UFC 277 Predictions – Julianna Pena vs. Amanda Nunes 2: Fight Card, Odds, Prelims, Expert Picks
On Saturday night, Julianna Pena gets the chance to prove that lightning can strike twice when she defends her Women’s Bantamweight Championship against Amanda Nunes in the main event of.
Pena shocked the MMA world at UFC 269, submitting Nunes to win the championship. Prior to the loss, Nunes had established herself as the greatest fighter in the history of the sport, winning both the bantamweight and featherweight titles and crossing every woman to hold either of those championships. Despite coming into the fight with a 2-2 record in her previous four bouts, Pena was able to end Nunes’ run.
A second title fight takes place in the co-main event, this one of the interim variety. Former flyweight champion Brandon Moreno is set to face Kai Kara-France for interim gold at 125 pounds. Moreno is coming off a three-fight streak with current titleholder Deiveson Figueiredo, where he lost the belt in the last encounter. But due to an injury to the Brazilian champion, a provisional bracelet has been put into play for this meeting. Kara-France arrives on a streak of three consecutive victories.
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The undercard also includes heavy hitters in the biggest weight classes. Texas native and former title challenger Derrick Lewis is back when he welcomes the latest rising heavyweight contender in Sergei Pavlovich. Plus, another former title challenger is set for his return when light heavyweight Anthony Smith takes on rising contender Magomed Ankalaev in what could determine the next 205-pound title challenger.
With so much going on Saturday night, let’s take a closer look at the full fight card with the latest odds from Caesars Sportsbook before we get to our staff’s predictions and picks for the PPV portion of the festivities.
UFC 277 fight card, odds
Odds via Caesars Sportsbook
- Amanda Nunes -270 vs. Julianna Pena (c) +220, Women’s Bantamweight Championship
- Brandon Moreno -210 vs. Kai Kara-France +175, interim flyweight championship
- Sergei Pavlovich -140 vs. Derrick Lewis +120, heavyweight
- Alexandre Pantoja -200 vs. Alex Perez +170, flyweight
- Magomed Ankalaev -550 vs. Anthony Smith +400, light heavyweight
- Matthew Semelsberger -155 vs. Alex Morono +130, welterweight
- Drew Dober -170 vs. Rafael Alves +145, lightweight
- Don’Tale Mayes -180 vs. Hamdy Abdelwahab +155, heavyweight
- Drakkar Klose -220 vs. Rafa Garcia +180, lightweights
- Michael Morales -650 vs. Adam Fugitt +475, welterweight
- Joselyne Edwards -125 vs. Ji Yeon Kim +105, women’s flyweight
- Nicolae Negumereanu -115 vs Ihor Potieria -105, light heavyweight
- Orion Cosce -180 vs. Blood Diamond +155, welterweight
With such a massive main event, the CBS Sports team went ahead with predictions and picks for the main card. Here are your selectors: Brent Brookhouse (combat sports writer), Brian Campbell (combat sports writer, “Morning Kombat” co-host), Shakiel Mahjouri (writer), Michael Mormile (producer) and Brandon Wise (content writer). chief).
UFC 277 Picks, Predictions
|Pena (c) vs. Nunes||Nunes||Nunes||Nunes||Nunes||Nunes|
|Moreno vs. Kara-France||Kara-France||Moreno||Moreno||Moreno||Moreno|
|Lewis vs. Pavlovich||lewis||lewis||lewis||lewis||Pavlovich|
|Pantoja vs. Perez||Pantoja||Perez||Pantoja||Pantoja||Pantoja|
|Smith vs. Ankalaev||Ankalaev||Ankalaev||Ankalaev||Ankalaev||Ankalaev|
|Records to date (2022)||16-17||19-14||16-17||17-16||22-11|
Pena vs. Nunes
Campbell: Is it fair to suggest that their first encounter at UFC 269 saw Pena deliver the greatest performance of his career while Nunes arguably gave his worst? In the end, it’s fair, even if it seems to undermine everything Pena did well that night to shock the world. We now know Pena’s stubborn tenacity and willingness to stay poised in extreme scenarios, which turned out to be a big part of how she won, as well as how she gassed Nunes on the pitch. . It’s hard to imagine the same scenario happening again, with lightning striking the same spot a second time. Nunes is still known as the goat of women’s MMA because of how she became a dangerous and nearly complete fighter thanks to an incredible 12-fight winning streak. Nunes will have to fight more from a distance and kept her balance in a way she couldn’t the first time around. One only has to look back at her five round victory over Valentina Shevchenko in their rematch to be reminded of what a chess player Nunes can be. If “The Lioness” can keep the fight from turning into chaos and keep it off the ground for large sections, she has the potential to win by walking away. But she has to bring Pena to her and make her pay for crossing the line.
