UFC 277: Pena vs. Nunes 2 Preview

One of the biggest upsets in UFC history will get its sequel this weekend. Attempting to defend her UFC Bantamweight Championship for the first time, Julianna Pena will face former titleholder Amana Nunes in the main event of UFC 277 on Saturday night.

The bout, which is a rematch from December 2021, will headline a card from the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas, USA. Here’s a full preview of the show.

Click here to skip to a preview of the main card.

Early Prelims (6:00PM EDT / 3:00PM PDT) (ESPN / UFC Fight Pass)

Bout 1: Orion Cosce (7-1) vs. Blood Diamond (3-1) (Welterweight)

After both losing their promotional debuts, Orion Cosce and Blood Diamond will meet in the opening bout on Saturday night.

Cosce joined the UFC roster in 2020 after a stoppage win on TV show “Dana White’s Contender Series.” He had an unsuccessful debut in 2021, getting finished in a fight by Philip Rowe.

Diamond debuted on the UFC roster this year, entering with an undefeated record of three wins and experience from notable gym City Kickboxing. He lost his debut in February, suffering a first-round submission loss to Jeremiah Wells.

UFC has been attempting this fight for a while now. The bout was booked twice earlier this year before finally happening this weekend.

Bout 2: Nick Negumereanu (12-1) vs. Ihor Potieria (20-2) (Light Heavyweight)

Ihor Potieria will make his UFC debut on Saturday night, facing Nick Negumereanu in a light heavyweight bout.

Potieria earned a UFC contract last year on “Dana White’s Contender Series,” stopping then-undefeated talent Lukasz Sudolski in the first round with strikes. The win extended a long winning streak that he had on the regional scene.

Negumereanu will be fighting to keep a long winning streak alive. He scored his third consecutive UFC win in March, taking Kennedy Nzechukwu to a split decision result.

Bout 3: Kim Ji-yeon (9-5-2) vs. Joselyne Edwards (11-4) (Bantamweight)

Kim Ji-yeon will attempt to snap a losing streak on Saturday night when she faces Joselyne Edwards.

Kim might be fighting to keep her UFC run alive in this bout.

Kim took her third consecutive loss earlier this year, suffering a unanimous decision loss to Priscila Cachoeira. While the bout was a loss, the performance was given “Fight of the Night” for that show, earning both fighters a bonus.

Edwards took this fight on short notice, stepping in to replace Mariya Agapova. Because of this change, Kim moved up to bantamweight for the bout.

Edwards’ last win saw her move up to featherweight, snapping a two-fight skid in a unanimous decision victory over Ramona Pascual in June.

Bout 4: Michael Morales (13-0) vs. Adam Fugitt (8-2) (Welterweight)

Undefeated Michael Morales will return against Adam Fugitt this weekend.

Morales is one of the many fighters on this card that had their opponent changed in recent weeks. He was first scheduled to face Ramiz Brahimaj, but is now facing a promotional newcomer in Fugitt.

Morales, a fighter with 13 wins and no losses, won his UFC debut in January. He scored a quick win in his first promotional fight, stopping Trevin Giles in the first round with strikes.

Fugitt is on a four-fight winning streak currently. He appeared on an LFA card earlier this year, stopping prospect Solomon Renfro in just 43 seconds with strikes.

Preliminary Card (8:00PM EDT / 5:00PM PDT) (ABC / TSN 2)

Bout 5: Drakkar Klose (12-2-1) vs. Rafa Garcia (14-2) (Lightweight)

Coming off a successful return, Drakkar Klose will meet Rafa Garcia on the prelims.

Klose won his return earlier this year, picking up a second-round finish against Brandon Jenkins. That fight was his first appearance in more than two years.

Garcia has turned around his UFC run recently. While he started his campaign with the promotion by taking two losses, he has since come around to even his record with a pair of victories. His last fight was against veteran Jesse Ronson, who he submitted with a rear naked choke.

Bout 6: Don’Tale Mayes (9-4) vs. Hamdy Abdelwahab (3-0) (Heavyweight)

Heavyweights Don’Tale Mayes and Hamdy Abdelwahab will meet on Saturday evening.

Abdelwahab is a short-notice opponent who stepped in to replace Justin Tafa. He is joining the UFC after scoring three wins as a pro this year, all of which came via finish.

Mayes’ sole appearance last year was a finish win, stopping Josh Parisian late with strikes. His overall UFC record is currently two wins and two losses.

Bout 7: Drew Dober (24-11) vs. Rafael Alves (20-10) (Lightweight)

Experienced lightweights Drew Dober and Rafael Alves will be paired up for this weekend’s prelims.

Dober snapped a two-fight skid in his last appearance, stopping short-notice opponent Terrance McKinney in the first round with strikes. That bout marked McKinney’s first defeat since joining the promotion last year.

