After a couple of unfortunate events in the UFC, we were treated to a fantastic PPV with some incredible performances.

The biggest performances came in the two title fights. In a TIGHT, explosive standup battle, Brandon Moreno ended up grabbing the belt with a HUGE body-kick TKO over Kai Kara-France. After that, Amanda Nunes proved to everyone once again that she truly deserves the title of GOAT. She DOMINATED Peña this time, not only knocking her down a UFC record number of times, she also shut down everything that she had on the ground. Nunes may not have grabbed a finish, but we saw some sensational finishes throughout the rest of the card.

Drew Dober grabbed a NASTY body-shot TKO and Alexandre Pantoja choked out Perez in less than two minutes, firmly placing himself in title contention. All of the bouts from UFC 277 are covered below along with BLÜ’s favourite performances of the night: the BLÜ BONUSES.

Prelim. Action

Fight #1

Orion Cosce def. Blood Diamond by Unanimous Decision

Working to keep Cosce back, Blood Diamond opened it up early with some combos. He didn’t land anything big, but it kept Cosce from shooting in for a takedown. After a minute or so of that though, Orion landed a nice shot himself and pushed Diamond into the fence, working hard in the clinch. He went for a takedown, but it was clear Cosce was going to have to do better than that.

That’s exactly what he did; he used a different technique and slammed Blood Diamond into the canvas. Diamond briefly managed to get back up a couple of times, but Cosce slammed him back down. Eventually, he finally managed to separate, get back to striking and land a nice kick, but it was clear that Cosce stole the round on the cards.

Blood Diamond landed a couple of early shots in the second, but got too close which allowed Cosce to clinch up and work for his wrestling. After a couple minutes of getting controlled in the clinch, Blood Diamond landed a couple of combos, seemed to hurt Cosce and started to really get his combos going. Cosce clinched up, but started to really struggle with his striking. After all that damage, it seemed clear that the fight was tied 1-1 on the cards.

The final round opened extremely slow, moving into some more wrestling for Cosce, grabbing multiple takedowns. It looked as though Blood Diamond was safe, but then Cosce made it interesting, taking his back, working hard for a rear naked choke. For the rest of the round, Cosce was mixing up positions, threatening submissions and throwing out some ground and pound. It was a CLEAR final round for Cosce, giving him a seemingly obvious 29-28 decision. The judges agreed, all scoring it 29-28 for Cosce.

Fight #2

Nicolae Negumereanu def. Ihor Potieria by TKO in the 2nd Round

The newcomer Potieria was the one pressuring early, but Negumereanu responded with some HEAVY clinchwork along the fence. After a couple minutes, Negumereanu was in full control on top of Potieria. Negumereanu let him get back up near the end of the round, but Ihor looked GASSED.

Even though he looked really tired, Potieria opened the 2nd Round with some big combos, hitting Negumereanu with some good shots. Sadly, that was short-lived as Nicolae hit him with a good shot of his own and pushed him into the fence. Halfway through the fight and Potieria had his hands down, EXHAUSTED. Seeing that Ihor was fading Negumereanu started to light him up with BOMBS, slamming knees, elbows and HUGE punches for almost a minute straight until the ref stopped it.

Fight #3

Joselyne Edwards def. Ji Yeon Kim by Split Decision

As expected, the fight was close to start with both women throwing out some crisp combos. Thanks to that HUGE edge in size and reach though, Edwards seemed to be landing the better strikes. That being said, Kim was the far more elusive striker, using her movement to her advantage and making Edwards miss. Kim was doing well, but Edwards clearly edged ahead the 1st Round, landing more strikes and heavier strikes.

Knowing she was down after the 1st Round, Kim came in harder the 2nd Round, throwing out way more combos. Edwards didn’t seem tired or anything, but really wasn’t being as active, allowing Kim to get some really good work done. After that, it was impossible to tell which way the judges were leaning.

Knowing she needed to do better to get the win, Edwards came in HEAVY in the final round, landing a pretty crisp combo. From there, moving away from the striking for once, Edwards threw herself into the grappling, slamming Kim down into the canvas. She went for an armbar, but was sadly denied and had to bring the fight back up along the fence into the clinch. Kim tried to steal the momentum back at the end of the fight, but with all the control time from Edwards, it seemed a clear 29-28 for her. The judges were split, scoring it 29-28, 28-29 and 30-27 for Edwards.