Stream: Combat sports history is littered with great athletes meeting specific fighters who turn out to be their kryptonite, even if it just didn’t seem logical on paper. Vernon Forrest had Shane Mosley’s number even though Mosley was the best fighter historically. Likewise, Forrest lost to Ricardo Mayorga twice despite all the reasons suggesting Forrest should have won both fights. Is this the case of Pena and Nunes? It could be that Pena’s tenacity and ability to gas Nunes in the first fight indicates that Pena only has Nunes number. That said, it’s hard to side with the greatest fighter in women’s MMA history now that she’s had time to take in the information, train and adapt. Pena deserves all the credit for the win and all the respect for the rematch, but repeating is a big ask.
Mahjouri: Nunes vs. Pena was an unusually messy brawl for Nunes. Pena delivered a winning game plan and the champ deserves a ton of credit. Pena pressured Nunes and won a War of Attrition. Pena presented the winning game plan on Dec. 11, but I’m still not convinced she’s the more skilled fighter. Respect the name of the champion but expect a more thoughtful approach from the challenger. Nunes by decision.
Moreno vs. Kara-France
Campbell: If his last three fights are any indication, Kara-France is a much more confident, dangerous and evolved threat than the version of him who lost a unanimous decision to Moreno in 2019. The New Zealand native has become more of a threat to finish lately, and that’s exactly what he did against Rogerio Boterin and Cody Garbrandt. But his decisive victory over Askar Askarov, which pushed Moreno to the limit in their draw three years ago, showed the full level of his maturity. Expect it to be a high-speed duel with Moreno looking to bounce back in a huge way after dropping the title to Deiveson Figueiredo in their third encounter. But Kara-France is just riding the kind of momentum that’s hard to cap. Kara-France will have to be precise about his combinations when he chooses to take risks, but the potential to force Moreno to guess and chase him is there.
Stream: This is a very difficult fight to call. Kara-France is an outstanding fighter who has gotten better performance after performance. It’s hard to ignore that Moreno largely did the same. He had three straight fights with Deiveson Figueiredo giving just as good as he got and arguably deserving the win in all three outings. Moreno’s pace and combination of crisp strikes and offensive grappling makes him such a dangerous fighter that he has the edge going into what should be an incredible fight.
Lewis vs. Pavlovich
Campbell: For as implosive as his recent knockout losses to Cyril Gane and Tai Tuivasa seemed to be, Lewis is too crafty to count just yet, especially against this level of competition. If Pavlovich, the slight betting favorite who has won three straight since being stopped by Alistair Overeem, is on his way to becoming one of the division’s elite, history will tell you that he will likely beat Lewis. But that’s still a huge if and Lewis’ power alone leaves him like the wrong guy to make a huge mistake against trying to make that leap. Lewis has rebounded tremendously from one-sided defeats in the past, including the whitewashing Daniel Cormier inflicted on him in their title fight in 2018. At 37, Lewis still has enough teeth left to survive and move on to the next big test.
Mahjouri: Lewis isn’t the most reliable pick on the planet, but he generally performs well against all but the best. “The Black Beast” got the better of Tai Tuivasa before suffering a second-round stoppage loss. Pavlovich was nearly flawless in the Octagon, but first-round knockouts of Shamil Abdurakhimov, Maurice Greene and Marcelo Golm didn’t hold up well to a first-round loss to Alistair Overeem. Lewis is more experienced and probably more powerful. Expect another classic winning speech after the fight.
Ankalayev vs. Smith
Wise: The line on this fight is far. Smith gets disrespectful for a former title challenger with three straight TKO wins. At this price, Smith moneyline is easily the smartest play in what should be considered a coin toss fight. Ankalaev can be explosive at times, but when presented with an equally strong fighter in Thiago Santos, he took a slower approach and won a decision. I would expect it to play out the same way where judgment could come into play and some criteria could swing in Smith’s favor. I expect Ankalaev to take the win, but it’s certainly not as safe a bet as these odds suggest.
Who wins UFC 277: Peña vs. Nunes 2? And what other choices do you need to see? Visit SportsLine now for detailed top picks on UFC Fight Nightall from the insider who has earned over $10,000 on MMA picks in the past two years, and find out.