Juliana Pena shocked the world last year with one of the most upset victories the UFC has seen, but now she has to back it up.
The UFC bantamweight champion belt is the best female fighter the sport has ever seen – Brazilian Amanda Nunes.
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When Moreno made a statement, it should not be for Kiwi Cara-France
Kiwi Kai Cara-France was hoping that this would be different, to finally realize a long-held dream and capture the world title.
But Brandon Moreno made a statement in the third round when he overcame some tough odds to score a stoppage win.
The win sees Moreno retain his interim bantamweight belt and puts the now cagey Davison Figueredo in line to challenge him for a fourth time.
A low kick from Cara-France stopped the action early, though a quick restart saw Moreno land a big right hook.
Moreno was finding success with his left hook, but the Kiwi landed a right hook of his own in the closing minutes.
The second round continued what had been an incredibly competitive fight earlier, with Moreno picking up the pressure and speed, landing body kicks and punches to end the round.
Daniel Cormier commented: “When Cara-France started so fast, it happened in the first battle. Moreno said I’m too dog for you.
Moreno, though, struggled in the third round when the Mexican’s eyes began to open when he was elbowed by Cara-France.
Cormier said Moreno was becoming “apathetic” while Rogan said he was “losing his composure” after the Mexican opened up.
Cara-France started to gain the upper hand with a big one-two and strong leg kicks, but suddenly Moreno continued to shoot back with a strong leg kick.
Sensing his moment, Moreno lands a shocking body kick that sends Cara-France to the canvas and rushes to begin ground and pound on Cara-France.
“He was hurt badly,” Cormier said in the comments.
“What a fantastic performance. He was punching but he fouled him, he fouled him.
Controversy that Pavlovich will stop the black beast
Derrick Lewis was less than impressed when he protested following a controversial stoppage loss in his fight with Sergey Pavlovich.
Both fighters were swinging early before Pavlovic fired and crowded Lewis, at one point when referee Dan Miragliotta called the fight off after 55 seconds.
Lewis immediately objected, and he wasn’t the only one upset by the decision.
“He immediately jumped up, but Cormier said, ‘You’ve got to let somebody shoot,'” Rogan said in his comments.
“Honestly in the replay, not many shots were missed,” Anick added.
“I did my job, I’m very happy with my performance,” Pavlovic said when asked if the termination was too early.
Ankalaev’s departure continues to take its toll on Smith
Magomed Ankalayev continues to rise up the UFC light heavyweight ranks and could be on the verge of a title shot after a second-round TKO of Anthony Smith.
Smith himself said at the beginning of the week that he will have the opportunity to go for the title after defeating Ankalav, which he described as “very basic”, to silence the doubters.
It was Ankalaev who staked his claim to the title, though, as his win over Smith became his eighth-straight, tying Lyoto Machida for the second-longest streak in the division’s history.
Smith, meanwhile, was on a three-fight winning streak before running into Ankalaev and claiming to have broken his leg after the loss.
“He said he had a broken leg,” Rogan said in his comments.
“I think one of the kicks in the first round might have put him in.”
Smith slipped up late in the first round and found himself on the back foot, with Ankalaev taking full advantage with a vicious series of punches.
The American backed into his corner after the round and it quickly became clear that there was an issue for Smith, although it was not known at the time how serious it was.
It wasn’t until Smith stood up in the second round, at which point he told the corner he believed his leg was broken.
Rogan added: “Anthony Smith, he’s got a broken leg and he’s talking, obviously he’s in a very serious situation, and Ankalaev is on top of him.”
“He can’t really explode with one leg and then get out.”
Cormier added, “If his leg is broken like he said, he won’t be able to get up to turn around.”
But Ankalav, many say, will fight for the championship eventually. This may be the only fight that earns him that title shot.
Speaking to Rogan after the fight, Ankalayev didn’t know Smith’s leg was broken, but said, “Who do you think broke it? hit me.”
Samelsberger Stones suffered an ‘ugly’ injury in the defeat of GUTSY
Matthew Semelsberger didn’t raise his hand on Sunday, but he got a lot of respect from the UFC world after his crazy fight with Alex Morono.
Morono did a lot of damage early on, landing right hands as Semmelsberger’s left eye began to swell rapidly, winning by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27).
