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UFC 277 Tips & Preview – Peña V Nunes 2

Check out UFC 277 tips and previews for all five main card fights in New York, including the main event rematch between women’s stars Juiliana Peña and Amanda Nunes.

UFC 277 Tips – Juiliana Peña V Amanda Nunes

13:20 (AEST), Sun 31st Jul @ American Airlines Center, Dallas

Career records: 

  • Peña – 11-4 (3 by KO/TKO)
  • Nunes – 21-5 (13 by KO/TKO)

Last bouts: 

  • Peña def Amanda Nunes – Rd 2 submission – UFC 269, December 2021
  • Amanda Nunes def by Juliana Peña – Rd 2 submission – UFC 269, December 2021

Analysis: Amanda Nunes is a hot favourite to reclaim the UFC Women’s Bantamweight Championship she lost to Juiliana Peña in December. The shock defeat via Round 2 submission snapped ‘Lioness’’ 12-fight winning streak, during which time she defended the Bantamweight Championship five times and the Featherweight Championship (which she still currently holds) twice.

Peña had lost two of her previous four bouts – both by submission – before getting the title fight against Nunes and producing the performance of her career. Nunes had obliterated all comers – big names such as Rousey, Cyborg, Holm and Shevchenko (twice) – in her six-year domination of two divisions.

Nunes seemed in control early on last time out against Peña but panicked when the challenger fought back, making errors not seen since her very early days in the octagon.

‘The Venezuelan Vixen’ fully deserved her monumental upset – but is she capable of doing it again? The defeat has stoked up the incomparable Nunes’ competitive fire and there will be no signs of complacency, or the impatience and lack of composure that brought her undone last time.

Tip: Method of Victory – Nunes by KO/TKO @ $2.25

UFC 277 Tips – Brandon Moreno V Kai Kara-France

13:00 (AEST), Sun 31st Jul @ American Airlines Center, Dallas

Career records: 

  • Moreno – 19-6 (3 by KO/TKO)
  • Kara-France – 24-9 (11 by KO/TKO)

Last bouts: 

  • Moreno def by Deiveson Figueiredo – Unanimous decision – UFC 270, January 2022
  • Kara-France def Askar Askarov – Unanimous decision – UFC on ESPN, March 2022

Analysis: The second edition of these fighters’ rivalry is for the interim UFC Flyweight Championship. Moreno claimed a unanimous decision over Kara-France when the pair met at UFC 245 in late-2019. It’s been an eventful few years since for both.

Moreno is coming off an epic trilogy against Deiveson Figueiredo. The first bout for the UFC Flyweight Championship ended in a draw, before Moreno claimed the belt with a third-round submission victory (his 11th from 19 career victories) in June last year. But he surrendered the title in January when Figeuiredo earned a unanimous decision.

Kiwi Kara-France has been building nicely over the past 18 months. He has won his last three fights against Rogerio Bontorin (Rd 1 KO), Cody Garbrandt (Rd 1 TKO) – both of which received Performance of the Night recognition – and a unanimous decision over Askar Askarov in March. ‘Don’t Blink’s’ takedown defence has improved markedly and he presents a much bigger challenge for Moreno than last time out.

Moreno will be desperate to be the interim title-holder when Figeuiredo returns to action. For Kara-France, this is the biggest opportunity of his career to date. Moreno has never been knocked out, while his grappling ability will be difficult to overcome – but expect this one to go the distance.

Tip: Method of Victory – Moreno by Points @ $2.45

UFC 277 Tips – Derrick Lewis V Sergei Pavlovich

12:40 (AEST), Sun 31st Jul @ American Airlines Center, Dallas

Career records:

  • Lewis – 26-9 (21 by KO/TKO)
  • Pavlovich – 15-1 (12 by KO/TKO)

Last bouts:

  • Lewis def by Tai Tuivasa – Rd 2 KO – UFC 271, February 2022
  • Pavlovich def Shamil Abdurakhimov – Rd 1 TKO – UFC Fight Night, March 2022

Analysis: Eight-year UFC veteran Lewis, at 37 years of age, takes on rising heavyweight contender Pavlovich, who lines up for just his fifth fight under the banner.

