UFC 277: Peña vs. Nunes 2 Best Bets

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Brandon Moreno celebrates after defeating Deiveson Figueiredo to win the flyweight championship during their UFC 263 match. (Photo by Christian Petersen / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)

UFC 277 will be a card you do not want to miss because there will be plenty of fiery rematches. Headlining this card, Amanda Nunes will seek to avenge her title against Julianna Pena. Shockingly, the UFC odds still favor Nunes and not the current champ. 

As always, I want to highlight two contests that I think will be filled with excitement until the very last minute. Read below for my UFC picks for: Magomed Ankalaev vs. Anthony Smith and Brandon Moreno vs. Kai Kara-France

Magomed Ankalaev vs. Anthony Smith 

UFC Light Heavyweight Main Card Bout

Saturday, July 30, 2022 – 10:00 PM EDT at American Airlines Center

Fighters Analysis

Magomed Ankalaev

Magomed Ankalaev is a Russian mixed martial artist with a current professional record of 16 wins (8T/KO, 8 Decisions) and 1 loss (1 Submission). 

Currently ranked #4 in the UFC light heavyweight division, Ankalaev is a highly skilled wrestler and a technical striker. Although he doesn’t strike in high volume, he is still lethal if he has a clean connection. 

Anthony Smith

Anthony “Lionheart” Smith is an American mixed martial artist with a current professional record of 36 wins (19 T/KO, 14 Submissions, 2 Decisions, 1 N/A) and 16 losses (9 T/KO, 4 Submissions, 3 Decisions). 

Lionheart is currently ranked #5 in the UFC light heavyweight division. Smith is a higher volume striker than Ankalaev and has finished his last three opponents inside the distance (two submissions and 1 T/KO).


Ankalaev vs. Smith: Odds Breakdown

UFC odds via BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review):

  • Magomed Ankalaev (-600)
  • Anthony Smith (+400)

Ankalaev vs. Smith: Betting Pick and Prediction

Ankalaev has been making his way up the rankings and is seeking that title shot opportunity against Jiri Prochazka. I think Smith will be great competition for him as he has the edge in his experience. Smith is a higher volume striker than Ankalaev, but his gas tank is going to wear down by the second round and Ankalaev will be able to win a decision contest. 

Expect Smith to want to switch up levels to attempt to tie up Ankalaev with his jiu-jitsu skills, but let’s not forget how strong Ankalaev is in his wrestling. He will be able to control Smith and suffocate him on the ground, but I don’t expect a submission finish. 

If you reference Anthony Smith’s fight against Glover Teixeira, you will see why he is nicknamed Lionheart. Teixeira was literally pounding Smith on the ground until his teeth were falling out. That lasted until the fifth round, and this contest is only three. 

Ankalaev will be able to win a technical bout, but don't be surprised if he is capable of a knockout. I’m putting my faith in the durability of Smith’s chin. 

UFC Pick: Magomed Ankalaev by Points (+110) at BetOnline

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Magomed Ankalaev by Points (+110)
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Brandon Moreno vs. Kai Kara-France

UFC Flyweight Co-Main Event Interim Title Bout

Saturday, July 30, 2022 - 10:00 PM EDT at American Airlines Center

Fighters Analysis

Brandon Moreno

Brandon “the Assassin Baby” Moreno is a Mexican mixed martial artist with a current professional record of 19 wins (3 T/KO, 11 Submissions, 5 Decisions), 6 losses (6 Decisions), and 2 Draws. 

Moreno is a technical striker and a solid wrestler. Now the former UFC flyweight champ, Moreno’s last three contests were all against Deiveson Figueiredo. 

Kai Kara-France

Kai “Don’t Blink” France is a New Zealand mixed martial artist with a current professional record of 24 wins (11 T/KO, 3 Submissions, 10 Decisions) and 9 losses (2 T/KO, 3 Submissions, 4 Decisions). 

Don’t Blink is a lethal kickboxer with a high pace. His lethal weapons are his leg kicks. Take a look back to their first bout in 2019; Kara-France put up a beating to Moreno’s legs, so I expect him to attempt this route again. 


Moreno vs. Kara-France: Odds Breakdown

UFC odds via BetOnline:

  • Brandon Moreno (-210)
  • Kai Kara-France (+180)

Moreno vs. Kara-France: Betting Pick and Prediction

These two contenders first fought each other back in December 2019 at UFC 245 and Brandon Moreno won via unanimous decision. Like any other fighter, they both have grown in their own ways. 

Kara-France’s striking could be a bit more clean and accurate than Moreno's, but he does not have the five-round experience Moreno has. Moreno will try to implement more of his wrestling into the mix, but Kai has a pretty sharp takedown defense. I expect this to be a standing fight unless Kara-France willingly wants to go to the ground. 

Kara-France will be chipping away at the lead leg of Moreno, but Moreno will switch up his striking and attempt to mix in some grappling - something Kara-France isn’t as comfortable with. 

Moreno will have the momentum behind his back and will feel comfortable inside the octagon with the New Zealand native. For your best bets, take the points with the former champ. 

UFC Pick: Brandon Moreno by Points (+130) at BetOnline

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Brandon Moreno by Points (+130)
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*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.