Tag Archives: UFC 277

UFC 277: Pena vs Nunes 2 – Main card predictions

The most anticipated women’s MMA rematch of all time as Julianna Pena defends her bantamweight title for the first time against Amanda Nunes at UFC 277 in the main event.

Pena completed one of the biggest upsets in the history of the sport last time out, and now she looks to prove it wasn’t a fluke by beating her again.

In the co-main event we also have an interim flyweight title fight as former champion Brandon Moreno takes on Kai Kara-France in a rematch of their own, with the winner setting themselves up to take on injured champion Deiveson Figueiredo once he’s healthy.

Last time out at UFC London we had great fun live at the event, and we had a decent night with our picks too. We went 9/14 with five perfect picks to move to 673/1046 (64.34%) with 289 perfect picks (42.94%). You can check out our full picks history here.

We’ll look to improve on that record here and after starting with the early prelims and then moving on to the rest of the prelims, here are the main card picks.


Magomed Ankalaev (17-1) vs Anthony Smith (36-16) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)

An absolute banger in the light heavyweight division opens up the main card in this one. Ankalaev is one a mission to the title, and is on an 8-fight win streak currently with a win over Thiago Santos last time out in an underwhelming main event. Smith on the other hand is on a three-fight win streak after stopping Devin Clark, Jimmy Crute (UFC 261) and Ryan Spann in his last bout.

Ankalaev is an absolute demon wherever the fight goes, with brilliant striking and kickboxing to go with his one-punch power and dominant wrestling skills. Smith is a former golden gloves boxing champion who also has great kicks and is a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Stylistically this is a really fun fight, but Ankalaev just seems to have an edge wherever this fight goes.

On the feet his slow pacing usually means he is able to pick and choose when to hurt his opponent, while his explosive and masterful wrestling means Ankalaev always has another option if his striking isn’t working. His top game is solid too, which should be enough to neutralise Smith’s jiu-jitsu if it gets there. With that said, I expect the fight to stay standing and while Smith will come forward plenty Ankalaev should be able to pick him off and claim a win on the scorecards.
PICK – Magomed Ankalaev via Decision

Alexandre Pantoja (24-5) vs Alex Perez (24-6) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

An amazing flyweight fight next between two guys who could easily be in the title fight happening later in the night. Pantoja has won his last two with a decision over Manel Kape at UFC Vegas 18 before a submission win against Brandon Royval last time out. Perez hasn’t fought since UFC 255 where he was stopped by Deiveson Figueiredo in the first-round of his flyweight title shot.

Pantoja is a brilliant striker on the feet who uses great counters and excellent low kicks, while also having brilliant grappling skills on the mat too. Perez on the other hand is a very impressive grappler with fantastic cardio and submission skills, earning seven wins via tap out in his career. The issue here is he’s matched in that department by Pantoja, and he’s more than bettered on the feet.

“The Cannibal” will stay patient and his lack of output could be a problem in the early rounds on the feet, but he will be confident of being able to land bigger and better in the striking while also holding his own in the grappling. It’ll be a fast-paced, fun fight and I expect Pantoja to claim the victory on the judges’ scorecards.
PICK – Alexandre Pantoja via Decision

Derrick Lewis (26-9) vs Sergei Pavlovich (15-1) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)

Big boys take centre stage once again in this heavyweight banger. Derrick Lewis has gone 2-2 in his last four, earning KO wins over Curtis Blaydes (UFC Vegas 19) and Chris Daukaus (UFC Vegas 45) and losing to Ciryl Gane (UFC 265) and Tai Tuivasa (UFC 271) most recently. Pavlovich has won his last three all via first-round knockout, beating Marcelo Golm, Maurice Greene and Shamil Abdurakhimov.

Lewis is your traditional heavyweight who has limited skills but incredible power, with the most knockout wins in UFC history. His takedown defence has improved but on his back he relies on explosiveness rather technique to get back up. Pavlovich is a savage with great knockout power too, earning 12 KO wins from 15 career victories. Power for power Lewis will win, but Pavlovich has more than just power.