Fight #4

Michael Morales def. Adam Fugitt by TKO in the 3rd Round

The fight started off with some decent exchanges from both sides, but Morales looked like the more technical, dangerous striker. Amazingly, the MASSIVE underdog, Fugitt managed to drag Morales to the ground. It took Morales a couple minutes, but he got back up and went back to striking. Morales was landing some BIG shots, but Fugitt was responding with a couple big ones of his own. It was close, but I’d have given the round to Fugitt thanks to that control time and all the strikes he landed.

Both men kept it going into the 2nd Round with their striking, but Fugitt was stealing the momentum, really pressuring forward against Morales. It was tough to tell who was winning these exchanges. Morales was definitely landing the heavier shots, but Fugitt was pressuring hard and landing combos, which may look better on the cards. Listening to his corner, Fugitt shot in for an early takedown in the final round. Sadly, that may have been his demise; he ran in for a takedown and got clipped by Morales. From there, Morales EXPLODED, let loose HUGE combos, dropped Fugitt and kept it going until the ref stopped it.

Fight #5

BLÜ’s Prelim. Pick #1

Drakkar Klose vs. Rafa García

They both seemed extremely evenly matched, but Klose has an edge in experience with wins over Diakiese, Bobby Green and Giagos. This, plus his dangerous clinch game, gave him a slight edge going into this one.

BLÜ’s Prediction

Klose by Decision

Both fighters started slowly, both respecting the power of each other. Klose, as usual, was the one pressuring forward, trying to get a clinch going. He got a couple clinches going, hitting Klose with a couple flurries, but Garcia did well to defend anything significant. Finally, after 4 minutes of trying, Klose dragged Garcia to the canvas, but it was short-lived as he kept bouncing back to his feet. Even though Klose didn’t do anything crazy, he clearly did enough to take the round on the judges’ cards.

Keeping that momentum going into the 2nd Round, Klose went straight in and pushed Garcia into the fence. From there they went back to their striking were nothing really happened… until Garcia grabbed a takedown of his own. Interestingly, after a fairly inactive minute on the ground, the fighters were brought back to their feet by the ref. Closing out the round, Klose lit up Garcia, but was taken down as the bell rang. With such a close round, it really could have gone either way, but I’d have probably given it to Garcia thanks to that control time.

Once again, Klose opened heavy, hitting Garcia with another heavy shot. Feeling encouraged by his takedowns in the earlier rounds though, Garcia ran in HARD at Klose to get a BIG takedown. Sadly, he couldn’t keep him down there and Klose started to pressure forward with his striking again. As the round went on, it seemed as though Klose was really starting to break Garcia down with his pace. Garcia was doing well to make it close, but Klose was the more active, dangerous fighter. As a result, I’d have given the decision, by the thinnest margin, to Klose. The judges agreed, all scoring it 29-28 for the veteran, Klose.

Result

Drakkar Klose def. Rafa García by Unanimous Decision

Fight #6

Hamdy Abdelwahab def. Don’Tale Mayes by Split Decision

Mayes jumped in early trying to use his HUGE reach to his advantage, but was met with a BIG shot from Hamdy. He may not have had the reach, but Hamdy landed first knocking Mayes off balance with a BOMB. From there, he kept it going, landing more bombs, then LAUNCHED Mayes into the ground. Mayes managed to get up, but was still in trouble against the olympic wrestler. After that DOMINANT opening round, the debuting fighter Abdelwahab clearly got the round on the cards.

Starting right where he left off, Hamdy opened the 2nd Round with another HUGE shot that had Mayes stumbling back. Then it was Mayes that turned the tables, SMOKING Hamdy and blitzing him with HUGE combos. It looked as though he was about to get finished, but recovered and got back to his striking. Sadly, he still seemed to be affected by the big exchanges, letting Mayes lead the action. Then it was Hamdy that started to walk forward, landing a big combo. Sadly, Mayes made a mistake and was dragged to the canvas in the middle of the cage with no way to get up. That was BIG moment for Abdelwahab, but I’d have still given the round to Mayes, leaving it tied going into the final round.

Knowing his path to victory was with his grappling, Hamdy opened with a clinch and an EASY takedown with over 4 minutes left in the round. As expected, Mayes couldn’t get anything going at all and spent the entire round either with his back against the fence or on the ground. Thanks to an idiotic standup from the ref, Hamdy was hit with BOMB to close out the fight. In spite of that, it was an obvious 29-28 win for Abdelwahab.

