UFC 277 takeaways – Amanda Nunes leaves no doubt who the GOAT is, Moreno-Figueiredo rivalry is on again

What were the biggest moments at UFC 277 on a night where two fighters reclaimed the championship gold and rising stars battled for the title? Jeff Wagenheim, Marc Raimondi and Brett Okamoto offer their takeaways from a Dallas highlight event.

The world is back on its axis, gravity has regained its gravitational pull, and oxygen has returned to the atmosphere. Everything is normal in the world. The previously declared GOAT of women’s MMA is back and is now The Greatest of Right Now.

Amanda Nunes punched and bled Julianna Peña for five brutal one-sided rounds on Saturday night to regain her women’s bantamweight championship in the main event of UFC 277 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas. Thus, Nunes, who is also a featherweight champion, is back to her status as a rare champion to reign in two weight classes simultaneously.

Nunes, who left the American Top Team following her loss to Peña in December and opened her own gym, showed a new wrinkle in her game, showing off her established octagon smarts. Coupled with her physical prowess and toughness, Nune’s poise and command in the cage made her the best in the game.

The new look left Nunes fighting almost exclusively left-handed, which successfully made Peña hesitate with her advances. This allowed Nunes to operate from a distance where she could injure her opponent – which she did on multiple occasions, including three knockdowns in Round 2 – without putting herself in unnecessary danger.

Nunes got into such a flow that after using Peña for target practice during several stretches, she changed things by taking the fight to the canvas, where Nunes landed big elbows from the top position to throw Peña into bloody chaos transform.

Peña kept fighting like the champion she was. She was constantly trying to submit and she seemed on the verge of locking something up on a few occasions. But Nunes defended well every time, and after each escape she landed a hard elbow or punch in revenge. It was a virtuoso performance, gritty and graceful.

At 34, Nunes is still a fearsome force. And after 26 pro fights, she’s still motivated.

“I have the feeling that I can grow even more,” said Nunes in the Octagon after the win.

Attention top 135 pound women. And you too, 145-pounder.

Among Nunes’ performances that night, she did something few former UFC champions have done. She was the 13th to lose a title and get an immediate rematch, and 10 have failed to regain the belt. Before Nunes climbed back to the top of the world this weekend, only Deiveson Figueiredo and Randy Couture had seen that success.

“Write history once more!” Nunes said afterwards. “Double champion again, baby. -Jeff Wagenheim

Figueiredo vs. Moreno is shaping up to be one of the UFC’s finest rivalries



Brandon Moreno and Kai Kara-France hold nothing back as they go head-to-head in their UFC 277 match.

Kai Kara-France is an excellent fighter. A championship quality fighter. He has all the tools to succeed including some nice punches and one of the best gyms in the world behind him at City Kickboxing. But he couldn’t stand in the way of fate: Figueiredo vs. Moreno 4 was supposed to happen.

It should have been all along if it weren’t for Figueiredo’s hand injuries after their third fight in January. And now it’s getting serious, probably late this year or early next year. Moreno even said he would do it in Figueiredo’s home country of Brazil.

Let’s talk about that third fight for a second. Figueiredo won a close decision and it could have gone either way. Many thought Moreno had won. But almost everyone agreed that they should trace it back. How many times has that happened? After a trilogy, there was so much unfinished business that it was almost unanimous that they needed to go outside for another potential 25 minutes.

It’s madness And it’s legitimate. Figueiredo and Moreno are the top two flyweights in the world and every fight they’ve had has been action packed. From their 2020 draw that started it all, to Moreno choking Figueiredo in 2021 to become the first Mexican-born champion in UFC history, or to Figueiredo competing in the hard-fought fight at UFC 270 revenges in January.

This rivalry is certainly not the biggest draw in UFC history. Flyweights have had trouble selling in the past. There was rubbish talked, mostly on Figueiredo’s part. But the two appeared to make peace at the Octagon on Saturday night.

However, none of this matters. This series of fights highlights the skills both possess and will be looked at fondly for years to come. Figueiredo and Moreno will go down in the annals of UFC history together. There’s something cool about not just having a quadrilogy or a grudge game; this is a real generational rivalry.

Heck, let them do a best-of-seven series. Why not? – Marc Raimondi

Who is next for the outstanding fighters after UFC 277?

So who’s next for the title holders and top contenders? What’s next for the UFC book Magomed Ankalaev? Brett Okamoto plays matchmaker.

Amanda Nunes, world bantamweight champion

Who should be next? KetleVieira

You can immediately fight a third fight between Nunes and Julianna Peña. You definitely can. The series is 1-1. Both fights were super entertaining. So why do I suggest we move on? I suggest we move on at the moment. Throughout their bantamweight and featherweight title runs, we’ve waited a long time to find someone even remotely equal to Nunes. Now when we finally find one, will we do the same fight three times in one year? I think it would be a rush to do so.

Kudos to Peña for winning the first fight and kudos to her for making the second competitive, but Nunes clearly won the rematch. There is no controversy here. Let this story breathe for a minute. Build anticipation for a third fight rather than possibly assuage matchup fatigue by booking it outright. The champion now appears human and has realized that she is not invincible. Let’s give the next woman a chance.

Wildcard: Julianna Pena

As I said, you can absolutely do the trilogy next and I won’t complain. But I personally wouldn’t do that. I think there’s a 100 percent chance we’ll see this fight a third time. It makes too much sense to never happen again. I think it would benefit from some time to set up.

Brandon Moreno, interim world flyweight champion

Who should be next? Deiveson Figueiredo

You rarely see a situation in which the sport want seeing the same two fighters face off four times in less than three years, but that’s the situation we’re in at 125 pounds. This was the fight to make before Saturday. As good and deserving as Kai Kara-France was of this opportunity, the most important duel of this weight class is Figueiredo vs. Moreno. And although they fought three times, there are still unfinished business. The last fight was close. I wouldn’t say it was a robbery. I shot it for Figueiredo. But it left questions unanswered. It left us unsatisfied where the rivalry stood. Lead it back. And January in Brazil sounds phenomenal.

Wildcard: Alexandre Pantoja

If something unexpected happens to Figueiredo’s injury or contract, there’s a good (actually great) backup option in Pantoja. Of course, this is a distant second in relation to what should happen. It has to be Figueiredo vs. Moreno to unify the belts. But again, if anything were to happen, Pantoja clinched a first-round win over Alex Perez on Saturday, he has a previous win over Moreno in 2018 and he’s won three in a row.

Magomed Ankalaev, light heavyweight

Who should be next? Glover Teixeira

It all depends on which path the UFC takes with their champion Jiri Prochazka. Prochazka has asked for a fight against Teixeira to be brought back immediately.

I’d rather see him against Jan Blachowicz next. If that happens you’ll likely see another fight for Teixeira and I like this matchup. Some might accuse me of throwing Teixeira to Wolves as Ankalaev looks like a tough duel for anyone. But I’m tired of underestimating Teixeira just because he’s in his early 40s. The man has proven again and again that he’s still got it and is currently second in the division behind the champion. This is a fair fight for both.

Wildcard: Jan Blachowicz

If the UFC decides to book Prochazka vs Teixeira 2, then Ankalaev vs Blachowicz as the No. 1 contender fight makes perfect sense. UFC 277 takeaways – Amanda Nunes leaves no doubt who the GOAT is, Moreno-Figueiredo rivalry is on again

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