The UFC returns for a major pay-per-view card once more as UFC 277 gets the highly anticipated rematch between Julianna Pena and Amanda Nunes as it's main event.
After their first clash at UFC 269 ended in one of the biggest shocks in the sport's history, the two women will go head-to-head once again for the UFC bantamweight championship in the main event, on a card that also has an interim title fight in the men's flyweight division.
We'll break down the 135-pound title fight and provide you with our best free betting picks to see if we can earn you some extra cash for the summer.
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UFC 277 information
- Saturday July 30th, 2022
- American Airlines Centre, Dallas, Texas
- Main card starts at 10pm ET
- Women's bantamweight bout (135 pounds)
Julianna Pena vs Amanda Nunes
The most hotly anticipated women's martial arts bout in history takes place at UFC 277 on July 30th, when Julianna Pena defends her championship for the first time since defeating the seemingly invincible Amanda Nunes back in December.
Nunes was a huge favorite going into that fight, and despite dropping Pena twice in the first round with a low kick and then a right straight, she completely gassed out in the second round and allowed Pena to take her down and submit her with ease.
It was a result that snapped a 12-fight win streak for 'The Lioness" and meant that she was no longer champion at bantamweight for the first time since UFC 200 back in 2016. She holds a professional record of 21-5 with 13 knockouts.
Pena on the other hand made it back-to-back wins with the victory over Nunes, earning the title shot after just one victory against Sara McMann. She holds a professional record 11-4 with five wins via submission.
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Route to victory
On paper, Nunes is without a doubt the superior mixed martial artist in all areas and should win this fight nine times out of ten. She will be hopeful that is the reality too, and that the first time was the only time she'd suffer defeat.
Nunes is a fantastic boxer, with arguably the most powerful punches a women has ever possessed in combat sports history. She also has great leg kicks, and is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt. She also usually has great cardio and five-round experience, although that didn't show in their last meeting.
Pena on the other hand is a grappler who likes to grind her opponents out using her clinch and wrestling and then work for submissions and positions on the ground.
She showed in the first fight that she has the heart to keep going even when she's in trouble though, popping Nunes with her jab over and over again in the second round to wear her down and constantly coming forward.
— UFC on BT Sport (@btsportufc) December 25, 2021
The best way for Pena to try and claim victory is to do exactly the same thing as the first fight. She must get in Nunes' face and not let her settle, while closing the distance and trying to wear on her with grappling and pressure.
As for Nunes, she has to do the opposite of what she did in the first fight. She needs to maintain her distance, not rush for the finish and use her power and precision efficiently.
She is the naturally more physically strong woman of the two and can use that to control any grappling exchanges in her favour, but she must be careful not to empty her gas tank as she did at UFC 269.
Nunes has the boxing and the striking advantage that she shouldn't lose this fight for as long as it's on the feet, and she should use that advantage as much as possible to get her title back.
And new UFC champion...
Despite the way the first fight went, I simply can't bet against Nunes getting the job done and regaining her title in this one.
As mentioned already, this is the type of fight that she should win nine times out of ten because stylistically she is stronger in virtually every department of the contest. She's stronger, faster, more powerful, more experienced and can hold her own in every department.
Nunes is usually around a -1000 in her fights in recent years, so the value of getting "The Lioness" to win at -280 is just something that simply can't be passed up.
The first round of the first fight tells you she has the power and ability to put an end to Pena's reign at the first attempt, but she has to stay patient and not be dragged into a brawl or wild encounter.
I'd be shocked if she found herself in the same position once again in consecutive fights against the same opponent, and even if she doesn't get the finish over Pena it seems incredibly unlikely that she losing three or more rounds out of five.
For that reason, the pick is Nunes to win and if you want a bit of extra value take a look at her to win via knockout so that she can reclaim her place back at the top of the mountain of women's MMA.
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