The Russian has got solid kicks, is a decent wrestler and also has power in the hands. Pavlovich has got a reach advantage and Lewis hasn’t looked himself in recent fights, looking unmotivated and less powerful (?). That said, he’s easily the best fighter Pavlovich has ever fought. This is a fight he should win, but don’t be surprised if he gets put down again.
PICK – Derrick Lewis via Knockout, Round 2



Brandon Moreno (19-6-2) vs Kai Kara-France (24-9) – (Flyweight/125lbs)

An interim title fight in the flyweight division up next in a rematch from 2019. Moreno is 1-1-1 in his last three all against Deiveson Figueiredo at UFC 256, UFC 263 and UFC 270 where he won the title then lost it again. Kara-France has been on a tear winning three in a row, KO’ing Rogerio Bontorin (UFC 259) and Cody Garbrandt (UFC 269) and then earning a decision over Askar Askarov back in March.

Moreno is a superbly well-rounded fighter, with much improved striking and an elite grappling game on the ground where he also has brilliant scrambles to get back up to the feet when he gets taken down. Kara-France is a striker with great power in his hands, but he proved against Askarov that he’s got excellent wrestling defence and good grappling skills too. This is a super fun match up stylistically but I would be quite surprised to see Kara-France come out on top, especially after the way their first fight went.

Moreno controlled him the first time around and his grappling is still just as good, but his striking is much improved in that time. Kara-France has also improved since that first fight but the level of competition and lack of five-round experience goes against him in comparison to Moreno. The Mexican is one of the most durable fighters in flyweight history and his grappling game is a huge advantage in this fight. It will be 25 minutes of hell and excitement, but Moreno gets the belt at the end of it.
PICK – Brandon Moreno via Decision

Julianna Pena (12-4) vs Amanda Nunes (21-5) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

We’re running it back this weekend after the biggest upset in the history of the sport last time. Pena made it two wins in a row at UFC 269 when she submitted Nunes in the second-round to win the belt, ending the “Lioness”‘s 12-fight win streak.

Nunes is the best ever for a reason. She has abnormal punching power on the feet, is a tremendous boxer with great combinations and has the ability to wrestle and submit opponents with a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt to her name too. Pena on the other hand is a jiu-jitsu fighter with good wrestling herself and she looks to secure top position and work from there. What she showed in the first fight though was a willingness to get in Nunes’ face to wear her out.

Pena will likely try to do the same again. She’ll use that jab effectively before looking to secure a takedown, but Nunes will be more patient. She won the first round comfortably before getting carried away in the second and chasing the finish. I doubt she does that again and eventually the leg kicks and power punches will add up and the GOAT will reclaim her throne with a finish to set up a trilogy.
PICK – Amanda Nunes via Knockout, Round 3

UFC 277: Pena vs Nunes 2 – Prelims predictions

The most anticipated women’s MMA rematch of all time as Julianna Pena defends her bantamweight title for the first time against Amanda Nunes at UFC 277 in the main event.

Pena completed one of the biggest upsets in the history of the sport last time out, and now she looks to prove it wasn’t a fluke by beating her again.

In the co-main event we also have an interim flyweight title fight as former champion Brandon Moreno takes on Kai Kara-France in a rematch of their own, with the winner setting themselves up to take on injured champion Deiveson Figueiredo once he’s healthy.

Last time out at UFC London we had great fun live at the event, and we had a decent night with our picks too. We went 9/14 with five perfect picks to move to 673/1046 (64.34%) with 289 perfect picks (42.94%). You can check out our full picks history here.

We’ll look to improve on that record here and after starting with the early prelims, we move on to the rest of the prelims.


Drakkar Klose (12-2) vs Rafa Garcia (14-2) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

One of the best fights on the card is buried in the prelims here with this one. Klose finally returned after a two-year absence to defeat Brandon Jenkins in his last bout, while Garcia comes into this on a two-fight win streak beating Natan Levy and Jesse Ronson in his last two.

Klose is a solid striker with great power and good wrestling skills, but defensively he is known to be caused trouble by active grapplers. Garcia is exactly that, with good takedowns and jiu-jitsu but he’s also talented on the feet too and can hold his own in that field. Klose was supposed to be fighting Diego Ferreira in this one, and that probably bodes well for him.

