The Ultimate Fighting Championship returns with a massive pay-per-view event and a card that includes some of the most legendary fighters to have ever stepped into the octagon. Here are our UFC 277 full card predictions.
UFC 277 Predictions: Early Prelims
Nicolae Negumereanu vs Ihor Potieria (Light-Heavyweight Bout)
Igor Loss is an untested fighter. 19 out of 20 victories he won in fights against weak opponents. Nigumereanu didn't impress with his UFC performances. The only confident victory for the Romanian fighter was when he knocked out Ike Villanueva, a fighter who has 6 fights in the UFC: 1 win, 5 losses, and all losses are early.
I expect the fight to drag on. Both athletes love to work in the clinch and most likely the fight will take place in the battle for position at the net. When approaching, the fighters will, of course, throw heavy blows, but the cut will quickly turn into a tenacious clinch. In addition, both athletes have good wrestling skills and I don’t think we will see a one-punch knockout.
Michael Morales vs Adam Fugitt (Welterweight Bout)
Adam Fugitt, coming out on short notice, will try to do his best to get a quick win. He will aggressively press the opponent and will try to hook the opponent with a powerful hit. Given that Morales does not know how to control the distance, he will be able to get the debutant closer and let him enter the exchanges with impunity.
But Morales also has crazy power in his fists. He can catch Fugitt close and knock him out. I doubt that the fight will go to the ground. Adam doesn't want to waste his energy on wrestling, while Morales prefers to fight on the his feet too.
Next up: Prelims
Drakkar Klose vs Rada Garcia (Lightweight Bout)
The replacement of Rafa Garcia on short notice will play into the hands of Drakkar. Klose is a more versatile fighter and, due to his versatility, will outmaneuver his opponent – a one-sided wrestler.
On standup, the Drakkar will have the advantage of aggressive pushing, a high volume of work, and Garcia's poor punch defense. Klose will simply kill the opponent. If Rafa tries to fight, then the American will counter the transfer attempts with his good takedown defense.
But I doubt that Drakkar will be able to finish the opponent. Klose does not have the skills of a finisher and he is used to working for points.
Drew Dober vs Rafael Alves (Lightweight Bout)
Drew always has big problems with opponents who know how to work on the ground. Alves, being a black belt in BJJ, might bet on grappling. Dober has good takedown defense, but Rafael only needs one transfer to drag the American to the canvas.
Once down, the American will become completely defenseless. Alves will control him until he gets the opportunity to get into a position convenient for a submission attempt. I think when the Brazilian starts submitting, he will force Dober to give up.
Alex Morono vs Matthew Semelsberger (Welterweight Bout)
The meeting of two finishers most likely will not reach a decision. Given Alex's weak jaw and his problem with standing defense, any trade with Semelsberger could end in a knockout for him. Matt has a cannon punch and quickly knocks out opponents who have problems with defense.
If the fight goes to the ground, then the cardio battle will begin. One of the fighters gets tired faster, he will begin to make mistakes more often and can give up an advantageous position and lose by submission.
UFC 277: Pena vs Nunes – Main Card Predictions
Before we get to the main event of UFC 277: Julianna Pena vs. Amanda Nunes, we have an unbelievable main card with some legendary names as well as rising stars.
Magomed Ankalaev vs Anthony Smith (Light-Heavyweight Bout)
Magomed Ankalaev is the favorite. Therefore, I think that we will see a standard duel with his participation. Magomed is in no hurry in the octagon, he carefully works on his opponent, trying not to take risks and not reveal himself. Yes, he has incredible punching power, but more or less, he either finished strong guys like Maxim Grishin, Dalcha Lungiambula, or Klidson Abreu at the end of the fight or brought the fight with them to a decision.
With an equal arm span, Ankalaev will keep a comfortable distance for himself, so that he can score points with high quality and confidence, while not taking damage. There is a chance that Smith will lose concentration from the intense fight by the last round and will be finished in the last minutes of the fight.
Alexandre Pantoja vs Alex Perez (Flyweight Bout)
Alex Perez comes out after almost 2 years of inactivity. At the same time, during his absence, the American had health problems: he withdrew from the scheduled fights due to injuries, and in February 2022 he failed the weight race so badly that the Athletic Commission did not allow him to fight.
Alexandre does not have a powerful blow, but he knocked out several weaker fighters in the first rounds. Perez has been bad at taking damage before, but he comes out at UFC 277 after a huge downtime and, most likely, an exhausting weight race. There is a high probability that Pantoja will at least reach a heavy knockdown which may be enough to end the fight.
Derrick Lewis vs Sergei Pavlovich (Heavyweight Bout)
I don't think the fight will end in the first round. Lewis and Pavlovich have remarkable knockout power, but they do not rush to aggressively knock out from the first seconds. Derrick will wait for the right moment to strike and will start trying to take his opponent's head off at the end of the 1st round.
Sergei will start the fight in a neat manner. He will calmly shoot Derrick at medium and long range, breaking through his defenses and dealing damage. Pavlovich will respect Lewis' knockout power and won't get into aggressive trades.
Brandon Moreno vs Kai Kara France (Flyweight Interim Title Bout)
We finalize our UFC predictions with the co-main event of the evening. I understand why Brandon Moreno is such a heavy favorite. He already defeated Kai Kara-France 2 years ago and became the champion. However, it seems to me that the New Zealander has progressed more since then, and Moreno, judging by his last fight, is starting to regress.
Kai has become more aggressive, demonstrates good tactics in battles, and improved his defense against takedowns. Brandon Moreno prefers to work at a steady pace and if Kara-France works at high speeds, he will simply outscore his opponent.
Moreno will try to slow down the pace by imposing a fight on the opponent, but I doubt that he will succeed. Kai will not let himself be dragged to the ground. Brandon will spend a lot of energy on failed takedowns, because of which he will quickly lose concentration, start making mistakes, and miss more punches.