UFC 277 Picks: Nunes vs. Pena 2, Perez vs. Pantoja, Negumereanu vs. Potieria – July 30, 2022

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Stuart StalterJuly 27, 2022, 02:43 PM

Will Julianna Pena break Amanda Nunes’ fighting spirit again? Will UFC 277 break the recent headliner injury curse? Will you exceed the break-even point betting on this event?

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Nicolae Negumereanu vs. Ihor Potieria Pick: Negumereanu Moneyline | +114 at FanDuel

Light Heavyweight | Early Prelims | 6 p.m. ET

Place me at +1000000 odds to spell Nicolae Negumereanu’s name correctly without cheating five minutes from now. 

The spelling bee nightmare’s style spells disaster for Potieria Saturday. Negumereanu throws tighter hooks than Potieria’s stronger-yet-sloppier hooks. Hooks counter hooks in boxing.

Negumereanu demonstrates an educated jab for the lower levels, which Potieria doesn’t have. Negumereanu operates that jab with a three-inch reach advantage.

The technically superior boxer enters with more UFC experience as well. Negumereanu has endured 16 rounds of action inside the Octagon, compared to Potieria only fighting once on “Dana White’s Contender Series.”

Wisdom quips “experience is the best teacher.” Expect the light heavyweight the higher experience and striking levels to school Potieria Saturday.

This situation looks like a classic case of oddsmakers engaging in record betting.

Alex Perez vs. Alexandre Pantoja Pick: Pantoja Moneyline | -170 at FanDuel

Flyweight | Main Card | 10 p.m. ET

Alexandre Pantoja presents danger wherever most fights take place. 

His versatile striking creates problems. He has never been knocked out in 29 professional fights. His takedown defense has significantly improved in the last three years. 

Pantoja plays for pandemonium in the ground game. He owns crafty Brazillian jiu-jitsu that has created 9 career submission wins, 3 concluding UFC fights. 

Alex Perez’s stiff approach invites another clawed notch in the submission win column. Four opponents have submitted him. 3 of Perez’s 4 submission losses derived from guillotine chokes. All but one of Pantoja’s submission victories resulted from a choke.

Perez returning from a 20-month layoff exacerbates the worrisome submission situation. Ring rust erodes timing, natural feel and reaction time reduced by muscle memory.

I like Pantoja’s moneyline odds considering the circumstances. Keep an eye on the submission victory prop once more major sportsbooks expand UFC 277 selections.

More UFC 277 Picks from OddsJam

Julianna Pena (c) vs. Amanda Nunes Pick: Nunes Moneyline | -265 at DraftKings

Women’s Bantamweight | Main Event | 1 a.m. ET

Julianna Pena shocked the sports world with her upset over Amanda Nunes as a +700 underdog. 

She deserves credit for constantly pushing the pace forward without wilting under the animalistic power “The Lioness” devours most opponents with. 

However, Nunes limped into UFC 269 a wounded beast. She battled COVID-19 leading into the contest, zapping her lung capacity.

Rear naked chokes often work as a result of the victim being too fatigued to have the will to technically hand fight to defend the attack. 

Pena being the first combatant in a long time not to look timid or fold after getting initially dropped by Nunes applied jarring effects to wear down Nunes mentally as well. Being in a far tougher fight than expected caught her by surprise before submission.

I predict the hard lesson taught Nunes to take Pena very seriously. I foresee WMMA’s longest-reigning queen throwing tighter and more selective shots, while being very mindful of big actions on the ground that empty the gas tank.

Cutting to 135 pounds as a broadly built WMMA fighter for the first time in several years assisted with energy depletion. This second instance free of health scares should prove smoother.

Cardio issues have made occasional cameos in Nunes’ filmworthy run of dominance. She also showed a strong ability to pace herself across five rounds against the likes of Germaine de Randamie and Valentina Shevchenko. 

The fight game is as mental as it is physical. Expect a sharper Nunes with the same fight-deciding power boosted by new wisdom gained from her first loss in almost eight years. People forget Nunes floored Pena twice in the first fight.

Moving away from American Top Team to a home gym concerns me more than UFC 269’s events.

Assuming Nunes enters the Octagon with motivation and an unsubstantial amount of lasting lung damage from the COVID-19 struggle, I anticipate the old and improved Lionness to reclaim her familiar position as queen of the WMMA jungle.

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