Fight #7

BLÜ’s Prelim. Pick #2

Drew Dober vs. Rafael Alves

In a matchup THIS explosive, anything can happen. That being said, Dober is the much safer choice. I don’t think it’d even be possible to have a more chaotic round than Dober had against McKinney. Even though he got DESTROYED multiple times by one of the heaviest hitters in the division, Dober got through it and won. That tells me Alves has nothing with his striking. Alves’ only chance of winning this is by early submission. If Dober can avoid that one thing, he’s got the cardio and skillset to grab a finish of his own or win by decision.

BLÜ’s Prediction

Dober by Finish

Alves made the first big move, throwing a WILD spinning kick. Being the more technical guy, Dober dodged it and grabbed a nice crisp combo. As they got in close though, Alves hit him with a good one and dragged Dober down to the ground, really working for a submission. After getting held down for a couple minutes, Dober found himself back on his feet with both men throwing some WILD combos. Dober landed the cleaner shots at the end of the round, but it seemed likely that Alves grabbed the round on the cards. 

As expected, Dober pressured early against Alves, backing him up into the fence. Slowing down quite a bit, Alves just couldn’t really get any offence going whatsoever. Dober just kept walking forward, landing combos and backing him into the fence. After an unfortunate eye poke, Alves came out like a DEMON, throwing everything at Dober and slipping all the combos coming back his way. It fired up the crowd, but it was still a CLEAR round for Dober. Once again, Dober opened the round with his forward pressure. Alves tried to stop him with a takedown, but the fresher fighter, Dober, shut that down with no issue. Then, out of nowhere, Dober landed a BOMB to the ribs of Alves, dropping him for a walk-off body shot TKO.

Result

Drew Dober def. Rafael Alves by TKO in the 3rd Round

Fight #8

Alex Morono def. Matt Semelsberger by Unanimous Decision

Both these guys came out swinging and landing some crisp combos. As expected, Semelsberger was throwing the wilder, bigger hooks while Morono was using his straight shots. After Morono landed a real crisp one, Semelsberger really slowed down with his activity. Later in the round, it was Semelsberger that went into the clinch first trying to land some damage. Sadly, with all the damage output from Morono, it seemed like a pretty clear round for him.

Semelsberger came in heavy early in the second round. He backed Morono into the fence but it didn’t phase Morono at all. Once again, it was Morono’s crisp, technical striking that was making the difference. He would avoid all of Matt’s big shots and land a quick jab or lengthy combo in response. Looking to avoid the striking, Semelsberger clinched up with Morono and even managed to find himself on top, raining down HUGE shots to close out the round. Once again, it really seemed like Morono did enough to win the round, but that late flurry may have tied it up on the judges cards.

After that though, the doctor was brought in to look at Semelsberger’s eye which had fully closed. After the doctor said everything was good, Semelsberger blitzed him, landed a HUGE knee and dragged him to the canvas. Morono got back up, but he was in rough shape. His output went way down, giving Semelsberger the chance to make his way back into the fight. With not a whole lot of output from Morono, it was a CLEAR round for Semelsberger, making the decision VERY interesting. I’d have scored it 29-28 for Morono, but I could’ve easily seen it going the other way. The judges ended up scoring it 29-28, 29-28 and 30-27 (???) for Morono.

Main Card Action

Fight #9

Magomed Ankalaev vs. Anthony Smith

Smith has been saying all week that people are a little bit too high on Ankalaev. Honestly, I agree with him, he’s nowhere near as dominant as people think he is. That being said, his style fits very well in this matchup, leaving Smith with some huge problems. With Ankalaev’s grappling and striking ability, I predicted Ankalaev would grind to a tight decision. Smith’s only shot is to grab a submission.

BLÜ’s Prediction

Ankalaev by Decision

As expected, both men really took their time early, careful not to make an early mistake. After four minutes of minimal action from both sides, Smith seemed to slip and found himself on his back. Even though Ankalaev didn’t jump on top of him, it didn’t look good. With that, the judges could have gone either way, but I had to give it to Ankalaev because of a couple extra strikes and the way the round ended.

This time, possibly due to an unstable ankle, Smith went in DEEP on a takedown. Smith was really close to getting it, but Ankalaev managed to position himself on top of Smith, raining down BOMBS. After a couple more heavy blows, the ref called it to stop. Immediately after the fight was over, Smith made it clear that he had broken his leg or his ankle and couldn’t stand up.

