Can Amanda Nunes reclaim the UFC bantamweight belt? Will Brandon Moreno seize the interim title in opposition to Kai Kara-France to clinch a fourth struggle with flyweight champion Deiveson Figueiredo? UFC 277 will reply these questions and extra Saturday — and two-time UFC title challenger Kenny Florian has his picks.
A colour commentator and analyst for the PFL, Florian broke down the championship bouts on this week’s episode of MMA Combating podcast Trocação Franca.
“Whenever you’re forward of everyone else and is combating so many nice fighters, everyone else within the division is watching you,” Florian stated of Nunes. “You may see how they’re going to win. Each time you struggle, different folks and their groups can watch you and see what’s the most effective technique to beat you. For Amanda, I believe it’s exhausting to remain forward of everyone else for such a very long time.”
Nunes was on a roll heading into her first match with Peña in December 2021, having crushed each girls who’d beforehand held the UFC bantamweight and featherweight titles. She even gave the impression to be cruising in opposition to Peña earlier than slowing down within the second spherical, getting tagged on the toes, then submitted on the bottom.
“It’s exhausting to say why Amanda Nunes misplaced,” Florian stated. “I believe she’s so expert to remain on the toes to win by knockout, however I believe she wasn’t very calm at that second. I believe Peña was anticipating that, and [Nunes] had a lot strain over her. Whenever you’re champion for thus lengthy, generally — I don’t know if that’s the case with Amanda Nunes — champions not respect the opposite folks within the division.”
Nunes determined to go away American Prime Workforce shortly after dropping at UFC 269 to open her personal gymnasium in Florida. Florian thinks the choice may very well be a constructive one now that the Brazilian has a gaggle of coaches centered solely on her, however the closing reply will come Saturday.
“Amanda has extra expertise and energy, may be very robust and sensible too, and is nice on the bottom,” he stated. “I believe [Peña] was ready for Amanda to get drained, and when that occurred, she had extra power and strain, [and Nunes] misplaced. However I believe it’s important to take a look at the talents, and Amanda has extra energy and expertise. I believe a very powerful factor for the rematch is that if she will keep calm and be extra affected person as an alternative of forcing issues.
“I believe Peña has extra coronary heart. Amanda has lots of expertise, however we don’t know if she actually needs to be there as champion. If she has in her coronary heart to struggle once more and get her belt again, I believe Amanda will win. I believe she’s higher than Peña on the toes. She’s a jiu-jitsu black belt on the bottom too, however she must be in form and coaching exhausting. If she’s in form, I believe Amanda will win.”
Ultimately, Florian believes Nunes is competing for greater than a UFC belt in Dallas, but in addition the correct to as soon as once more be referred to as the best girls to ever compete in MMA.
“If she beats Peña, she will [erase that first] struggle. But it surely’s exhausting,” Florian stated. “I believe Amanda was the world’s best fighter of all-time. Should you take a look at how she was ending her fights on the bottom and on the toes, the ladies she’s crushed, like [Cris] Cyborg and Holly Holm and all of the others, she’s positively the best. However dropping this one to Peña, I believe it’s exhausting to return again from this.”
Florian, who as soon as challenged for the featherweight and light-weight belts within the UFC, additionally weighed in on the co-main occasion rematch between Moreno and Kara-France.
The veteran famous that he typically doesn’t when the UFC creates an interim belt only for the aim of promoting slightly of ready for Figueiredo to get well from his damage, however he understands the transfer to draw extra eyeballs to an occasion like UFC 277.
“Brandon Moreno misplaced to Deiveson and it was an incredible struggle, and Kai Kara-France may be very, excellent, very technical, and has many wins,” he stated. “His workforce is presumably the most effective on the earth proper now, whenever you take a look at Israel Adesanya and [Alexander] Volkanovski. They’re at such a excessive stage. I believe Kai Kara-France is a really robust struggle for Brandon, however Brandon is coaching so exhausting. I’ve skilled with Brandon earlier than and he’s so centered and good on the bottom, but it surely’s a really tough struggle with Kai Kara-France.”
Moreno received a call the primary time he fought Kara-France again in 2019, and Florian is predicting the identical final result on Saturday.
“They’re each good on the toes and on the bottom, however the edge for Moreno to win is on the bottom,” he stated. “Brandon has extra expertise, Kara-France has lots of confidence now. It’s exhausting to select, however I believe Brandon can win once more.”
A win for Moreno would arrange a fourth conflict with Figueiredo. If that occurs, Florian in the end expects the Brazilian to win yet another time.
“I believe Deiveson has extra energy together with his placing,” Florian stated. “Brandon Moreno was higher in mixing it up. Deiveson was a really totally different fighter final time they fought, although. If I had to decide on now who would win between Moreno and Deiveson, it’s exhausting, however I believe Deiveson has a little bit of an edge. He’s gotten higher together with his wrestling and have become extra affected person on the toes together with his placing.”