It was seconds late when Semmelsberger landed a few vicious right elbows, but by then Rogan called for the fight to be stopped.
The condition of his left eye was such that Anik described the swelling as “ugly”.
“They have to see this eye in the corner,” Rogan said.
“That thing is bad. I don’t think he saw the right hands coming at all. I think you can order a stand here. It’s terrible.”
Semmelsberger was attended by a doctor but he gave her the all clear and reacted with shock, stopping Morone from guard to open the third round.
Although Morono was able to recover, he finished the fight and landed most of the damage in the first two rounds, landing Semmelsberger 51 of 88 significant punches.
Dober close to history after a fierce Tico winner
Rafael Alves pushed Drew Dober for three laps, but the American powerhouse arrived at just the right time.
Dober (25-11 MMA, 12-6 UFC) is tied for the second most knockout victories in UFC lightweight history with seven, trailing only Dustin Poirier with eight.
Dober went to the body early in the third, a strategy that soon paid off as Alves fell to the ground in pain.
“Left hook to the body. The body was a big win for Drew Dober in a three-round shootout,” Anik commented.
“That was beautiful,” Rogan replied.
“That left hook looks like a baseball bat on the side of the beef. It was the right place. “
Speaking to Rogan post-fight, Dober gave credit to Alves for making it such an entertaining fight.
“I want it [wild] He will fight,” he said.
“Hats off to Rafael Alves. Yes, the fights I know are going to be fun. Every time he walks in here, he’s a fun guy. It was a blessing to be a part of it.”
UFC 277 full fight card and results
Juliana Pena (c) Amanda Nunes 2 for the UFC bantamweight title
Brandon Moreno Defy. Kai Cara-France via third-round TKO for the interim UFC flyweight title
Sergey Pavlovich def Derrick Lewis via first round TKO – Heavyweight
Alexander Pantoja def Alex Perez in first round submission – flyweights
Magomed Ankalav def Anthony Smith by TKO (Round 2, 3:09) – Light Heavyweight
Alex Morono def. Matthew Semmelsberger via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27) — Welterweights
Drew Dober d. Rafael Alves via knockout (Round 3, 1:33) – Welterweights
Hamdi Abdelwahab dared. Don’Tale Mayes via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28) — Heavyweights
Drakkar Klose Defi. Rafa Garcia by Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28) – Lightweight
Michael Morales def Adam Fugitt at Tico (Round 3, 1:09) – Welterweight
Joselyne Edwards def. Ji Yoon Kim via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 30-27) — bantamweights
Orion Cosse d. Blood Diamond by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28) — Welterweight
Nicolae Negumeranu Def. Ihor Potieria via TKO (Round 2, 3:33) – Lightweight
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Full UFC 277 preview:
Juliana Pena shocked the world at UFC 269, submitting Amanda Nunes to retain the Women’s Bantamweight Championship. Now, she has a chance to do it again.
Certainly, it wouldn’t be all that surprising if Pena did it this time, offending Nunes once more.
But she entered the main event of UFC 277 as an outsider for once, and she had the chance to prove that the result had more to do with what Nunes did right in the Octagon than what he did wrong.
Nunes looked unstoppable for long, ending a 12-fight winning streak with eight finishes to become the first woman to simultaneously hold UFC titles in two different weight divisions.
She quickly cemented her place as one of the greatest fighters in the sport’s history. But then she ran into Pena.
Still, Joe Rogan said before Sunday’s fight that Nunes is “among the most destructive forces in any weight class, any division, male or female.”
“What she’s been able to do throughout her career is legendary,” Rogan added.
She is the consensus number 1 greatest female fighter of all time, but the way she beat Juliana Pena and the way she called her was going to put her in deep water and she said she was going to drown. And that’s what she did.
She took it back, clinched it and retained the title, and because of that, this fight is so amazing. Can Juliana do it again? “
Ultimate guide: Everything you need to know before UFC 277
It’s a question that Pena has been asked constantly since her first fight, she wants to prove that the victory over Nunes at UFC 269 was nothing and instead that now is her moment in the spotlight.
“At 135 (pounds), I believe her (Nunes’) time as champion is over and her era is over,” Pena told Fox Sports’ Fight Week.
“She passed the torch and I’m not going to give it back and now it’s my turn.”