Garcia is an excellent fighter with legit skills, but Ferreira does everything he does better. Klose will know that and will have been preparing for that type of fight, so he will find confidence in that. He’s got the power to earn a KO, but more likely is that he defends the takedowns and just picks Garcia off on the feet from range to earn a win on the scorecards.
PICK – Drakkar Klose via Decision

Don’Tale Mayes (9-4) vs Hamdy Abdelwahab (5-0) – (Heavyweight/220-265lbs)

Big boys take the stage next in this short-notice heavyweight scrap. Mayes has won his last two earning a decision over Roque Martinez before KO’ing Josh Parisian last time out. Abdelwahab makes his UFC debut as an unbeaten prospect, with all four of his knockout wins coming in 33 seconds or less.

Mayes stands at 6ft 6 and has got solid striking power in his hands, with good leg kicks and decent wrestling. Abdelwahab is a super powerful puncher, but his background comes in wrestling where he competed in the Olympics for Egypt back in 2016. Despite that though, his top game is relatively weak in comparison and his striking is super limited outside of power. Mayes has plenty of experience and should look to use that.

He must avoid the early power strikes, before Abdelwahab looks to start wrestling. If he does get taken down, he needs to find a way to be able to get back up quickly because once we get into the latter rounds he’ll start fading. Mayes should be able to use his more varied game and experience to claim a late win, but his reaction to being taken down is entirely important. Ultimately though, experience gets him the win.
PICK – Don’Tale Mayes via Decision



Drew Dober (24-11) vs Rafael Alves (20-10) – (Lightweight/155lbs)

Another super fun lightweight scrap up next between two guys sitting outside of the rankings. Dober bounced back from two straight losses with a big KO win over Terrence McKinney last time out, while Alves has won six of his last seven including a first-round submission win over Mark Diakiese at UFC Vegas 42 last time out.

Dober is a brilliantly technical striker with good wrestling skills and superman-like durability. Alves meanwhile is a wild man, with great striking power and unbelievable submission skills but the inbetweens are few and far between. His striking techniques aren’t great despite the power, and his wrestling game is severely lacking to bring his submissions into play. With that said though, he only needs one error to be able to capitalise and end the fight in an instant.

Unfortunately for him though, Dober is good enough to be able to not make those errors. On the feet he is far more technical and he also has decent power himself, while his wrestling is more than good enough to keep the fight standing. Alves must hope for an error to jump on, but I don’t think it comes and Dober could land enough strikes in those exchanges to earn a finish somewhere in the middle round.
PICK – Drew Dober via Knockout, Round 2

Alex Morono (21-7) vs Matthew Semelsberger (10-3) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

Two powerhouses at 170-pounds get the featured prelim slot for this card. Morono has won three in a row, KO’ing Donald Cerrone at UFC Vegas 10, before decisions over David Zawada and Mickey Gall most recently. Semelsberger has won his last two, sleeping Martin Sano at UFC 266 in 15 seconds before a decision win over AJ Fletcher most recently.

Morono is an interesting fighter with great power in his hands and excellent jiu-jitsu skills, but it all gets bundled together wildly rather than technically. Semelsberger meanwhile is a terrific boxer with plenty of power, while his defensive wrestling skills have been proven in his recent fights. Both guys love a war and both guys will feel they can put the other out with one punch, so it should be entertaining for as long as it lasts.

But with that said, Semelsberger has a much clearer path to victory. He’s the more powerful of the two and his more technical striking should allow him to come out on top in those exchanges. Add his defensive wrestling meaning Morono will struggle to get his grappling into play, and I expect Semelsberger to be able to counter one of Morono’s wild swings to crack him clean and put this one to an end early.
PICK – Matthew Semelsberger via Knockout, Round 1

UFC 277: Pena vs Nunes 2 – Early prelims predictions

The most anticipated women’s MMA rematch of all time as Julianna Pena defends her bantamweight title for the first time against Amanda Nunes at UFC 277 in the main event.

Pena completed one of the biggest upsets in the history of the sport last time out, and now she looks to prove it wasn’t a fluke by beating her again.

In the co-main event we also have an interim flyweight title fight as former champion Brandon Moreno takes on Kai Kara-France in a rematch of their own, with the winner setting themselves up to take on injured champion Deiveson Figueiredo once he’s healthy.

Last time out at UFC London we had great fun live at the event, and we had a decent night with our picks too. We went 9/14 with five perfect picks to move to 673/1046 (64.34%) with 289 perfect picks (42.94%). You can check out our full picks history here.

We’ll look to improve on that record here, starting with the early prelims.


