UFC 277: Pena vs. Nunes 2 Odds, Predictions and Pre-Weigh-In Hype
Amanda Nunes will get a shot at redemption against Julianna Pena in the main event of UFC 277 from Dallas.
The first time the two met, Pena pulled off one of the biggest upsets in the history of the sport. The Venezuelan Vixen had the Lioness' number—she stood and exchanged with the champ before ultimately tapping her out in the second round.
It was a tremendous display of confidence and skill from the new champion. It was also an uncharacteristically flat performance from Nunes, who is one of the most accomplished fighters in the sport.
The high-profile rematch will be joined by an interim title fight in the co-main event slot. Brandon Moreno will fight Kai Kara-France with the temporary flyweight title on the line.
Here's what the whole card looks like and some of the latest buzz before weigh-ins.
Fight Card, Schedule and Odds
Main Card (10 PM ET, ESPN+ PPV)
Julianna Pena (+230) vs. Amanda Nunes (-275)
Brandon Moreno (-210) vs. Kai Kara France (+180)
Derrick Lewis (+120) vs. Sergei Pavlovich (-140)
Alexandre Pantoja (-190) vs. Alex Perez (+160)
Anthony Smith (+410) vs. Magomed Ankalaev (-520)
Preliminary Card (8 PM ET, ABC/ESPN/ESPN+)
Alex Morono (+135) vs. Matthew Semelsberger (-155)
Drew Dober (-190) vs. Rafael Alves (+160)
Don’Tale Mayes (-190) vs. Hamdy Abdelwahab (+160)
Drakkar Klose (-205) vs. Rafa Garcia (+175)
Early Preliminary Card (6 PM ET, ESPN+)
Michael Morales (-560) vs. Adam Fugitt (+430)
Joselyne Edwards (-125) vs. Ji Yeon Kim (+105)
Nicolae Negumereanu (-115) vs. Ihor Potieria (-105)
Orion Cosce (-190) vs. Mike Diamond (+160)
Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook
Pena Still Has Plenty of Confidence
Julianna Pena's self-belief is something that stood out the last time these two met up. When it comes to a champion like Nunes, it's not uncommon for opponents to be beat before they even step in the cage.
Nunes' power is the best the division has seen, and not many can survive a brawl with her.
The difference for Pena was that she not only survived, she embraced it. It's something she plans on being a factor again.
"I am the wall Amanda bashes up against when she realizes that she can’t put me out with just one shot. I think that that’s the main difference," the new champion told Kevin Iole of Yahoo Sports.
Pena's toughness and willingness to hang in the pocket is what gave her the opportunity to take Nunes down in the first fight. It also dragged Nunes into a fight that didn't favor her style.
The odds are once again stacked against Pena according to oddsmakers. However, we've seen her defy those odds once, and she may just have Nunes figured out.
Prediction: Pena via third-round TKO
Moreno Looking for Violent Finish Against Kara France
Julianna Pena and Amanda Nunes aren't the only high-profile fighters with history on the card. The co-main event is a rematch, too, albeit one with a little less notoriety.
Brandon Moreno took a unanimous-decision win over Kai Kara France back in late 2019 when both were just making their way up the rankings.
Both have shown progress since then.
Moreno has been busy battling it out with Deiveson Figueiredo in a trilogy that was entertaining and saw Moreno win, and lose, the belt.
With a win over Kara France, the former champion could jump right back to the front of the line with a chance to unify the belts. But there's an element of personal improvement that the 28-year-old is focusing on.
“This is a good measurement to see how much I’ve improved and evolved in my game,” Moreno said, per Danny Segura of MMA Junkie. “The last fight was a decision, but I have the objective to get a finish in this second one. I don’t know how or what round, but I know I have the ability to stop him."
The difference could come in the grappling. Moreno excels at dominating opponents on the ground and locking up submissions, and Kara France's most recent loss was to Brandon Royval by guillotine.
Prediction: Moreno via second-round submission
Lewis Unfamiliar with Pavlovich
Derrick Lewis is one of the most fun fighters on the mic, but it's rarely personal.
That trend has continued with his main-card matchup against Sergei Pavlovich. Lewis claims to know nothing about the man he'll be trying to knock out on Saturday night.
“I ain’t know who he was (when the fight was offered). I still don’t know who he is,” Lewis told reporters at a press conference. “It really don’t matter. I’ve fought everyone. I fought guys that should be champions, and I fought guys that should be a reporter for MMA Junkie."
With Lewis, it's never easy to tell how much of what he says is true or what's for comedic effect.
It wouldn't be all that surprising if Lewis doesn't do much film work on his opponents. His approach to the fight is always similar. He loves to swing for the fences and see if he can end the fight early.
If he doesn't get an early finish, he could be in for some trouble. Pavlovich has showcased some knockout power of his own, and he has a wrestling background that we haven't seen in the Octagon to this point.
The 30-year-old could make a big statement, and he just might have the tools to do it.
Prediction: Pavlovich via second-round TKO
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