Two title rematches headline this weekend's stacked UFC 277 PPV card from the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas, with Amanda Nunes -263 looking to get her Bantamweight belt back from Julianna Pena +230 and Brandon Moreno -208 and Kai Kara-France +185 will look to show their evolution as they run back their 2019 battle with much higher stakes.
All Odds Provided by Stake.com Accurate as of 2:00 AM EST 7/29/2022
Our main event features a rematch of a fight that saw one of the biggest upsets in UFC history. Julianna Pena showed up in the last fight and put on the best performance of her career when she needed it most to get the finish over Nunes. Amanda Nunes is the greatest female fighter of all time; we know this; the question is, what happened last fight and how can she bounce back?
I am taking Nunes here, and I will bet her to win inside the distance. This is the best price we have had on Nunes in years, and I believe there is a good chance she looks as dominant as many expected in the first fight, as a loss can often be the best thing for a fighter.
Pick: Amanda Nunes O/U: Under 2.5 -118
I can't wait for this matchup at Flyweight, as both men have gotten much better since their first matchup, which already resulted in a great fight. Brandon Moreno has grown in the UFC and is now a well-rounded fighter who can strike or grapple with anyone in the division for five rounds. Kai Kara-France cashed big for me as an underdog against Askar Askarov earlier this year, showing his evolved grappling defense and powerful boxing combinations to get the win.
I like Moreno here, as he should have a volume advantage, and I do not see him getting finished. I will bet on this fight to go the distance as Brandon Moreno is near impossible to finish, and Kai Kara-France has shown his submission defense on his current streak, which I believe is the most likely way this fight ends.
Pick: Brandon Moreno O/U: Over 4.5 -179
This is going to be a fun one as two powerful Heavyweights meet here. Derrick Lewis is known for his power, and I have criticized his lack of volume at times, but I thought he looked great against Tai Tuivasa before the stoppage as he showed his sneaky fight IQ using different techniques to close distance. Sergei Pavlovich has yet to see the second round in his UFC run, displaying his power and willingness to strike.
This is the kind of fight I like to avoid betting on, as it feels like betting either side of a coin flip at a favorite price. I will lean Pavlovich as he has the physical advantages and youth on his side.
Pick: Sergei Pavlovich O/U: Over 1.5 +121
A Flyweight matchup with profound title implications here as Alexandre Pantoja looks to continue his win streak against former title challenger Alex Perez. Alexandre Pantoja is a top-tier grappler who can strike with anyone and has beaten the division's big names. Alex Perez is a high pace contender series product coming off a quick loss to the champion Deiveson Figueiredo.
I'm taking Pantoja here as I think he is one of the best Flyweights in the world, and I don't believe Alex Perez can beat him anywhere. Perez has been submitted several times in his career, and with Pantoja's ground skills, I will bet him by submission, which is +330 on Stake.com.
Pick: Alexandre Pantoja O/U: Under 2.5 +113
Here we get a top tier Lightheavyweight matchup to open the main card. Magomed Ankalaev has shown a rare combination of striking and wrestling for his division, although he is very patient, which could cost him. Anthony Smith is also very well rounded, having used his submission skills to get two first-round finishes in his last three fights.
I believe Magomed Ankalaev is the best Lightheavyweight there is right now, but I see little value in betting a favorite of his size in this spot. I have cashed on Ankalaev to go the distance before, but I will make this fight even easier and go with the over 2.5.
Pick: Magomed Ankalaev O/U: Over 2.5 -172
This is a good matchup between two talented strikers at Welterweight. Alex Morono is a solid veteran with good standup who has put together three straight wins. Matt Semelsberger, or Semi the Jedi, has some quick knockouts in his UFC career but has also shown the ability to go three hard rounds.
I am going to lean with Morono as the underdog here, as I think if this one gets to the scorecards, he can do what needs to be done to steal rounds away from Semelsberger.
