UFC 277 Odds, Pick & Prediction for Julianna Pena vs. Amanda Nunes: 3 Ways to Bet on Champ in Title Rematch (Saturday, July 30)
Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC. Pictured: UFC women’s bantamweight champion Julianna Pena
Julianna Pena vs. Amanda Nunes Odds
|Odds as of Friday and via BetMGM.|
Julianna Pena pulled off one of the biggest upsets in UFC history (she closed as high as a +700 underdog) against Amanda Nunes at UFC 269 this past December while capturing bantamweight gold.
"The Venezuelan Vixen" will attempt to defend that belt against Nunes to close out Saturday's main card (10 p.m. ET, pay-per-view) as a far less significant underdog. Based upon implied odds, the betting market has upgraded Pena's chances by 18-20% relative to the first fight.
Can Pena win consecutive bouts against "The Lionness" – and cement her status as the current queen of the bantamweight division – or will Nunes add another chapter to her legendary career and reclaim the belt she previously owned for a half-decade?
Tale of the Tape
|Avg. Fight Time||11:00||9:08|
|Weight (pounds)||135 lbs.||135 lbs.|
|Date of birth||8/19/1989||5/30/1988|
|Sig Strikes Per Min||3.36||4.55|
|SS Absorbed Per Min||2.02||2.81|
|Take Down Avg||2.43||2.46|
Before the first matchup, I noted Nunes' history of displaying concerning cardio in later rounds and recommended a live bet on Pena after Round 2. Nobody expected her to gas out that quickly, however.
Nunes may have been dealing with the after-effects of COVID and a nagging injury. Still, she didn't look like herself in that first fight. And even if the additional time has helped get her stamina base back, it may not be enough to withstand Pena's pace.
Leaving a significant camp in American Top Team – and starting her own gym – is further cause for concern.
I typically look to bet Nunes the same way: Play her inside the distance and win in Round 1 props. And look to live bet her opponent after the first or second rounds. Relative to the first fight, those pre-fight props have moved substantially.
In December, Nunes closed anywhere from -278 (73.5% implied) to -350 (77.8% implied) to win inside the distance against Pena. Her average line to win in Round 1 closed at +150 (40% implied).
For the rematch, those odds are nearer to -120 (54.5% implied) and +250 (28.5% implied), respectively.
My initial reaction was to buy the dip and to play the Nunes props at far superior (and more reasonable) odds relative to the first fight.
And if you are backing Nunes, that's how I would play this fight; her violence props are far better options than laying the juice on her moneyline.
That said, Pena still isn't getting enough respect in the betting market. While Nunes may look like the more dominant fighter for the first five to seven minutes, Pena should eventually take over in a 25-minute matchup, provided she survives the early onslaught.
While you could wait to live bet Pena after the first round – when she's likely out of the most severe danger – I doubt the books will move the number substantially; even if she loses the round, they are wise to Nunes' poor cardio too.
And there's always a possibility that Nunes changes her gameplan entirely and fights a reserved opening frame to manage her gas tank. You'll have missed out on the best of the number by that point. I also don't see that working out well for her when she's at her best swarming her opponents.
Nunes has defeated better fighters than Julianna Pena. Still, Pena is a bad stylistic matchup for the Brazilian. She's well-rounded, durable, has superior cardio, and she's willing to match Nunes' physicality.
While Nunes is nearly unbeatable in the 145-pound division, a depleted gas tank at bantamweight has caused noticeable issues throughout her run at 135, tying most of her win condition to an early finish.
Pena vs. Nunes Pick
I projected Julianna Pena as a 37.5% underdog (+167 implied) in this fight, and I would bet her moneyline down to +186 at a 2.5% edge compared to my projection.
Moreover, I project betting value on Pena to win by decision (projected +567, listed +600 at DraftKings), by KO/TKO (projected +1234, listed +1300 at BetRivers), or by submission (projected +567, listed +700 at BetRivers), depending upon the book.
Consequently, I see value in the Pena to win inside the distance prop (projected +344, listed +450 at BetMGM).
I played Pena on the moneyline, in addition to her finish prop. And I wouldn't hate a stab on her late-round props (win in Round 3, in Round 4, in Round 5) either. However, I'd prefer my pre-fight allocation and live entry points after the first, second, and possibly third rounds, as I expect Pena to take over the fight down the stretch.
If you're playing the Nunes side, make sure to play her inside the distance prop (-125 at DraftKings) and her win in Round 1 prop (+250 at Fanduel) at far superior prices relative to the first fight. Either of those outcomes should be correlated more closely to her moneyline price.
I don't see any value concerning the total, however. I projected the fight to end inside the distance 69% of the time (-227 implied), right in line with the betting market.
The Picks: Julianna Pena (+225, 0.5u at DraftKings) | Pena wins Inside the Distance (+450, 0.2u at BetMGM) | Live Bet Pena after Rounds 1, 2, and 3