Result

Magomed Ankalaev def. Anthony Smith by TKO in the 2nd Round

The Future

It’s an unfortunate way to end the fight, especially with the fan-favourite Smith not really getting a chance to get anything going with that injury, but Ankalaev is still clearly a contender for the next title shot. Personally, I think that’s the fight that make sense for the new champ, Prochazka, but we may see a rematch with Glover first or a matchup with Blachowicz.

Fight #10

Alexandre Pantoja vs. Alex Perez

Both of these guys are EXTREMELY dangerous and explosive, but Pantoja seems to be the more well-rounded fighter with a better ground game. With his INSANE grappling skills, I predicted a submission win for Pantoja.

BLÜ’s Prediction

Pantoja by Finish

These men wasted absolutely no time with Pantoja landing BOMBS and Perez firing back. Using that momentum, Pantoja jumped on Perez’s back to work for an early submission. Less than a couple minutes and that was it as Pantoja snagged an INSANE submission.

Result

Alexandre Pantoja def. Alex Perez by Submission in the 1st Round

The Future

We already seem to have a title fight lined up, unifying the belts of Figueiredo and Moreno. That being said, it might take ‘Figgy’ too long to be ready. If he decides he can’t make weight any more, the next clear choice is Pantoja; he’s already beaten Moreno before and he’s lost to Figgy. With performances like this, you should be in the title conversation immediately.

Fight #11

Derrick Lewis vs. Sergei Pavlovich

When you’ve got two power punches, it’s almost always going to be the one who lands first that wins. Lewis has a much deeper skillset, a better chin and he’s known for getting in close and lighting people up until they collapse on the canvas. He’s more well-rounded and has more power, plus he’s in his home state of Texas. I gave Lewis the edge for a KO finish.

BLÜ’s Prediction

Lewis by Finish

Lewis made the first move, hitting Pavlovich with a couple of big ones. Sadly, that put him in range and he got lit up by Pavlovich. Unfortunately, he got backed up and was dropped by Sergei, leading to an early stoppage by the ref. I’m not one to call early stoppage… but Lewis wasn’t hit by most of the shots and he was clearly on his way back up. The crowd clearly agreed, hurling thunderous boos that drowned out Sergei’s entire speech.

Result

Sergei Pavlovich def. Derrick Lewis by TKO in the 1st Round

Co-Main Event (Interim Flyweight Title Fight)

Brandon Moreno vs. Kai Kara-France

KKF is a fantastic contender and has really been proving himself lately with his striking, but Moreno had three fights with one of the most feared, frightening and powerful flyweights in combat sports history. If Moreno can submit Figueiredo, even if he claims it was a rough night for him, he can easily do the same to Kara-France. I predicted a finish for the former champ, Moreno.

BLÜ’s Prediction

Moreno by Finish

Both men were careful to make an early move, but Moreno was landing some good jabs early. Kara-France landed the first BIG shot, but that allowed Moreno to clinch up and go for a takedown. Thankfully for him, he managed to get out of the grasp of Moreno. With such tight action, it was really up to the judges as to who they thought was winning because there was no clear winner.

The 2nd Round opened the exact same way, but shifted as Moreno pushed KKF into the fence. He couldn’t quite get him down, but he did land a couple of nasty elbows before letting him go. That was when Moreno started to really shine; he landed a couple more combos and threatened another takedown. Kai was doing well to defend and land some leg kicks, but it seemed clear that Moreno grabbed that round.

It started to VERY interesting the 3rd Round. Moreno threw a bad kick and found himself on the canvas with KKF landing some pretty heavy ground and pound. Luckily for Moreno, he got out of it and moved back to the feet, but he was cut open by a NASTY elbow. From there, Kai really started to open up and land some more combos. After a bit of time to recover, Moreno started to pressure hard again and move back to some combos of his own. Then, out of nowhere, Moreno landed a NASTY kick to the body that dropped Kai immediately. From there, he let loose the ground and pound until the ref stopped it. Once again, Brandon Moreno is holding the belt!

Result

Brandon Moreno def. Kai Kara-France by TKO in the 3rd Round

The Future

After quite the scene during Moreno’s victory speech, we seem to be lined up for a RARE quadrilogy fight between Moreno and Figueiredo. As I mentioned earlier, if ‘Figgy’ doesn’t make weight, the obvious next choice for Moreno is Pantoja. As for Kai-Kara France, he should feel proud because that was a fantastic performance against one of the best flyweights in UFC history. If we do end up seeing the quadrilogy, the best move would probably KKF against Pantoja or Perez. Either way, I’m sure this isn’t the last time he’ll get a title shot.

