UFC 277: Julianna Peña vs Amanda Nunes 2 came and went last weekend, but boy did it deliver. After the first encounter between then champion Nunes and Peña, fans were left with so many questions. Nunes answered those questions in the rematch with a dominant five-round performance to take back her belt. She showed why she is known as the WMMA GOAT.
In the co-main event, Brandon Moreno beat Kai Kara-France in an amazing back-and-forth affair to claim the flyweight interim belt. Putting on my UFC matchmaker hat, his victory will now set up the UFC’s first quadrilogy between him and Deiveson Figueiredo. The rest of the card featured six sexy finishes.
UFC Matchmaker: Amanda Nunes vs Valentina Shevchenko 3
While there are discussions of a trilogy between Peña and Nunes because they are 1-1 respectfully, it’s not a fight I want to see right now. The fact Nunes beat Peña so dominantly (50-45, 50-43, 50-44), I don’t feel like we need to see a third fight any time soon. That’s not to say I’m not open to it if Peña gets a couple more wins and works on her all-around game to earn it, but “heart” can only take you so far!
Valentina Shevchenko, on the other hand, has been cruising through the flyweight division and is a winner of nine straight fights, while Nunes has thoroughly dominated all of her competition apart from the Peña loss, which she just righted. At UFC 215: Nunes vs Schevchenko 2, I was one of the media that thought “The Bullet” won. This is the fight to make!
Winner: Brandon Moreno
UFC Matchmaker: Brandon Moreno vs Deiveson Figueiredo 4
This is the easiest match-up and the only one that is really guaranteed for that matter. Moreno did what he needed to do in getting his fourth-round stoppage of Kai Kara-France. With it, he secured the interim belt (which I think should be silver) and a guaranteed match-up against the champion Figueiredo.
With the current matchup 1-1-1, it’s only fitting they fight in the UFC first quadrilogy. I’m a HUGE Moreno fan and want to see this fight to put it in the rearview mirror for both fighters, respectfully.
UFC Matchmaker: Sergei Pavlovich vs Jairzinho Rozenstruik
Okay, hear me out though before you lose yourself and hate me for having someone on a four-fight win streak in the UFC heavyweight division face someone on a two-fight losing streak inside the eight walls.
Jairzinho Rozenstruik has lost to the division’s best in Alexander Volkov, Curtis Blaydes, Cyril Gane, and the current champion Francis Ngannou. Pavlovich’s only top-quality opponents to me have been Derrick Lewis and Alistair Overeem. One fight was stopped too early, and the other one he was finished in under a round. I think this is a perfect matchup for them to figure themselves out in a growing and crowded heavyweight top 10 and division in general. The winner would get a true top-five opponent next.
Winner: Alexandre Pantoja
UFC Matchmaker: Wait for the title shot….or Kai Kara-France.
This is a tough spot for Pantoja and the flyweight division in general, to be honest. With Figueiredo vs Moreno 4 coming, the logjam it has created for contenders has still come a long way from the days when Dana White wanted to erase the division.
Pantoja can either wait here for the winner of the quadrilogy or fight against the most recent title challenger in Kara-France, but this also depends on how soon Kara-France wants to get back into the cage. Either way, Askar Askarov vs Brandon Royval has been booked (I love this fight for Royval), so this fight makes sense for Pantoja if he wants to remain active, and relevant for that matter.
Winner: Magomed Ankalaev
UFC Matchmaker: Magomed Ankalaev vs Jan Blachowicz
Although Jan Blachowicz wants a title fight, his last win was underwhelming at best with the injury to Aleksandar Rakić. Under normal circumstances, winning nine in a row as Ankalaev has done, would warrant a title shot, but today that is not the case.
Newly crowned champ Jiří Procházka would prefer to give former champion and legend Glover Teixeira an immediate title shot and rematch. Honestly, I’d have no hard feelings about that choice. If that happens, we are left with two guys trying to persuade White and Sean Shelby on who should get the next title shot between Ankalaev and Blachowicz. The best solution for both the fighters and the matchmakers is to put them together in a title eliminator.
Be sure to check back to see what’s next for the UFC 277 prelim winners.