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UFC 277 MMA Betting Odds

MMA Bets

Another week, another fight card. This time we have UFC 277 in Dallas, featuring a pair of championship fights and rematches. In the co-main event, we get to witness former champion Brandon Moreno welcome Kai Kara France to new heights in the division, as one fighter seeks to set up a rematch with the current champion and the other looks to break through as the interim champ and No. 1 contender for the first time in his career. The main event fight features a rematch between two of the sport’s most dangerous women, when Amanda Nunes looks to recapture her belt and current champion Julianna Peña looks to solidify herself as one of the toughest women alive and only woman to have stopped the sport’s most decorated and dominant champion.


Below I break down the 13-fight slate and give insight on the way each fighter can find success in the cage on Saturday night. All of the odds mentioned are provided from BetMGM.

Cosce vs. Mathetha Odds

Orion Cosce -185, Mike Mathetha +150

After twice being rescheduled, we finally get to see Cosce and Blood Diamond lead off the UFC 277 prelims. Fighting out of Team Alpha Male, Cosce is 7-1-0 overall and 1-1 in the UFC with a win on the contender series and a loss in his debut against Phillip Rowe. He is 5-foot-11 with a 71-inch reach and averages 3.70 strikes landed per minute, landing his strikes accurately 55% of the time. He absorbs 3.12 strikes per minute and defends 52% of strikes attempted. Cosce attempts 1.87 takedowns per fight, accurately landing 42% of his attempts while defending 70% of takedown attempts. Representing Team Alpha Male, it’s no surprise Cosce possesses a wrestling-heavy style, usually grinding his opponents up against the cage until he finds his way to the mat. Cosce will stand and bang and does not shy away from looking for a finish, but one issue is that he can get confident standing with the wrong opponent and pay for it the way he did against Rowe. Cosce has yet to see the scorecards, averaging just 8:26 of fight time and only reaching the third round twice.

Mike “Blood Diamond” Mathetha is 3-1-0 overall in his MMA career and 0-1 in the UFC after a loss in his debut to Jeremiah Wells. Fighting out of the famed City Kickboxing in New Zealand, Blood Diamond is no stranger to combat, having fought over 100 kickboxing matches and winning the famed King of the Ring kickboxing tournament in New Zealand. Blood Diamond is a master in the stand-up department and gives his opponents good reason to wrestle straight away and waste no time trying to strike. Compared at times to his training partner Israel Adesanya, if Blood Diamond develops his already-80% takedown defense and keeps his back off the fence, we may get to witness the next great striker in the division.

The paths to victory are very clear for each fighter, as they need to stick to their strengths to stay out of trouble and find a finish. Both fighters are coming off losses and step into the cage against similar threats. Cosce will have to wrestle and keep this fight up against the cage, giving Blood Diamond no room to operate or find a rhythm. If Cosce can stick to this game plan, he can possibly find a finish with his favorite crucifix position. If he doesn’t find a takedown or if he can’t keep Diamond on the back foot, this fight could end in similar fashion to the Rowe fight, where Rowe was able to keep Cosce off the cage with powerful knees and land clean combos that ended the fight by KO/TKO in the second round. I will not be siding with either fighter for this bout and instead will take the juice and go with the fight to not go the distance at -185.

Bet: Cosce vs. Blood Diamond FDGTD (-185)

Negumereanu vs. Potieria Odds

Nicolae Negumereanu +125, Ihor Potieria -145

Negumereanu is 12-1-0 overall in his pro career and 3-1 in the UFC octagon. Negumereanu averages 11:35 of fight time while averaging 3.39 strikes per minute and absorbing nearly double the strikes at 5.92. Negumereanu lands 39% of the strikes he throws and defends 38% of the strikes coming his way, He is a brawler and very durable at times taking a lot of damage to find a finish. Negumereanu is a finisher, as all but three of his pro fights have ended within the time limit. Fighting out of CSS Dinamo Brasov, Negumereanu’s foundation style is wrestling, yet he much rather strikes as he averages a mere 0.65 takedowns per fight accurately landing 18% of his takedowns. He defends 62% of takedown attempts and if taken down to the mat he will attempt leg-locks and any submissions available to either find a finish or transition to a better position to land some ground and pound.