Main Event (Bantamweight Title Fight)

Julianna Peña vs. Amanda Nunes

We all know that Peña had a good chance here because she already did it once. We also know that Nunes clearly didn’t take the first fight seriously and seemed to also have problems training. This time, Nunes looked like her fiery self, ready to destroy Peña and get her belt back. It was also concerning that Peña almost didn’t make weight. This all seemed like a perfect recipe for Nunes to grab another INSANE, highlight reel finish.

BLÜ’s Prediction

Nunes by Finish

Interestingly, the ladies started off slow with neither woman pushing the pace. Taking a more technical approach this time around, Nunes waited and landed counters and kicks early, not trying to blitz too hard like last time. Once again though, Nunes landed the first HUGE shots, dropping Peña to her knees twice in the 1st Round. Peña responded with a couple of decent combos to close out the round, but it was a clear round for Nunes on the cards.

Right at the start of the 2nd Round, Nunes landed a NUKE that had Peña rolling on her back. The ref was close to stopping it, but Nunes let Peña back up… only to grab another MASSIVE knockdown. Incredibly, Peña was landing some good shots herself even after that, but got dropped for a THIRD time in the same round.

Keeping that WILD momentum going, Nunes opened the 3rd Round with a spinning elbow that stumbled Peña a bit. From there though, Peña had a good moment, pushing Nunes into the fence. Nunes shrugged it off, but Peña followed it up with a couple of heavy combos. Interestingly, Nunes then switched it up and dragged Peña to the ground. This started to look like a risky move as Peña tried to set up a submission. That being said, Nunes started to drop some elbows that sliced open Peña’s forehead. With Nunes up a DOMINANT three rounds, Peña really needed to do something special and push the pace.

Once again, Nunes opened the round with a HUGE takedown and started to smother Peña with her pressure and ground and pound. Just like before, Nunes was letting loose some ground and pound, but Peña kept threatening those armbars. After getting caught in a couple of loose armbars, Nunes looked like she was about to lose AGAIN, getting caught in a DEEP one. In spite of that, she still insisted on keeping the fight on the ground. They stood up for a bit and it looked a bit rough for Nunes; something looked really off.

For the third time in a row, Nunes opened the round with takedown, but seemed really laboured this time. Peña managed to get back up, but was once again dragged down. Just like before, Peña kept throwing out submissions, but now she was covered in blood. Nunes kept raining down HUGE elbows and shots and even worked for some submissions. With less than a minute left, Nunes locked in a DEEP submission herself, but let go, leaving it up to the judges. One of the rounds close, but it seemed clear that Nunes had won 49-46 or 50-45. The judges really placed some HEAVY emphasis on those early knockdowns, scoring it 50-45, 50-44 and 50-43 for the now TWO-TIME DOUBLE CHAMP, Amanda Nunes.

Result

Amanda Nunes def. Julianna Peña by Unanimous Decision

The Future

With a dominant win like that over Peña, there’s no question that Nunes is clearly the best in the UFC. No real plans were made, but it seems possible that she’ll be defending her featherweight belt next since it’s been quite a while. Who knows, maybe we’ll even see one of the top bantamweights like Vieira move up to 145 for the title shot. There’s also always the chance that we see the trilogy with Shevchenko; that’s also been discussed at quite a few press conferences. Considering the hype behind Peña, coupled with Holm’s loss, I think that’d be the best matchup going forward for both women.

BLÜ’s Record for the Night

Prelims: 2-0

Klose (W)

Dober (W)

Main Card: 4-1

Ankalaev (W)

Pantoja (W)

Lewis (L)

Moreno (W)

Nunes (W)

BLÜ BONUSES

KO of the Night: Brandon Moreno

Sub. of the Night: Alexandre Pantoja

Brawl of the Night: Julianna Peña vs. Amanda Nunes

Most Valuable Fighter (s)

Hamdy Abdelwahab

He came into this fight fairly inexperienced in MMA on a couple weeks notice, did VERY well against his first REAL opponent and went the full 15 minutes. If that wasn’t impressive enough, he’s also made a huge statement, being the first UFC fighter born in Egypt. An incredible story, fantastic heavyweight prospect and a great UFC debut.

Amanda Nunes

There’s really no need to justify this; Nunes DOMINATED Peña for 5 rounds after getting finished last time. We know that she had a lot of problems in her previous training camp, but it’s still impressive to come back and do this to someone who just finished you. That aside, she’s now the only person in UFC history to become a double champ TWICE and she’s close to beating some of the records set by Silva, Usman and Jones.

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