UFC 277 Pena vs Nunes Picks and Predictions: Amanda Takes Back the Belt

Following Julianna Pena's improbable upset win over Amanda Nunes last year, Nunes looks to seek revenge against the current Women's Bantamweight Champion. Find out why we're backing the Lioness in our Pena vs. Nunes picks.

Last Updated: Jul 30, 2022 1:12 PM ET Read Time: 4 min

Julianna Peña vs. Amanda Nunes 2 is the main event for UFC 277 betting on July 30. This is a highly anticipated rematch after Peña pulled off one of the biggest upsets in UFC history last December when she finished Nunes as a +700 underdog. 

UFC betting odds are giving her a much better chance this time, but Nunes is still a significant favorite at -275, with the new women's bantamweight champ Peña coming back at +225.

Here are our best free UFC 277: Peña vs. Nunes 2 picks and predictions tonight from the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas.

Pena vs Nunes fight odds

Live odds courtesy of the Covers Line, an average comprised of odds from multiple sportsbooks.

Pena vs Nunes method of victory odds

Method of Victory Julianna Pena Amanda Nunes
To win by KO/TKO +1,200 +145
To win by Points +550 +420
To win by Submission +490 +500
Draw +5,000 +5,000

Odds courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook on July 26, 2022.

Pena vs Nunes picks

Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.

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Pena vs Nunes betting preview

Last December, Julianna Peña shocked the world when she submitted Nunes with a rear-naked choke in the second round. That victory improved her record to 7-2 in the octagon, with her only defeats coming against two of the best women's fighters on the planet — Germaine de Randamie and Valentina Shevchenko.

The "Venezuelan Vixen" is a grappling specialist who is at her best on the mat, but she did an excellent job of landing her jab and trading shots in the pocket in the second round against Nunes.

Amanda "The Lioness" Nunes is widely considered the greatest female fighter in MMA history. Prior to December's loss, she had reeled off 12 consecutive wins — including nine straight in title fights. 

Nunes has defeated both Shevchenko and de Randamie twice while also having first-round finishes over former champs Holly Holm, Cris Cyborg, Ronda Rousey, and Miesha Tate.

The Lioness is a complete fighter with terrific grappling ability, powerful takedowns, and vicious ground and pound. Her powerful and accurate striking really sets her apart, as she lands 4.55 significant strikes per minute while absorbing just 2.81.

Pena vs Nunes tale of the tape

Julianna Pena   Amanda Nunes
32 Age 34
5-foot-7 Height 5-foot-8
135lbs Weight 135 lbs
69 inches Reach 69 inches
11-4 (3 KOs) Record 21-5 (13 KOs)

Pena vs Nunes UFC prediction and best bet

Our prediction is compiled from the analysis of the fighters and is an indication of who we are leaning with to win this bout.
Our best bet is the play that we like the most for this fight or where the most value lies, and is where we would put some of our bankroll behind.

Nunes might have been a tad overconfident going into her last fight, which can happen when you've rarely been tested in seven years. She had plenty of success in the first round, both in the stand-up position and on the mat, but her overconfidence in her grappling ability almost led to a Kimura from Peña.

She looked both gassed and reckless in the second round, taking shots to the face from Peña but refusing to change her tactics and continuing to try to walk down her opponent.  I overlooked Nunes' conditioning in that fight since she hadn't fought at bantamweight since 2019, and her last two fights had been at 145. 

That said, we've seen Nunes with much better cardio in the past, and she has likely shored up that weakness while training for the rematch. If she doesn't push for an early finish and conserves her energy, she has the tools to pick apart Peña. 

Expect a more methodical and conservative approach from Nunes this time around as she regains her belt. 

Prediction: Nunes ML (-275 at DraftKings)

Nunes' 12-fight winning streak stretched all the way back to 2015 and revealed an interesting trend. While seven of those 12 wins ended by first-round finish, the other five went at least a full three rounds.

Piggybacking off our previous narrative about Nunes, I'm expecting a more measured approach from the Lioness in this one. I don't think she'll go all out in the early striking exchanges or follow Peña to the mat for an extended grappling session since she now knows the danger of such an approach. 

Instead, expect her to conserve her energy and mix in her striking with her wrestling as she adopts a more defensive style. That should lead to this fight going till at least midway through the third round. 

Pick: Over 2.5 rounds (-115 at DraftKings)

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