Ihor Potieria steps up as the dancing partner for Negumereanu, and like his opponent he does not look for the help from the judges often. Potieria is 20-2-0 overall as a professional and just earned a contract through Dana White’s Contender Series in September of last year. He is 6-foot-3 with a 75-inch reach and averages 4.89 strikes landed per minute connecting on 72% of strikes attempted. Similar to Negumereanu, Potieria absorbs 5.70 strikes per minute, which indicates that he does not mind walking through fire to create his own damage, damage that has led to 13 first-round finishes and an average cage time of 3:41. Potieria fights like he has a house on fire and his car outside is already in drive.

It is a tough matchup to judge because both fighters are very similar in their approaches and are also very durable. It may very well end in the first round after one of these warriors gets clipped and takes a nap or go to the judges for a split decision. Still, after watching them fight it is very clear that they create a lot of damage but can also take on their fair share of damage and keep moving forward. Out of all the similarities between the fighters, one that concerns me is the level of competition each fighter faced on their way to the UFC. Before his debut in the UFC, Negumereanu’s opponents were a combined 37-81-0 and Potieria’s were a combined 82-87-0 with many of those fighters making their debut at the time of the fight.

This match could be the toughest test to date for both fighters, and I am going to lean with the fighter who has had time in the UFC octagon and has found success on the biggest stage. Give me the underdog, and let’s go 2-0 on an underdog winning outright — this may very well be a pick ‘em by fight time. 

Bet: Nicolae Negumereanu (+105)

Edwards vs. Kim Odds

JI Yeon Kim +105, Joselyne Edwards -125

Two technical, calculated and hard-hitting bantamweights bring their talents to Dallas Saturday to make a statement and put another check in the bank. Edwards represents MMA Kings, which stables fighters like Rafael dos Anjos, Beneil Dariush and Marvin Vettori, to name a few. Edwards is 5-foot-8 with a 70-inch reach and uses her range well when fighting. She lands 5.33 strikes per minute, accurately connecting 57% of the time, which indicates that she is very selective with her firepower. She absorbs 3.27 strikers per minute and defends 43% of strikes fired her way and doesn’t attempt many takedowns, averaging only 0.25 takedowns per fight as she prefers to dance on her feet and usually resorts to using her Muay Thai and defending 62% of takedowns attempted against her.

Kim is similar to Edwards in output, averaging 5.83 strikes landed per minute, yet she only connects 36% of the time. Kim is similar in height to Edwards but has a 72-inch reach, giving her a two-inch advantage. For this fight Edwards will not have to worry about Kim wanting to grapple and will be able to showcase her striking, keeping Kim at range and taking this fight on the cards. The public seems to be on Kim, and I’ve never been a follower, so I’m going to fade and take Edwards to win by decision. If your book offers it, I’d consider taking a stab at the split decision option as well.

Bet: Joselyne Edwards by decision (+120)/Edwards by split decision (+700)

Morales vs. Fugitt Odds

Michael Morales -560, Adam Fugitt +425

Morales is Saturday’s biggest betting favorite. These are two fighters who are similar in height and athleticism and should put on a show in the fourth prelim at. The young Morales is 13-0-0 overall in his pro career, and after winning in dominant fashion on the Contender Series, he stopped Trevin Giles in his debut at the beginning of the year to begin his journey in the UFC 1-0-0. A national wrestling champion in Ecuador, Morales is very well rounded but can at times make mistakes caused by lack of time in the ring with high-level opponents. Being the shark in the pond on the regional scene, Morales absolutely belongs in the UFC but will have to learn on the job and make adjustments on the fly sometimes until he puts it all together and blossoms into his full potential. A unique weapon that Morales possesses is his 79-inch reach, which can come in handy when paired with his dangerous jab. At times though, I’ve noticed that he doesn’t use his reach correctly, and it could lead to him overswinging and leaving himself open to counters.

Fugitt is similar in size to Morales, but everything he does well, Morales does better, and the UFC surely didn’t do him any favors when they made this matchup. Both fighters have gone to four decisions combined with all of their other fights ending before the third round. The best way to attack this fight is to take Morales to win in Round 1 at +150 as well as for Morales to win in Rounds 1 or 2 at -165 in case the fight makes it into the second round. I simply believe that Morales is levels above and will showcase that in Dallas. If you want to have some fun, you can also sprinkle a bit on Morales to win by sub at +600. 