Orion Cosce (7-1) vs Blood Diamond (3-1) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

Fun welterweight scrap to open up the card in this one. Cosce came into the UFC as an undefeated fighter after a win on Dana White’s Contender Series, but was KO’d by Phil Hawes in his debut in July 2021. Blood Diamond came into the UFC highly rated for his kickboxing career, but his debut didn’t go to plan when he got choked out by Jeremiah Wells at UFC 271.

Cosce is a solid striker who has great wrestling to back him up with relentless pressure and good cardio, although his submission skills aren’t the greatest. Diamond on the other hand is as pure a kickboxer as they come, with brilliant kicking technique and great power. But as a result of that, his ground game needs a lot of work and leaves him open to issues. Cosce will have watched Wells’ performance and know he can do the same thing.

Diamond’s kicking game will likely be neutralised by the takedown threat, and while he does have the advantage in the striking game by a distance Cosce will close the distance and shoot. If he gets him down then Diamond will struggle to get back to the feet, and expect Cosce to work for a choke or just bulldoze him into oblivion from top position until the referee steps in.
PICK – Orion Cosce via Knockout, Round 2

Nicolae Negumereanu (12-1) vs Ihor Potieria (19-2) – (Light Heavyweight/205lbs)

A banger at light heavyweight next between two guys on great runs. Negumereanu has won his last three in a row, KO’ing Ike Villanueva in the middle of two split decision wins over Aleksa Camur and Kennedy Nzechukwu. Potieria is on a 15-fight win streak stretching back to 2017 and gets his UFC shot after a win on Dana White’s Contender Series via a first-round knockout.

Negumereanu is a bit of a loose cannon, with big haymakers for strikes and decent wrestling and grappling too. Potieria is a complete wrecking machine who marches forward and looks to blast his opponents out of the cage, but he also has six submission wins in his career to show he’s skilled on the ground too. This is an interesting fight to try and predict.

On paper you’d go for the debutant. His record is excellent, he’s got power and grappling and he’s bigger. But his level of competition hasn’t been that great. Negumereanu on the other hand could easily have lost the two fights he won by decision in his last three. But stylistically this could suit Negumereanu. The wild exchanges will allow Negumereanu to step in for takedowns and even if he can’t get them, he can control Potieria against the cage. A KO could obviously occur at any moment, but I think Negumereanu’s experience and patience pays off here.
PICK – Nicolae Negumereanu via Decision



Joselyne Edwards (11-4) vs Ji Yeon Kim (9-5-2) – (Bantamweight/135lbs)

Fun women’s bantamweight scrap up next. Edwards snapped a two-fight losing streak last time out when she earned a decision win over Ramona Pasqual at UFC 275. Kim on the other hand is on a three-fight losing streak and has lost four of her last five, dropping decisions to Alexa Grasso, Molly McCann and Priscila Cachoeira.

Both of these women are volume strikers who can also hold their own on the ground if necessary, and usually make fights much harder than they actually need to. Kim has got a little bit more power in her hands and has held her own against top strikers before, but Edwards has got better movement and better technique.

It’s a case of who catches the judges’ eye more with strikes and with this fight being at bantamweight the bigger Edwards is likely to do that more regularly. Edwards will walk forward constantly, kick well and land good combinations to get the nod on the scorecards and likely end Kim’s UFC career for the time being.
PICK – Joselyne Edwards via Decision

Michael Morales (13-0) vs Adam Fugitt (8-2) – (Welterweight/170lbs)

Very one-sided scrap ends this portion of the card in what looks like a set up fight for the UFC. Morales is an undefeated 13-0 and KO’d Trevin Giles in his UFC debut at UFC 270 last time out, while Fugitt is on a four-fight win streak with all finishes and makes his UFC debut in this bout.

Morales is a super talented wrestler with incredible striking and power in his hands, earning 10 knockout wins in his career. Fugitt is a great wrestler whose biggest strength is his top control and ground and pound, but he’s not as good a wrestler as Morales and that means he needs to win this fight on the feet. The chances of that are about as high as Julianna Pena beating Amanda Nunes in the first fight between the two.

Fugitt has defensive lapses on the feet and has a tendency to shoot in with his chin high, which will leave a clean target for Morales to cave in. He’s got great speed and counters, and won’t be afraid of the takedowns because he’s comfortable there too. Expect a quick, statement finish from the undefeated prospect.
PICK – Michael Morales via Knockout, Round 1