Amanda Nunes is once again the UFC women’s bantamweight champion after a five-round shellacking of former 135-pound titleholder Julianna Pena in the UFC 277 pay-per-view (PPV) main event last Sat. night (July 30, 2022) at American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. The tough-as-nails Pena, who upset Nunes for the division title at UFC 269 last December, certainly put up a fight across their 25-minute affair, but this night belonged to “Lioness” from start to finish (watch the video highlights here).
That leaves the score tied at one apiece.
It also opens the door for a potential trilogy, like we’ve seen in other divisions (Stipe Miocic vs. Daniel Cormier comes to mind). That said, Nunes was so dominant in the rematch I don’t think it left many fans clamoring for a rubber match. Pena would have a much stronger case if she rebounded with a violent win over a top contender, like Ketlen Vieira or even former champion Holly Holm. That would also give “Lioness” a chance to return to featherweight for a 145-pound title defense.
And PFL champ Kayla Harrison is ready to answer the call.
Harrison is undefeated at 14-0 with 11 finishes and is currently marching toward another title (and $1 million prize) for Professional Fighters League (PFL). That said, 2022 will mark the Olympian’s final season for PFL as she shifts her focus to “big fights” that add to her legacy. Harrison and Nunes are former training partners at American Top Team (ATT) and were expected to fight earlier this year; however, Pena’s upset at UFC 269 put an end to that proposed match up.
Or did it?
There’s not much Harrison can do at the moment, particularly with Martina Jindrova waiting to play spoiler on Aug. 20 in London. It's also unclear how Harrison’s current contract is structured or what kind of opportunities she’ll be permitted to explore following PFL’s 2022 season. What we can say for certain is that she’s already made the featherweight cut — to great success — in previous fights. I guess we’ll have to wait and see what UFC has in mind for the women’s 135 and 145-pound divisions in the second half of 2022 (and beyond).
For more UFC 277 results and fallout click here.