Bet: Morales to win in Round 1 (+150)/Morales to win in Rounds 1 or 2 (-165)

Klose vs. Garcia Odds

Drakkar Klose -250, Rafa Garcia +180

Originally scheduled to fight Carlos Diego Ferreira, Klose is instead facing Garcia in the fifth prelim Saturday. Garcia is a brawler who brings an aggressive pace, averaging 3.54 strikes landed per minute. Klose is 12-2-1 overall as a pro and 6-2-0 in the UFC, kickstarting his career with a win over Devin Powell back in 2017. Klose has a wrestling background and also packs power in his strikes, particularly his calf kicks. He averages 4.42 strikes landed per minute, accurately landing 55% of those strikes while attempting 1.77 takedowns per fight and defending 68% of takedowns attempted against him.

Like Klose, Garcia is a grinder and averages 4.10 takedowns per fight, accurately hitting takedowns 48% of the time and defending 72% of takedown attempts. Garcia also packs a punch when he decides to strike and doesn’t just look to wrestle, and with a win here looks to extend his current two-fight winning streak.

Still, the levels will be evident in this fight and Klose’s durability and wrestling skill will keep this fight on the feet where Klose will defend takedowns and possibly find a finish in the second or third round. I expect this fight to start fast, but with both fighters averaging over 11 minutes of fight time I also expect it to turn into a grind that Klose dominates on his way to a third-round finish or decision win. 

Bet: Klose in Round 3 or decision (-125)


Mayes vs. Abdelwahab Odds

Don’tale Mayes -185, Hamdy Abdelwahab +150

In one of the more anticipated bouts of the weekend, Mayes and Abdelwahab square off in the sixth bout Saturday. This fight has gotten interesting as far as public sentiment is concerned after a picture of Abdelwahab’s last opponent was circulated where he looked more like an eating-contest competitor than a fighter, making people question Abdelwahab’s level of competition so far in his career. After the picture came out, Mayes went from the slight underdog to now the slight/moderate favorite to win and find a finish.

One problem with this train of thought is that when you do a deeper dive on the fighter, Abdelwahab is actually a former Olympic wrestler and not at all like the pear-shaped man in the picture. He is 6-foot-2 with a 72inch reach and fights out of New York while representing Killer B Combat Sports in New Jersey, a camp that produced fighters like Deanna Bennett and Karl Roberson. Abdelwahab is still very green in the cage and only started his career back in 2019; he fights with a berserker style of that has helped him dominate fights on the regional scene and get him this opportunity at UFC 277. Almost all his fights ending in the first round — he has seen the third round once so far in his pro career and his only loss came after a fight was stopped for illegal strikes to the back of the head. He is a very aggressive fighter who hits very hard and could gas out if he doesn’t find the finish in the first round. He is capable of making a fight ugly and leaning on his wrestling to grind out a win.

Yet in this matchup, Abdelwahab is fighting someone in Mayes who is a step above anyone he has fought on the regional scene thus far. Mayes is also the bigger fighter at 6-foot-6 with an 81-inch reach, and I expect he will use his size and athleticism to be able to withstand any storm Abdelwahab brings in the first round. This fight does not go to the judges and I’m sure we will see more of Abdelwahab in the future dominating but this weekend I am afraid he’s in for a rude awakening when he fights Mayes. 

Bet: Don’tale Mayes to win inside the distance (+125)

Dober vs. Alves Odds

Drew Dober -190, Rafael Alves +160

Dober is 24-11-0 overall as a pro and 10-7-0 in the UFC with an average fight time of 8:55. He and Alves are similar in height and reach but they differ in the output thrown, as Dober averages 4.40 strikes landed per minute while Alves averages 2.10. Both fighters attempt less than one takedown per fight and defend takedowns over 50% of the time. Both have a similar explosive style and are known to leave the judges out of the equation. I wouldn’t be surprised if this fight looked exactly like Dober’s fight against Terrance McKinney. In that fight, both fighters were dropped and almost finished until Dober found the finish and put an end to the wildest first round in a while. Alves is a willing dance partner and will come forward looking to apply pressure and keep Dober on the back foot. Yet for the amount of pressure Alves can apply, he tends to depend on his athleticism and strength to overcome his lack of technique.

Dober should be able to withstand the heavy onslaught that Alves brings in Round 1 and either find the finish early or stop Alves once his gas tank runs out. Dober straight up is sitting at -200, and in my opinion that is too much juice to lay on a fighter who can sometimes be chinny and is stepping into a war against Alves. Because this fight can end at any moment, I will be taking Dober to win inside the distance and stay away from picking a round. 

