Saturday's UFC 277 event is in the books, and now that the dust has settled in Dallas, it's time to go to the scorecard to see who the big winners were at American Airlines Center.
1. Amanda Nunes
Frankly, in my eyes, perfection is boring. Sure, it must be nice to blast through all opposition and leave the Octagon without a mark, but for my money, the great ones have to weather adversity and still find a way to succeed. Amanda Nunes, on accomplishments alone, was the G.O.A.T. of women's combat sports before she lost her bantamweight title to Julianna Pena last December. But when she regained her crown and beat a fighter who was willing to push beyond her limits to keep it, that took "The Lioness" to a new level. And while I think Pena earned her right for a rubber match, I think the only fight for Nunes right now is a third fight with flyweight queen Valentina Shevchenko.
2. Brandon Moreno
Speaking of coming back from adversity, Brandon Moreno did just that in taking the interim UFC flyweight title against Kai Kara-France, bouncing back from the loss of his crown to Deiveson Figueiredo and dealing with a tough Kiwi while blood streamed down his face to finish Kara-France in the third round. Now we'll get to see a fourth match between Moreno and Figueiredo, and while the potential was there for their post-fight faceoff in the octagon to get ugly, the two 125-pounders were all class, and rightfully so, because this fight sells itself without the need for trash talk or bad blood.
3. Alexandre Pantoja
I always wonder why more fighters don't take Alexandre Pantoja's approach to his Saturday bout with Alex Perez. Why not try to make it a streetfight from the start and see where that takes you, and that's just what Pantoja did in blitzing the former world title challenger and finishing him in less than two minutes. The Brazilian wanted to make a statement and he did just that, in the process setting himself up for a title shot once Moreno and Figueiredo settle their business.
4. Drew Dober
Like Pantoja, Drew Dober declared what he wanted to do last weekend, and he delivered on his promise, and in the case of the veteran lightweight standout, he was determined to put on a show for fans in Dallas and finish the fight by any means necessary. And he won his bout with Rafael Alves, proving that in a good ol' fashioned fistfight, few do it better than Dober, who would be a stiff challenge for any of the slugfest specialists at 155 pounds.
5. Hamdy Abdelwahab
Hamdy Abdelwahab entered the octagon for the first time as a bit of a mystery. Sure, he was undefeated and a former Olympic wrestler, but few had really seen him or had a chance to dissect the game of the short-notice replacement. Then he showed up and went to war with Don'Tale Mayes, pounding out a split decision win in a fight that did exactly what it should have for "The Hammer": it made you want to see him fight again.
This story first published at UFC.com.