Saturday, August 13, 2022

UFC 277 predictions, odds, best bets: Amanda Nunes, Brandon Moreno among top picks to consider

The UFC hits Texas on Saturday when UFC 277 goes down from American Airlines Center in Dallas. The card is anchored by a pair of championship bouts, including Amanda Nunes looking to regain the women’s bantamweight championship from Julianna Pena in the night’s main event.

Pena scored a shocking upset over Nunes when the pair met at UFC 269 in December 2021. That win ended the most dominant run in the history of women’s MMA, wherein Nunes beat every top name and champion in the UFC’s bantamweight and featherweight divisions.

In the co-main event, former flyweight champion Brandon Moreno looks to get his hands on gold once again when he battles Kai Kara-France for the interim belt at 125 pounds. The pair previously met at UFC 245 with Moreno taking a unanimous decision victory.

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The undercard features some rising contenders in other weight classes as well. Sergei Pavlovich gets his toughest test to date when he takes on veteran knockout artist Derrick Lewis. Pavlovich has won his last three fights by TKO, including a victory in March that marked his first action since 2019. Plus, light heavyweights Magomed Ankalaev and Anthony Smith are set to open the PPV card in what many believe to be a No. 1 contender’s bout.

The 13-fight card is loaded with intriguing fights, making it the kind of event that can draw plenty of interest from bettors. Luckily for those looking to put a bit of money on the fights, Caesars Sportsbook has you covered for nearly every angle of UFC 277 to get in on the action. We’re going to give you a few options to consider with this card from our favorite moneyline play, prop play and parlay play. Let’s take a closer look at those picks now.

Best moneyline pick

Don’tale Mayes (-180) vs. Hamdy Abdelwahab

There are a lot of things going against Abdelwahab coming into the fight. First of all, he is debuting on short notice, stepping in to replace Justin Tafa. Initially, that didn’t matter to the oddsmakers as Abdelwahab opened as a slight favorite at many sportsbooks. Those lines flipped fairly quickly and Mayes moved to a narrow favorite and then the current line. There’s still value here as Mayes, while not elite, is a more battle-tested fighter with 13 fights, four in the Octagon. Abdelwahab has three pro MMA fights and two bare-knuckle MMA bouts, winning four of those in less than 35 seconds against low-tier competition, including twice beating the same guy. Abdelwahab has power and a very solid wrestling background, but it’s hard to want to bet on the guy with no meaningful experience taking a fight on short notice against an experienced and dangerous fighter coming in off a full training camp.

Best prop pick

Drew Dober vs. Rafael Alves under 2.5 rounds (-170)

Dober vs. Alves is an interesting fight in a lot of ways. Not the least of which is that both men are solid finishers while being susceptible to being finished themselves. 61% of Dober’s fights have not reached the judges while Alves has seen 80% of his fights finished inside the distance. Dober likely has the edge overall and with his hard-charging but technical striking, it wouldn’t be unlikely that he blasts out Alves early. Alves, meanwhile, throws everything behind wild haymakers and also very efficient chokes. It’s a recipe for a finish before the fight hits the final 2:30.

Best parlay pick

Drew Dober (-210) vs. Rafael Alves

Brandon Moreno (-210) vs. Kai Kara-France

Amanda Nunes (-270) vs. Julianna Pena

Parlay total (+209)

We already outlined that we believe Dober vs. Alves ended in under 2.5 rounds, but when it comes to the direct question of who walks out as the winner, Dober feels like the obvious choice. He is simply too good and is unlikely to fall into making the kind of mistakes Alves relies on in his best performances. Kara-France is getting the big fight he deserves when he battles Moreno for the interim flyweight belt. Unfortunately for Kara-France, Moreno is operating at an extremely high level at this point in his career. He’s 1-1-1 against Deiveson Figueiredo and has proven he can hang with the best flyweight in the world, if he doesn’t hold that title himself. Kara-France will need a career-best performance and Moreno will need to slip up for this fight to go against the odds — and against the way their previous meeting went. Pena had a bit of the magic Kara-France needs when she beat Nunes in their first meeting. It’s hard to imagine everything breaks Pena’s way again this time around. Instead, Nunes returning to her dominant self is the expectation.

Who wins UFC 277: Peña vs. Nunes 2? And what other picks do you need to see? Visit SportsLine now to get detailed top picks on UFC Fight Night, all from the insider who’s up more than $10,000 on MMA picks the past two years, and find out.

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