Pick: Alex Morono O/U: Over 2.5 -192
This should be a fun clash at Lightweight. Drew Dober has only lost to high-level competition since 2016 and showed his toughness in a wild last outing against Terrance McKinney. Rafael Alves is a dangerous submission artist coming off an impressive first-round win over Marc Diakiese.
I will pick Dober, as he has become easy to trust in spots like this over the last few years. No bet from me, though, as this number is relatively wide, and we have seen Dober submitted before.
Pick: Drew Dober O/U: Over 2.5 +128
Here we get a good grappling matchup at Heavyweight. Don'Tale Mayes was given some tough matchups early in his UFC career but has had success since taking a step down in competition. Hamdy Abdelwahab has Olympic-level wrestling; however, his caliber of opponents is very low tier, with him having fought a man he knocked out in bare knuckle MMA in under twenty seconds again in MMA less than a year later, which raises huge red flags for me.
I made a play on Don'Tale Mayes early in the week, which has shifted since people have looked into Abdelwahab's competition thus far. I am still picking Mayes, but I would recommend more caution if playing him at this number.
Pick: Don'Tale Mayes O/U: Over 1.5 -182
This is a good matchup between two experienced Lightweights. Drakkar Klose looked fantastic last time, dominating the fight until a second-round stoppage victory. Rafa Garcia has found some traction in the UFC with back-to-back wins after a tough start to his run with the promotion.
I've got Klose in this one, as with the improvements he had made before his last fight, I am excited to see him again against better competition. Tough to bet this one as Rafa Garcia burned me in his last fight, and this is a steep price.
Pick: Drakkar Klose O/U: Over 2.5 -244
Here we see the second outing of twenty-three-year-old Micheal Morales against short-notice replacement Adam Fugitt. Morales is an explosive striker with a long reach for a Welterweight. Adam Fugitt comes in with four finishes in a row outside of the UFC.
I've got Morales here as I have been very impressed by him so far, and I do not see how Fugitt wins, especially on short notice. I do have my hesitations about betting a number like this on a twenty-three-year-old, though, as there is a lot to be said for experience.
Pick: Micheal Morales O/U: Under 1.5 -118
This is a Bantamweight matchup between two veterans who have been very active in the past year. Joselyne Edwards makes a quick turnaround after her win over Ramona Pascual, where she was able to defend the takedowns and outstrike her at a distance. Ji Yeon Kim is looking to break a three-fight skid with her wins before that coming by split decision.
I will lean Joselyne Edwards as we have seen her come out with wins more recently, but I don't see any value in betting on this matchup.
Pick: Joselyne Edwards O/U: Over 2.5 -417
This is a Lightheavyweight matchup where we see the debut of Ihor Potieria off Dana White's Contender Series. Nick Negumereanu has had a solid UFC run thus far, earning some tough decision wins. Ihor Potieria has a confusing record to track as there are amateur and pro results mixed together, although he has clear finishing ability, having ended most of his wins inside the distance.
This line has flipped over the week as questions have been raised about Potieria's record, and I agree with where it has settled now, with Negumereanu as the favorite. Although I agree with the line movement, I feel like I missed the value on this one but I will make a small play on Negumereanu.
Pick: Nick Negumereanu O/U: Over 2.5 +105
Here we see the night open with the first City Kickboxing product on the card, taking on Orion Cosce. Cosce is a finisher who has never gone the distance in his professional career. Blood Diamond is known for receiving high praise from Israel Adesanya, yet we have not seen much of him in the octagon thus far to back this up.
I am going to pick Orion Cosce here as I think the lack of ground game shown by Blood Diamond in his last fight is very concerning. No bet here, as although I like Cosce, I am not sold enough on his skills to lay this price.
Pick: Orion Cosce O/U: Over 1.5 -141
Don'Tale Mayes ML -185
Nick Negumereanu -108
Amanda Nunes Inside The Distance -125
Brandon Moreno Kai Kara-France Fight Goes The Distance -179
Alexandre Pantoja Submission +330
Magomed Ankalaev Anthony Smith Over 2.5 Rounds -172
Keep up to date with the latest from the Verdict community by signing up for our regular updates.