Bet: Drew Dober wins inside the distance (+110)

Morono vs. Semelsberger Odds

Alex Morono +135, Matthew Semelsberger -165

Moreno is 5-foot-11 with a 72-inch reach and averages 5.21 strikes per minute while absorbing 3.93. Morono also averages 0.35 takedowns per fight, defending 53% of the takedowns coming his way. Currently on a three-fight win streak, Morono has won seven out of his last 10. He last fought in December and says he has taken a break from fighting so that he can heal physically and mentally as he tends to train very hard regularly. A very technical fighter, Morono blends aggression and technique well when he fights and brings a high-level IQ to the cage that makes up for the lack of athleticism. Also a very durable fighter, Morono defends 56% of strikes attempted against, which is good reason why he has been able to withstand a lot of damage and continue to apply pressure.

Semelsberger is 10-3-0 overall as a pro and 4-1 in the UFC octagon with an average fight time of 9:06. Semi the Jedi has only been to the judges’ scorecards three times during his entire pro career. A jiujitsu fighter, Semelsberger looks to dominate his fights and end them just as fast as they begin, with a combined fight time of 31 seconds in his first two fights in the UFC. Yet the experience and time in the ring against high-level competition will set Morono apart as he looks to use his gameplan and technique to keep Semelsberger at bay and look for a Round 3 finish or decision win. I will be taking this fight to go the distance, as I believe Morono to be durable enough to withstand any firepower from Semi the Jedi and chip away and grind his way to a decision victory. 

Bet: Fight Goes the Distance (-155)

Ankalaev vs. Smith Odds

Magomed Ankalev -500, Anthony Smith +375

Ankalaev is 17-1-0 with an average fight time of 11:30. Similar to his Russian counterparts, Ankalaev comes into each fight looking to impose his will and dominate from pillar to post. Currently riding an eight-fight win streak, Ankalaev looks to extend his win streak and possibly line himself up for a title shot. At 6-foot-3 with a 75-inch reach, he averages 3.49 strikes landed per minute, accurately landing 54% of strikes and taking down his opponents at least once per fight. He defends 85% of takedowns attempted against him and most times finds himself in top position raining down ground and pound or hunting for a sub.

Smith steps into this match up looking to reignite his title run and get back to the Lionheart of old who would burn his boats and come out victorious on the other side. With an average fight time of 9:31, Smith does not look to include the judges and would rather get the job done inside the time allotted. With height and reach being similar in this fight I don’t think either fighter can impose their will solely with size and their gameplans and technique will have to shine through. If you had showed me this matchup a couple of years ago before Smith was a household name, I’d have said this fight was close and Smith could emerge victorious. That said, Smith is stepping into this fight against a surging Ankalaev, who I could see being the champion at 205 very soon. Anything can happen and it is the fight game and after watching Ankalaev lose in the closing seconds to Paul Craig, I now know he is human and can be stopped. I do not think it will happen this fight though as I don’t think Smith will be stopped, but I do think he will be steamrolled and this fight will not be close on the score cards with Ankalaev finding a finish late in the third or on the cards.

Bet: Magomed Ankalaev in Round 3 or decision (-135)

Pantoja vs. Perez Odds

Alexandre Pantoja -185, Alex Perez +150

These athletes are almost identical and bring similar game plans to the cage with the ability to find finishes on the feet or on the mat with jiujitsu. A danger in the division, Pantoja is a fighter who packs one-punch KO power and doesn’t mind going to the ground where he has found 10 submission wins over the span of his career. Pantoja averages 10:48 of fight time, defending 67% of takedowns and keeping a high pace, blending in level changes and sudden back takes or flash knockouts. Pantoja has been a problem for many in the division for some time now. Currently No. 5 in the world, he looks to take this win and hopefully catapult himself into a title shot.

With so many similarities between the fighters it is hard to determine the edge either fighter may have over the other. I think the difference maker will be the fact that Perez has not been active since 2020, and against Pantoja that may be a recipe for disaster. As I mentioned, Perez is a copy of Pantoja in many ways and looks for finishes in the same manner. Both have knockout wins, and both have plenty of submission wins and have displayed beautiful jiujitsu in the octagon. The worry I have about Perez is that he may tire himself out trying to keep up with the pace of Pantoja as the fight goes into the later rounds. We may have the best first round of the year from Perez and he could find a finish as anything can always happen, but I just don’t see it happening, and I see this being possibly the best fight of the night but in the end a win for Pantoja. Look for Pantoja to find the finish late or win unanimously on the scorecards. 

