UFC 277 Recap and Highlights

By Timothy James  |  July 31, 2022  |  No Comments

The fans who claimed that UFC 277 was too light for a PPV had to eat their words as the card delivered an amazing night of fights, including one of the best women’s championship fights in history.

There’s a saying that goes, “the cards you least expect to deliver are often the best.” UFC 277 was a perfect example of that adage. Going into the event, many fight fans believed the lineup was a bit light for a PPV card. While it wasn’t perfect, UFC 277 still delivered the goods, bringing a ton of action and memorable moments.

Amanda Nunes Regains Her Bantamweight Title

Expectations were sky high for the main event of UFC 277. The consensus greatest female fighter of all time was on a quest to reclaim her belt after getting choked out by the massive underdog challenger Julianna Peña back at UFC 269 last December. In fact, during the UFC 277 press conference last Thursday, Peña declared that her rematch with Nunes was the biggest fight in Women’s MMA history.

For Nunes, she had to prove that the first fight was a fluke and that there’s a reason why she’s called the GWOAT. Across from her, Peña had to shut her doubters up and show that the first fight was the real deal. What ensued was one of the most memorable championship fights in Women’s MMA history.

Nunes took Peña to task early, scoring multiple knockdowns in the early going. There were multiple instances where it looked like Nunes was seconds away from finishing the fight, but Peña refused to give in. Battered, bloodied and bruised, Julianna wasn’t going to just hand Amanda her belt back.

Weathering the storm of multiple knockdowns, takedowns and ground and pound, Peña continuously threatened submissions from the bottom while eating big shot after big shot. She even came close to securing an armbar a few times, but was never quite able to lock it in. Despite getting worked from pillar to post, Peña proved that she’s one of, if not the, toughest fighter in the women’s bantamweight division.

Ultimately, the GWOAT lived up to her status with a dominant performance, winning by unanimous decision. The judges' scorecards gave Nunes every round, 50-45, 50-44, and 50-43. Even though she lost her belt in her first defense, Julianna Peña should keep her head high. She endured brutal punishment and displayed the heart of a warrior through it all.

Congratulations to Amanda Nunes and thank you to both fighters for giving us fans a great contest to close out UFC 277.

Brandon Moreno Stops Kai Kara-France In Third

The co-main event also featured a high stakes championship bout, this one for the interim UFC flyweight belt. Brandon Moreno and Kai Kara-France faced each other in the Octagon for the second time after Moreno beat the Kiwi via unanimous decision back at UFC 245. Only this time, all the marbles were on the table, as the winner would get to challenge incumbent flyweight champion Deiveson Figueiredo for the unified title.

The first two rounds between Moreno and Kara-France were tightly contested, as reflected in the judges’ scorecards. One judge had “The Assassin Baby” up 20-18, another “Don’t Blink” up 20-18, and the third had everything tied up at 19-19. The momentum began to shift towards Kara-France in the third after he was able to score a takedown and bloody Moreno up with some ground-and-pound. The City Kickboxing product was supported by his teammates, including UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya and featherweight champion and #1 P4P, Alexander Volkanovski.

However, lightning struck when Moreno crumpled Kara-France with a step-in kick that landed directly on Kai’s liver. The sound rang through the roar of the crowd, like a baseball bat hitting a ball 450 feet. All Kara-France could do was turtle up as Moreno rained down shots before Herb Dean put a stop to the contest.

“The Assassin Baby” became only the fourth fighter to ever win via body shot in a championship bout, joining the elite company of Demetrious Johnson, Georges St. Pierre, and Ronda Rousey. Moreno shared his Octagon interview with rival Deiveson Figueiredo, who praised Moreno’s victory and asked for their fourth fight to happen in Brazil. When those two meet again, it will be the fourth and decisive contest, as they are all tied up at 1-1-1.

Sergei Pavlovich Beats Derrick Lewis In Questionable Stoppage

Derrick “the Black Beast” Lewis has had his fair share of problems performing in his native state of Texas, and unfortunately UFC 277 was no exception to that trend. Sergei Pavlovich was able to secure the TKO victory in less than a minute of the very first round, as Lewis’ strategy to swang and bang backfired.

The stoppage wasn’t without controversy, as referee Dan Mirgliotta pulled Pavlovich off Lewis as he was rising to his feet. Lewis protested immediately, causing many fight fans to declare that it was an early stoppage. However, many fans spoke out to say that Lewis falling face forward justified the fight being stopped then and there.

What did you guys think? Early stoppage or good stoppage? Let us know in the comments!

Anthony Smith Breaks Ankle Before TKO Loss to Magomed Ankalaev

Anthony “Lionheart” Smith was the biggest underdog on the main card, with everyone expecting him to get rolled over by light heavyweight contender Magomed Ankalaev. While the first round was competitive, an apparent injury to Smith’s ankle left him hobbled going into the second round.

Sporting the injury, Smith wasn’t able to mount an effective counterattack, eventually succumbing to Ankalaev’s ground-and-pound. It was Ankalaev’s 9th consecutive victory in the 205 lbs division, making him the favorite to fight for the title next.

During his Octagon interview, Ankalaev asked, “how many fights do I have to win before I fight for the title?” Although Ankalaev is clearly deserving, it remains unclear who will be fighting current champion Jiri Prochazka next. A rematch with Glover Texeira or a showdown with former champion Jan Blachowicz is also in the mix, so Ankalaev might have to win at least one more.

UFC 277 Performance Bonuses

The winners of Performance of the Night were Alexandre Pantoja, who made quick work of Alex Perez by cranking his neck in the first round, and Drew Dober, who finished Rafael Alves with a third round liver shot. UFC 277 is notable for being one of the few PPV events to feature not one but two finishes via body shots, including one in a championship bout.

Fight of the Night honors went to Brandon Moreno and Kai Kara-France.

Final Thoughts

Although it looked light on paper, UFC 277 delivered a highly entertaining night of fights. Honorable mentions go to Michael Morales, who improved his undefeated record to 14-0 when he stopped Adam Fugitt in the Early Prelims. Alex Morono and Matthew Semelsberger also provided a slobberknocker in the featured fight of the Prelims and could have also been considered for FOTN honors.

UFC 277 might not have been as stacked as some past PPV cards (or upcoming ones like UFC 280), but it proved the adage true that the events you least expect to be amazing usually are.

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