle of the padded records. Fair play to Negumereanu for picking up a three-fight streak, but damn is the competition fiercely flawed. The Romanian’s chin is pure concrete, allowing him to walk down opponents and continually push an uncomfortable pace. Ihor Potieria is a far more diverse striker with a decent bit of power, but the real question is whether Potieria can lead a fight for three rounds.

Result: Negumereanu def. Potieiria // TKO (punches and knees) Round 2 3:33

Winner ✔️ // Method ❌ // Round ❌

Return to Fight Card


Orion Cosce vs Blood Diamond

Welterweight (170)

Orion Cosce (7-1)

Ye olde T-Rex arms returns after a punishing debut loss to Phillip Rowe. Cosce is a powerful wrestler, yet as seen last time out, he can be coaxed into a striking affair. Hopefully, Cosce falls back into his wrestling chops and rains punishment from top control.

Blood Diamond (3-1)

The former kickboxer hasn’t had the opportunity to truly showcase his striking arsenal as a result of lacklustre TDD. It’s an area so weak that half-arsed takedowns can often find success if an opponent is willing. Strange match-making if the UFC’s intent isn’t to just chew up Blood Diamond.

Predicted Result: Cosce TKO Round 1

Cosce is a powerful wrestler, yet as seen last time out, he can be coaxed into a striking affair. Considering just how poor Diamond’s TDD is, you’d hope Cosce has the sense to fall back onto his wrestling and rain punishment from top control.

Result: Cosce def. Diamond // Decision (UD – 29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Winner ✔️ // Method ❌ // Round ❌

Return to Fight Card


Prediction Accuracy

UFC 277

Winner: 11/13

Method: 5/13

Round: 3/13

2022 MMA Season

Winner: 204/315

Method: 152/315

Round: 131/315

MMA Overall

Winner: 700/1107

Method: 474/1107

Round: 455/1107

Takeaway comments: Moreno just forced our first ever UFC tetralogy.


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