Bet: Alexandre Pantoja in Round 3 or by decision (+130)

Pavlovich vs. Lewis Odds

Sergei Pavlovich -145, Derrick Lewis +120

Two of the biggest heavyweights in the division face off in Dallas on Saturday as fan favorite Lewis toes the line against Pavlovich. Pavlovich is 15-1-0, averaging just over a half a round of fight time at 2:55. Currently on a three-fight win streak in the UFC, Pavlovich looks to continue his streak of first-round finishes when he steps into the cage against the owner of the most knockouts in the division’s history in Lewis.

This fight on paper should be easy for Pavlovich, who is the more mobile and athletic fighter of the two. He also has a five-inch reach advantage that may come in handy when defending the bombs thrown by Lewis. That said, counting Lewis out has not worked out well for his opponents in the past. Pavlovich will have to pitch a perfect game and stay clear of any mistakes that may leave him exposed to Lewis’ power. I’ll be siding with Pavlovich to be better in all aspects of the fight and staying clear of the power and continuing his streak of finishes.

Bet: Pavlovich wins inside the distance (+100)

Moreno vs. Kara-France Odds

Brandon Moreno -225, Kai Kara-France +180

This was a fight that perhaps wasn’t on many fans’ radar, but here it is, an interim title bout set up by the injury to champion Deiveson Figueiredo has created an opportunity for Moreno to recapture his No. 1 contender spot or give Kara-France his first title contention bout. These to fighters are familiar with each other’s style, so this matchup settles the score and leaves no doubt as to who is the next in line to challenge for the belt.

Since their last fight, Kara-France has found a new home at City Kickboxing and has gone on a run of a lifetime, turning his career around and finishing big names like former champ Cody Garbrandt, Askar Askarov and Rogerio Bontorin, a murderer’s row of fighters that has elevated Kara-France’s quick-twitch style to new levels. Since fighting Kara-France in 2019, Moreno has gone on a run of his own, becoming champion and embarking on one of the best trilogies the sport has ever seen. He was set to fight the champ Figueiredo for a fourth time and break the 1-1-1 tie they have created during their rivalry. The line for this fight is off to me — Moreno is a favorite by such margin because of the way their first fight looked visually, where he beat Kara-France pillar to post. Still, people forget it was Moreno’s second run in the UFC, and it was also his first win inside the promotion, finally getting over the hump and eventually becoming Mexico’s first champion. There is also the fact that Moreno now has championship experience and has been to places Kara-France has yet to experience. While that may be true, I believe that the value is with Kara-France and the City Kickboxing team.

I love this spot for Kara-France as a dog, as Moreno this time around serves as the hump for him to finally breakthrough as a contender. The same way the win over Kara-France catapulted Moreno to the title run, I expect this fight to not only be one for the history books but also be the fight that gives Kara-France his first title contention fight. 

Bet: Kai Kara-France ML (+175)

Nunes vs. Peña Odds

Amanda Nunes -250, Julianna Peña +230

Our final fight is a rematch that, before their first meeting, no one could truly say they expected to witness. In their first fight, Peña stepped into the cage and brought the fight to Nunes like no other challenger has ever done. Feeling the pressure of the champion in the early going of the fight, she stuck to the gameplan and dragged Nunes into deep waters and eventually found the finish.

One of the most dominant champions the sport has ever seen, Nunes was graceful in defeat and vowed to be back stronger and healthier for their rematch. In their first fight, you assumed that the finish was near the way Nunes seemingly dominated the first round, yet as the fight went deeper, she seemed to fall off a cliff and do a lot of uncharacteristic things like overextending and leaving herself exposed to counters from Peña. What really stood out to me is how she never put up a fight on the ground, and her jiujitsu seemed to have left her along with her gas tank.

With new motivation and at 100% health, I fully expect Nunes to not only win this rematch but also find the finish and show Peña that she was a champion across two divisions for nearly a decade for good reason. It was a good run, but the lioness is back for her belt. Give me Mimes to find a finish inside the distance and recapture her reign at the top.

Bet: Nunes by KO/TKO or submission (-135)

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