July is a special month for us MMA degens – we get not one but two UFC pay-per-views this month. UFC 276 started the month off for us, now this Saturday we get UFC 277, which goes down from the American Airlines Center in Dallas. The bill is topped with two rematches, both for UFC gold (kinda). Here are my UFC 277 predictions to get us our own gold.
UFC 277 Predictions
All odds courtesy of PointsBet
Amanda Nunes (-290) vs Julianna Pena
I generally always take the winner of a first matchup to win again in the rematch because that is what tends to happen. Especially if it is an immediate rematch. However, Amanda Nunes was so dominant for so long, and Julianna Pena so mediocre, that I’m chalking up their first meeting as just a really, really bad night for Nunes. I expect her to be her scary self on Saturday. If not, I’m forever fading her.
Kai Kara-France (+175) vs Brandon Moreno
I’m really not acting to script this week, going against that rematch thing again (Brandon Moreno beat Kai Kara-France in December of 2019) PLUS I’m backing a big dog. But KKF has really improved (especially his grappling) since these two flyweights first encountered each other, and might be the hardest hitter in the division. And who knows how Moreno is going to hold up after back to back to back wars with Deiveson Figueiredo. Put that interim flyweight gold around Don’t Blink’s waist.
Derrick Lewis (+112) vs Sergei Pavlovich
Yep, another dog. Hopefully I’m picking here with my head and not just my heart, as I have a soft spot for Derrick Lewis. I’m not ready to write him off just yet, and I’m not ready to anoint Sergei Pavlovich an elite UFC heavyweight. The last (and only) time the Russian fought a fighter on Lewis’s level – Alistair Overeem – he got knocked out. I’m counting on the heavyweight division’s gatekeeper to keep Pavlovich from gaining access to the top.
Alexandre Pantoja (-175) vs Alex Perez
Alex Perez has not fought since November of 2020, when he lost via submission to champ Deiveson Figueiredo, and has had continuous issues cutting down to flyweight. Alexandre Pantoja has continued to perform at an elite level, knocking off all the top prospects the UFC have thrown at him. He should be able to do the same once again this Saturday night.
Magomed Anakalev (-550) vs Anthony Smith
Anthony Smith is a very tough guy to pick against, as he just seems to continue to outperform expectations. But Magomed Ankalaev is a top light heavyweight prospect, and the books don’t normally whiff on -550 favorites. I’ll go chalk here, but the line doesn’t reflect how close the matchup should be.
Matthew Semelsberger (-165) vs Alex Morono
I had a tough time picking a winner in this welterweight matchup, but I figured if in doubt, go with the Jedi. ‘Semi the Jedi’ Matthew Semelsberger is the bigger, younger man here, and should be the better grappler of the two combatants.
Drew Dober (-200) vs Rafael Alves
I don’t know about Drew Dober being -200 in this matchup, but I’ll take him nonetheless. He’s a better striker than Rafael Alves, is insanely tough, and will push the pace the whole fight.
Don’Tale Mayes (-175) vs Hamdy Abdelwahab
You always have to fade the short-notice debuting fighter, even if they are a former Olympic wrestler as Hamdy Abdelwahab is. Plus, Don’Tale Mayes has an eight-inch reach advantage on him and Abdelwahab is a sloppy striker who should leave openings for Mayes to tag him.
Drakkar Klose (-230) vs Rafa Garcia
Drakkar Klose is one of the most underrated fighters in the UFC, having only lost twice in 15 pro fights (to Beneil Dariush and David Teymur). He’s a way better striker than Rafa Garcia, who is stepping into this fight on very short notice.
Michael Morales (-600) vs Adam Fugitt
Michael Morales is an exciting young prospect, while Adam Fugitt is 10 years older than him and is a journeyman making his UFC debut here on short notice. Hence the -600 line. Hence me picking Morales.
Joselyne Edwards (-130) vs Ji Yeon Kim
The only hesitation here is that Joselyne Edwards is taking this fight on short notice, but I’m still picking her to win. She’s bigger, hits was harder, and is a better grappler than Ji Yeon Kim, who is also on a three fight losing skid.
Ihor Potieria (-125) vs Nicolae Negumereanu
Dana White Contender Series grad Ihor Potieria can really crack, while Nicolae Negumereanu allows himself to get hit way too much. I’ll take the debuting Potieria to get his hand raised in his first proper UFC fight.
Orion Cosce (-175) vs Mike Mathetha (Blood Diamond)
The curtain jerker is a tough one to pick, but I trust Orion Cosce just a little bit more due to Blood Diamond’s very limited MMA resume.
Overall Record: 809-557
Return on Investment: 4.7%