Sanabul Fight News: UFC 277
Honestly, there didn’t seem to be a crazy lead up around UFC 277, whether it was because of the lack of big names on the card, or the fact that we were spoiled by the past few big cards, the build-up was lackluster. Despite the low hype, the card was quite exciting, with a couple upsets and lots of showmanship, the fighters took advantage of the spotlight on Saturday night
Nicolae Negumereanu and Michael Morales took the early prelims by storm with some incredible performances against solid opponents. Nicolae was matched up against a Sambo master of sport in Ihor Potieria, but didn’t seem fazed by his opponents accomplishments in combat sports. Nicolae made it a war, and came out with Ihor’s head with a second round finish by mauling his opponent and landing a huge barrage of strikes with the ref having to stop the fight. Morales made a statement in his second UFC fight by knocking out Adam Fugitt in the third round after a relatively close fight, although Morales definitely showed his starpower and skills throughout the three rounds.
Drakkar Klose ended up winning a relatively close decision against a very game opponent in Rafa Garcia who had a couple good takedowns, but they weren’t enough to take the judges eyes off of Drakkar who was dominating the standup with lots of powerful strikes. Drakkar moves to 13-2-1 in a competitive Lightweight division and gets his second win in a row to move him up the rankings.
Hamdy Abdelwahab and Don’Tale Mayes had an extremely exciting heavyweight bout, which was very messy. Hamdy ended up winning the grappling exchanges with the two being relatively evenly matched on the feet. It was a fun fight to watch being an absolute brawl with not much technical work on the feet at all.
Drew Dober and Alex Morono finished off the preliminary card with some extremely exciting wins of their own, which surprised nobody especially with the opponents they were matched up against. Rafael Alves was a perfect match for Drew Dober, the two being extremely explosive, stocky, and fun strikers to watch any time they get out there. Alves was vibing with his classic dance moves pre-fight (and during) and Dober was relentless with his pressure and body shots, with one solid left hook to the body eventually paying dividends with Alves going down in the third round to a liver shot that put him crumpled on the ground. Drew Dober is an incredible lightweight, and I would expect to see him breaking the Top 10 again in terms of opponents, maybe even a Tony Ferguson next.
Alex Morono and Matthew Semelsberger had a war of a fight with the pair throwing over 200 strikes, and Matt stuffing 4/4 of Morono’s takedown attempts, it was an extremely fun fight to watch. In between rounds Matthew’s eye was looked at by doctors as it was closed up, but they allowed him to finish the fight, with Morono ending up taking the decision victory.
Anthony Smith and Magomed Ankalaev started off the main card, with Anthony being a +400 underdog at the sportsbooks. Anthony came out looking good with his striking, but a checked kick from Ankalaev ended up hurting the foot of Smith right before the end of the first round. When Anthony came out in the second he was not himself, Ankalaev took him down and got the finish via TKO to send Anthony to the hospital immediately to get his leg looked at. This is a sad loss to see from the fan-favorite Anthony Smith, and still doesn’t tell us how good Ankalaev really is.
Alexandre Pantoja and Alex Perez had a very interesting high-level wrestler vs grappler matchup at Flyweight, with Pantoja coming in with wins over Kai Kara-France and Brandon Moreno who were fighting for the Interim belt that evening. Pantoja came out like a bullet from a gun, and ended up locking in a very tight Rear-Naked Choke only 1:30 into the first round, getting a submission victory over Alex Perez, and calling for a title fight in his next bout, which may or may not happen depending on whether Figgy decides to stay in the flyweight division and defend his belt against Moreno again, or move up to Bantamweight.
Derrick Lewis and Sergei Pavlovich was an enticing fight to say the least, with Derrick in his third fight at home in Texas after losing the first two to extremely good opponents. Sergei came out hard, stunning Derrick quickly and knocking him down. The referee jumped in quickly and ended the fight when Derrick looked like he went limp, but immediately Derrick was up and disputing the decision, which was talked about for the rest of the night. Sergei received many boo’s from the audience during his post-fight interview, and even Joe Rogan told him he believed the fight was stopped early. Regardless, Derrick received his third loss in Texas, and Sergei earned a win over an amazing opponent on Saturday night.
The Co-Main event at flyweight between Brandon Moreno and Kai Kara-France was a highly anticipated Interim title fight, with Moreno having earned the first win between the two men in a three rounder in 2019. The fight started off evenly, with Moreno slowly pulling away as the fight went on, eventually dropping Kai in the third round and getting the win via TKO on the ground. Moreno ended up on the mic post-fight telling Deiveison he does not hate him, and we would love to accept a fight with him again to try and win his flyweight belt back after an extremely close decision loss which ended with Figueiredo taking his belt from him in January.
Amanda Nunes and Julianna Pena in the highly anticipated rematch was a main event everyone was excited about. Pena taking the first matchup via submission was something nobody was expecting, but Amanda made it clear that she takes responsibility for not training hard enough, and she needed somebody to challenge her to work harder after so many years of being stagnant with opponents who were too easy. Nunes looked incredible from start to finish in the rematch, dominating Julianna everywhere to a 50-43 victory, with a statement so incredible nobody needs to see a rematch to know who would win. A motivated Nunes is the greatest female fighter of all time, and if she stays motivated it will likely take her retiring for another woman to become champion in either of those divisions again.