Lewis broke the UFC record for most knockout wins (13) in December when he stopped Chris Daukaus in the first round. But he suffered a second-round KO defeat to Tai Tuivasa at UFC 271 in February. This is fifth-ranked Lewis’ fifth bout in less than 18 months.

Pavlovich, 30, has climbed to 11th in the heavyweight rankings. The Russian ended a two and a half year octagon hiatus in March with a first-round TKO defeat of Shamil Abdurakhimov.

Texas’ own Lewis, dubbed ‘The Black Beast’, still boasts a reputation as the biggest power puncher in the big boy division. There’s no doubt Lewis has more at stake – he’s coming off a loss and doesn’t have time on his side if he wants another crack at the title. Pavlovich has been impressive but hasn’t fought heavyweights of Lewis’ calibre and is consequently hard to get behind as a favourite.

Tip: Result – Lewis @ $2.12

UFC 268 Tips – Alexandre Pantoja V Alex Perez

12:20 (AEST), Sun 31st Jul @ American Airlines Center, Dallas

Career records: 

  • Pantoja – 24-5 (8 by KO/TKO)
  • Perez – 24-6 (5 by KO/TKO)

Last bouts: 

  • Pantoja def Brandon Royval – Rd 2 submission – UFC on ESPN, August 2021
  • Perez def by Deiveson Figueiredo – Rd 1 submission – UFC 255, November 2020

Analysis: Before the interim UFC Flyweight Championship goes on the line between Moreno and Kara-France, Pontoja and Perez will jostle for position in the division’s rankings.

Fourth-ranked Pantoja emerged from a couple of decision losses to division big dogs Deiveson Figueiredo and Askar Askarov in 2019-20 with victories over Manel Kape and Brandon Royval. The latter – via a second-round submission, the ninth among his 24 career wins – received the Performance of the Night nod.

Sixth-ranked Perez’s last fight was against Figueiredo for the Flyweight Championship in November 2020. It last less than two minutes, submitting to a guillotine choke. Perez won 11 of his previous 12 fights, but has spent a long time away from the octagon. He’s had two fights against Matt Schnell cancelled in the past year because he missed weight.

It shapes as a high-action bout, but Pantoja’s penchant for a submission hold – and Perez’s susceptibility to them (three of his last four losses were by submission) – is a key factor to watch out for here. As is Perez’s ring rust. Pantoja to take this one out.

Tip: Method of Victory – Pantoja by Submission @ $5.20

UFC 268 Tips – Magomed Ankalaev V Anthony Smith

12:00 (AEST), Sun 31st Jul @ American Airlines Center, Dallas

Career records: 

  • Ankalaev – 17-1 (9 by KO/TKO)
  • Smith – 36-16 (20 by KO/TKO)

Last bouts: 

  • Ankalaev def Thiago Santos – Unanimous Decision – UFC Fight Night, March 2022
  • Smith def Ryan Spann – Rd 1 submission – UFC Fight Night, September 2021

Analysis: Ankalaev and Smith are the fourth- and fifth-ranked light heavyweight contenders in the UFC, respectively. The winner here will take a big step towards a potential title fight opportunity.

Ankalaev, boasting a 17-1 career record with nine knockouts, is the overwhelming favourite. After losing his first bout under the UFC banner in 2018, the 30-year-old Russian has gone on an eight-bout winning streak. In the past 18 months he’s chalked up three straight unanimous decisions against top-15 ranked trio Nikita Kyrlov, Volkan Oezdemir and Thiago Santos.

The 34-year-old MMA stalwart Smith lost to Jon Jones (decision) when he fought for the UFC Light Heavyweight belt in 2019. After a few tough subsequent results, he’s bounced back in the past couple of years with three consecutive wins – including submission victories over Devin Clark and Ryan Spann that earned Performance of the Night honours.

Smith’s 36 wins consists of 14 by submission and 20 by KO/TKO; he’s only gone the distance five times in 52 career fights.

Only the best beat Smith…but the skilful and versatile Ankalaev has proved his entering that rarefied air in the division.

Tip: Method of Victory – Ankalaev by Points @ $2.07

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