Alves is coming off his first UFC win, which saw him submit Marc Diakiese in the first round last year.

Bout 8: Alex Morono (21-7) vs. Matthew Semelsberger (10-3) (Welterweight)

The prelims will wrap up with a fight between Alex Morono and Matthew Semelsberger.

Morono is coming off a highly successful 2021, earning three consecutive victories in the year. His last fight came in December 2021, when he beat Mickey Gall via decision.

Semelsberger has won four of his five UFC fights since joining the promotion two years ago. He handed AJ Fletcher his first pro loss in his last appearance, defeating him on scorecards in March.

Main Card (10:00PM EDT / 7:00PM PDT) (PPV)

Bout 9: Magomed Ankalaev (17-1) vs. Anthony Smith (36-16) (Light Heavyweight)

The strong momentum of Magomed Ankalaev will be put to the test in Saturday’s opening fight, as he will face Anthony Smith.

Ankalaev is one of the fastest rising names at light heavyweight currently.

Ankalaev won his first-ever UFC main event in March, going five rounds against Thiago Santos for a unanimous decision win. That fight was his eighth consecutive victory.

Smith is on a three-fight winning streak at the moment. He made quick work of Ryan Spann in a main event appearance last year, catching him in the first round with a rear naked choke.

Bout 10: Alexandre Pantoja (24-5) vs. Alex Perez (24-6) (Flyweight)

Roughly an hour before a new champion at flyweight will be crowned, high-ranked 125-pound talents Alexandre Pantoja and Alex Perez will face off.

Perez will be appearing for the first time since late 2020 when he lost a title fight against then-champion Deiveson Figueiredo. This absence is due to numerous fights falling through over the past year or so for varying reasons. Now after somewhat of a layoff, Perez is returning with the goal of bouncing back from just his second-ever UFC loss.

Pantoja scored two big wins in 2021. First, he spoiled the UFC debut of Manel Kape, defeating him on scorecards. Then six months later, he earned a submission victory against Brandon Royval. He’ll try to keep the momentum going this weekend.

Bout 11: Derrick Lewis (26-9) vs. Sergei Pavlovich (15-1) (Heavyweight)

Sergei Pavlovich will try to keep his momentum going on Saturday night when he faces former title challenger Derrick Lewis.

Pavlovich is currently on a three-fight winning streak. Two of those victories came in 2019, with a two-year hiatus from competing coming between those and the third win. His last performance was in March, when he stopped Shamil Abdurakhimov in the first round with strikes.

Lewis, a fan favorite for many, has flipped between winning and losing as of late. He was on the receiving end of a brutal knockout in his last outing, getting stopped by Tai Tuivasa at UFC 271.

Bout 12: Brandon Moreno (19-6-2) vs. Kai Kara-France (24-9) (Vacant Interim UFC Flyweight Championship)

UFC will crown an interim champion at flyweight this weekend. In a bout to find this new titleholder, Brandon Moreno and Kai Kara-France will meet.

Moreno is coming off a three-fight rivalry against current champ, Deiveson Figueiredo. He first met Figueiredo in late 2020 when they fought to a draw. Then in June 2021, Moreno pulled off an upset third-round rear naked choke submission to become champion.

Figueiredo regained champion status early this year, going five close rounds against Moreno to win on scorecards. After spending more than a year training and facing just one opponent, Moreno will get a change of scenery in this fight.

Kara-France was near the title picture in 2020 but had his momentum stopped with a loss to Brandon Royval at UFC 253. He’s now closer than ever to becoming champion after scoring a trio of wins since early 2021. His last fight was a big victory, handing Askar Askarov his first pro loss. Before then, Kara-France had finishes over Cody Garbrandt and Rogerio Bontorin as well.

Bout 13: Julianna Pena (11-4) vs. Amanda Nunes (21-5) (UFC Bantamweight Championship)

The rematch between Julianna Pena and Amanda Nunes will take place in Saturday’s main event.

In what is considered to be one of the biggest upsets in UFC history, Pena beat Nunes late last year. She stung the long-time champ with punches on the feet in the second round of their title bout, then went to the ground with a rear naked choke to end their fight.

The finish was shocking to many. It was Nunes’ first loss since 2014 and put an end to a title reign that lasted five defenses and nearly 2,000 days. This next fight has a storyline that can go one of two ways.

For Pena, this is about showing that her first win over Nunes wasn’t lucky. With a win, she can prove that she is undoubtedly the better fighter and that many are wrong for doubting her.

But on the other side, Nunes has the chance to do the exact opposite. She can show that she simply had a bad night in that first bout and that she is the best name in the division.

After bantamweight had a definitive queen for so long, Pena’s sudden win in December 2021 shook things up. The question this weekend is whether that change will be remembered as a short fad or a new long-standing era.

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