UFC 277 went down last night (Sat., July 30, 2022) from inside American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas, featuring not one, but two title fights. In the main event of the evening, Amanda Nunes dominated Julianna Pena for five rounds to win back the women’s Bantamweight belt (see it here). In the co-headlining act, Brandon Moreno stopped Kai Kara-France in the third round to win the interim Flyweight strap, securing a potential fourth title fight against current division kingpin, Deiveson Figueiredo (highlights).
Biggest Winner: Amanda Nunes
While she didn’t get the finish, Nunes put on a dominant performance against Pena to earn a clear-cut unanimous decision win after 25 minutes of action. In doing so, “Lioness” regained her women’s 135-pound title to once again become “champ-champ.” Let’s not get it twisted, Pena showed a ton of grit and toughness by hanging in the pocket and absorbing several of Nunes’ best shots that would normally take others clean out. But, the night belonged to Nunes, who will now have the option to either defend the 135-pound strap or the Featherweight crown. She once again showed why she is without a shadow of a doubt the greatest female fighter in the history of the sport and regained her rightful position at the top of women’s MMA.
Runner Up: Brandon Moreno
Moreno once again showed the reason he is a true champion, knocking out top contender Kai Kara-France with a brutal liver shot to send him crashing to the canvas in pain, and eventually setting up a nice finish in round three. With the win, “Assassin Baby” secured himself another title fight against his rival, Deiveson Figueriedo. Speaking of which, the two men buried whatever beef they had toward each other inside the Octagon after the fight after Moreno offered up a truce and apology for ever crossing the line in the past. It was an interesting turn of events in their rivalry leading up to an unprecedented fourth fight between them. While the trash talk may now be non-existent prior to what could be their last fight against one another, at least we know we will be in for another treat once the cage door slams shut behind them.
Honorable mentions: Magomed Ankalaev and Alexandre Pantoja
You know those rare instances when Dana White and Co. decide to go crazy and hand out post-fight bonuses like candy because there were so many great performances? Well, we’re going to do that here except I’m only able to give out praise and respect to Ankalaev and Pantoja since I don’t have $50,000 laying around. Those two men likely earned themselves title shots after their respective wins. Anakalaev took out former title contender, Anthony Smith, in the second round via ground-and-pound to earn his ninth straight win and a possible spot in the Top 3 at Light Heavyweight (recap here). Pantoja, meanwhile, ran right over Alex Perez in less than two minutes to earn his third straight win, setting himself up for the chance to face the winner of Figueiredo vs. Moreno sometime in 2023 if he chooses to wait that long to fight again.
Biggest Loser: Derrick Lewis
Look, I agree that the stoppage was early, but Lewis put himself in bad position to get clipped by Sergei Pavlovich, who took advantage of a couple of clean shots he landed to put “Black Beast” on wobbly legs. It was surprising to see Lewis get rocked by his counterpart since the hard-hitting big man had the striking advantage on paper. But, that’s the reason fighters fight, to show that whatever the tape and stats show all that matters is what happens once inside the cage. For Lewis, the loss is still a loss — despite the controversy — and that now puts him at 1-3 over his last four fights, losing all three via technical knockout, two of them back-to-back.
For complete UFC 277 results and coverage click here.