The UFC is back with another pay-per-view (PPV) this July as UFC 277 is this weekend headlined by the rematch between Amanda Nunes and the women's Bantamweight champion Julianna Pena. The co-main event is another rematch and this time it is for the Interim Flyweight title. The former Flyweight champion Brandon Moreno and the number two ranked contender Kai Kara-France will meet once again at Dallas, Texas. The rest of the main card includes a few important fights in the UFC. Let's take a deeper look into the fights featured on Verdict.
A rematch from UFC 269 when Julianna Pena shocked the world and defeated Amanda Nunes is finally upon us. Pena has been the Bantamweight champion for over 7 months and she now has the opportunity to prove that the first fight was not a fluke. There are still a lot of doubters due to the fact that Nunes was not in great shape nor had a full camp. Nunes recently stated at media day that she had a lot of things go wrong for that camp. She listed complications like recovering from COVID-19 and dealing with several injuries throughout the way. This time, Nunes appears to be in great shape and wants to take back what was once hers. She stated, "This opportunity is to get my belt back, and I’m not letting anything doubt me. Actually, losing the belt fired me up again.” On the flip side, Pena is looking to prove everyone wrong a second time. Pena made Nunes uncomfortable at UFC 269 and got her into wild exchanges. This allowed Pena to capitalize on big opportunites and she did just that. Pena rocked Nunes on the feet and eventually got the fight to the ground when she won via submission in the second round. It was one of the biggest upsets in UFC history as the MMA world was going crazy. Pena has the chance to not only do it again, but show everyone that she is the champion for a reason. As of now, 66.6% of the Verdict Community predicts Amanda Nunes will be getting her belt back against Julianna Pena.
Another rematch is on deck at UFC 277 but this time, the stakes are higher. Brandon Moreno and Kai Kara-France will be fighting for the Interim Flyweight belt and the winner will have a future match to unify the belt against the undisputed champion Deiveson Figueiredo. Nonetheless, the winner this weekend does become a champion at the end of the night. Moreno and Kara-France first fought in December of 2019 at UFC 245. Moreno earned a unamious decision victory at the end of the night in a fight that was closely contested. There was a lot of back-and-fourth action between the two for three rounds. The difference now is that they will have five rounds (if needed) to determine the winner. Since the first fight, both men have changed drastically. Moreno would build his way up to challenge for the title at UFC 256, which ultimately ended in a draw against Figueiredo. The UFC instantly booked the rematch for UFC 263 when Moreno became the new Flyweight champion when he defeated Figueiredo via submission. A few months later, the trilogy would take place at UFC 270 when Figueiredo earned a decision victory to re-capture the Flyweight title. On the other side, Kara-France has been on a tear. He comes into UFC 277 on a three-fight winning streak while having two first round knockout wins. In that span, Kara-France finished Rogerio Bontorin and Cody Garbrandt in round one and recently earned a unanimous decision win over top contender Askar Askarov. In his last two fights, Kara-France was the underdog and has beaten the odds. At UFC 277, he'll be the underdog for the third straight fight in his career. Fans can expect an incredible fight as both fighters are great strikers. Where it stands now, nearly 60% of the Verdict Community are predicting Brandon Moreno to defeat Kai Kara-France at UFC 277.
Fan-favorite Derrick Lewis returns to the octagon against the eleventh ranked contender in the Heavyweight division, Sergey Pavlovich. Lewis last fought at UFC 271 when he lost to Tai Tuivasa via knockout in the second round. Prior to that, Lewis looked great against Chris Daukaus when he won via knockout in the first round. Everyone knows that Lewis brings that "stand and bang" mentality to the octagon. Lewis has the most knockouts in the history of the Heavyweight division and will look to add to that total at UFC 277. It'll be no easy task as Pavlovich has been on a roll as of late. Pavlovich is on a three-fight knockout streak and all three wins have been in the first round. He lands at a high rate as Pavlovich averages six signifcant strikes landed per minute. The downside is he also absorbs 4.45 signifcant strikes per minute, which is also extremely high. Nevertheless, this fight has all of the makings to be exciting as both men have one-punch knockout power. As of now, nearly 68% of the Verdict Community are taking the side of Derrick Lewis. The world's most common pick is also Lewis by first-round knockout.
An important Flyweight bout takes place as Alexandre Pantoja goes against Alex Perez at UFC 277. Perez hasn't fought since 2020 when he lost to Deiveson Figueiredo at UFC 255. The reason for the inactivity has been from the multiple cancellations of fights throughout 2021. Perez had four fights fall out and this year, two more fights got cancelled as well. The opponents for these fights were Matt Schnell and Askar Askarov. If everything goes as planned, Perez will finally be making his walk to the ocatgon. He has a professional record of 24-6 with seven submission wins in his career. Standing across from Perez, Pantoja has been active as of late. Pantoja had two fights in 2021 and won both. He defeated Manel Kape via unamious decision and Brandon Royval via submission. Pantoja is one of the more exciting fighters in the Flyweight division as he has a 75% finish rate in his professional career. It's an interesting matchup between the two as it is a huge fight in the top five of the Flyweight division. Where it stands now, 80.2% of the Verdict Community predict Alexandre Pantoja to defeat Alex Perez at UFC 277.
A fight that has title implications on the line, Magomed Ankalaev and Anthony Smith will battle it out to become next in line for a title shot at the Light Heavyweight division. This fight opens up the main card and is important as all the other fights on this main card. Ankalaev has been talked about as the next champion of the division. The high praise for Ankalaev has been justified because he has been great in the UFC. With a professional record of 17-1, Ankalaev is riding into this fight winning eight consecutive fights. His most recent win is against Thiago Santos earlier this year via unaminous decision. Ankalaev is more of a balanced fighter yet he leans on his striking for the majority of the fight. He's great at not absorbing too much damage on the feet and keeps his distance. In opposition, Smith has been on a tear of his own. The former title challenger is on a three-fight winning streak with all wins finishing in the first round. In this span, Smith defeated Devin Clark, Jimmy Crute, and Ryan Spann. Smith has a professional record of 36-16 and has a 95% finish rate. Smith always looks to end the fight early and in a domiant way. Smith has looked great with his jab in his last few fights. If the fight were to go to the ground, Smith has an open guard and can submit anyone from the bottom. Ankalaev also does well on the ground as both fighters are balanced in every style of fighting. The winner of this fight can well be the next one in line to challenge for the belt as both fighters deserve that spot. Where it stands now, 68.3% of the Verdict Community are taking the side of Magomed Ankalaev to defeat Anthony Smith at UFC 277.