The lineup for UFC 277 was revealed a few days ago, and it has already created a lot of buzz in the UFC community. It is during the same weekend as the moto spectacle at the Road America, meaning that the sports fans worldwide will have a nice offer of UFC and NASCAR odds. No doubt, this one will be an eventful weekend.
UFC 277 Preview
Lioness a Strong Favorite
Pena vs. Nunes II is the headliner of UFC 277. These two ferocious ladies met at the UFC 269 back in December 2021, with Pena beating the rival and taking over the reign in the division. That was one of the biggest upsets in the UFC, with the Venezuelan Vixen triumphing as a +700 underdog.
According to the bookies, she won’t be the favorite in the rematch as well, with Nunes’ victory sitting at -330 and Pena’s at +270.
Many believe that Lioness won’t be as surprised and caught off guard as in the first bout. Pena prepared very well for that fight, precisely targeting the moment when to attack and stun the champion. We need to add that even though she lost, Nunes had her moments of domination but didn’t manage to materialize that.
Though, all the credit needs to go to Pena, who beat Nunes with her own medicine, hurting her in stand-up and eventually finishing the bout with a submission.
A win for Nunes would re-establish her as the most dominant female fighter today, while a loss would greatly damage her legacy. On the other side, if Pena wins, that would shut down all those who claim that a win in the first event was just a lucky shot. Also, the 32-year-old would cement her place atop the division.
Kara-France After a Revenge
Brandon Moreno and Kai Kara-France already met once before, at the UFC 245 in December 2019. Moreno beat the fighter from New Zealand via unanimous decision, managing to keep his defeatless streak alive at that point. Afterward, the Mexican went on to become the champion but eventually lost that title in the third event against Deiveson Figueiredo
As for Kara-France, he currently has three wins in a row, beating the likes of Rogerio Bontorin, Cody Garbrandt, and Askar Askarov. Wins over these three guys are clear proof that Kara-France deserves a title fight. He would get the same, but Fugueiredo’s hand injury prevented that from happening. Instead, an interim bout against his old foe was scheduled.
Kara-France is enormously improving, while on the other side, Moreno looks to keep his position as the top challenger, hoping to eventually get another shot against Figueiredo.
Pavlovich and Ankalaev Looking for a Breakthrough Win
Sergei Pavlovich and Magomed Ankalaev are two title prospects in their divisions. Pavlovich is a heavyweight with great potential, winning 15 of his 16 bouts. Ankalaev also has only one defeat, but two wins more than his compatriot. Both have 29 years and are yet to enter their prime.
Pavlovich will have one very hard task, facing Derrick “the Black Beast” Lewis, one of the most devastating punchers in the UFC. The Russian beat Marcelo Golm, Maurice Greene, and Shamil Abdurakhimov via knockouts in the first round. Beating Lewis would open the door to a possible title eliminator or something like that.
In Ankalaev’s case, for many, this is the title eliminator. Anthony Smith is in very good form, winning three in a row, and the former light heavyweight title challenger is on his way back to the top. He indicated another run at the belt, which is why the organization put him and Pavlovich in the mix. So whoever wins here, has extremely high prospects of challenging Glover.
We need to mention Luke Rockhold’s return after two years. The former middleweight champion faces Paulo Costa, once a challenger to Israel Adesanya. Rockhold hopes to improve his current position and recover from back-to-back devastating losses he endured against Yoel Romero and Jan Blachowicz.