UFC 277 Fight Card – Julianna Pena vs Amanda Nunes 2: Top Stories to Watch in Dallas

For the second time in the same month, the UFC will host a pay-per-view on Saturday, this time featuring two title rematches atop the marquee at the American Airlines Center in Dallas.

Julianna Pena will make the first defense of the women’s bantamweight belt in UFC 277 main event while she faces Amanda Nunes, also a TUF coach, in a rematch of Pena’s big surprise in December. In the co-main event, former champion Brandon Moreno welcomes Kai Kara-France for the second time, although this rematch is disputed for the interim bantamweight belt while Deiveson Figueiredo recovers from injury.

While it’s not fair to call UFC 277 a major PPV card, the featured fights still offer an intriguing mix of stories to follow this weekend. Let’s take a look at those now.

1. Julianna Pena is tasked with doing the impossible… again

That’s the key question in this rematch for the £135 title: Is Pena simply a one-hit wonder that caught lightning in a bottle on Nunes’ worst night since starting an incredible 12-game winning streak? Or was Nunes, now 34, simply ready for the pick, as the rest of the division caught up with her on the best night of Pena’s up-and-down career? Somewhere in these contrasting scenarios is the truth and it can only be revealed inside the Octagon when they touch the gloves a second time. Trying to diminish Pena’s achievement in any way seems false, considering she went through one big shot after another before breaking the GOAT and submitting her via submission in the second round. However, at the same time, Nunes simply looked from the start, even with the initial success he had in the first round. and Holly Holm, not to mention two decision wins over Valentina Shevchenko – it was alarming to see Nunes implode so disastrously. How much of that was because of Pena? Or has the out-of-the-cage drama that prompted Nunes to leave American Top Team to start his own gym fueled a scenario of chaos? Either way, Nunes remains a firm bet despite the defeat, which speaks generously to the idea that Pena may need to be better than great to see lightning strike a second time.

2. Pena should expect a much more technical game in the rematch

Trying to identify the exact reason for Nunes’ nocturnal decline in the first fight against Pena is difficult. Some questioned whether her desire was still the same after she had dominated for so long. Others have pointed to the fact that she wasn’t forced to drop to 135 pounds for two years before the fight while defending her UFC crown in the interim. But regardless of the exact reason, Nunes fought undisciplined enough that Pena was able to overcome the technical differences between them, drawing Nunes into a fight with wide, looping shots and a willingness to receive big in return. Given that it’s the same plan Nunes used to get Cyborg to avoid his game plan in the 2018 shootout that ended in 51 seconds, Nunes should have known better. “The Lioness”, after all, played five rounds in her rematch against Shevchenko playing in 2017 and won a (disputed) chess match in which she proved her stamina and fighting IQ were as developed and potent as her power and finishing ability. Considering that Pena had yet to show a performance like the one she wrote against Nunes in the past, and it was finished each time she rose to the elite level against Shevchenko and Germaine de Randamie, reserving some grace for Nunes is appropriate. But it’s hard to imagine a first date carbon copy of her in Saturday’s rematch. Nunes is very skilled at boxing outside and very patient when she is dialed. It is also likely that Nunes learned from the mistakes she made on the ground in her first fight that led to her death, in part because of the strain Pena was experiencing. putting it in her arms.

3. Brandon Moreno Expects a Much Improved Version of Kai Kara-France

As the former flyweight champion should, despite having already defeated Kara-France via unanimous decision in 2019. Since a three-fight stretch that saw Kara-France lose to Moreno and Brandon Royval, the New Zealand native has simply become a new fighter. Kara-France managed back-to-back knockouts from Rogerio Bontorin and Cody Garbrandt before overcoming Askar Askarov to earn the interim title shot against Moreno. Kara-France has evolved to become more of a finishing threat offensively and her confidence has blossomed along the way. Moreno, who lost the title back to Deiveson Figueiredo during their third encounter in January, will need to prepare for a completely different fighter, and he said that throughout the preparation. A product of the same City Kickboxing gym that produced reigning champions Alexander Volkanovski and Israel Adesanya, Kara-France looks set to join his teammates in the pursuit and seizure of UFC gold.

4. This does not mean that an interim fly title was necessary

Was this the case with the UFC hoping to fill a relatively small PPV card – the promotion’s second in the current month – by adding a second world title to the top of the card? All signs seem to point to yes in this one, in a move that has become more common in recent years. Technically, Figueiredo is injured and hopes to be healthy again by the fall, but he hasn’t been left out long enough to demand a rematch between Moreno and Kara-France, a good fight under any circumstances, to be anything more than it is. : A No. 1 contender fight. This free UFC decision was much more in line with the recent heavyweight bout, where Cyril Gane and Derrick Lewis fought for an interim belt just months after Francis Ngannou won. Figueiredo has publicly questioned whether the UFC believes he is faking an injury and punishing him for not being available. Anyway, the cake in this case is already too delicious without the need for extra frosting on top.

5. The £205 stalemate could open the door for Anthony Smith-Magomed Ankalaev winner

Who deserves their first shot at new light heavyweight champion Jiri Prochazka? That’s the question for UFC matchmakers, who seem torn between an immediate rematch against Glover Teixeira or a Prochazka showdown against another former champion Jan Blachowicz. The fact that neither seems to have a stronger case than the other could lead the winner of Saturday’s good duo between No. 4 Ankalaev and No. 3 Smith to cross the line, provided they can win in a dominant and/or exciting way . Ankalaev, who is on an impressive eight-game winning streak, has left some believing he is already the best fighter in the division. But Smith, who lost a title bid to Jon Jones in 2019, also enters a streak of consecutive stoppage wins.

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