AS disheartening as Ray Borg’s withdrawal is, there are still plenty of relevant bouts on the slate at UFC 215. Fresh off one of the biggest MMA cards in recent memory, fringe fans may not be familiar with the names that are going to war in Edmonton, Alberta. Don’t think for a minute that we aren’t in for a show though with plenty of fighters vying for a victory to boost their title hopes and ‘The Lioness’ Amanda Nunes defending her belt for the second time.
UFC Predictions: 17-11
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#8 Jimmy ‘Lil’ Heathen’ Stephens (25-13) vs. #14 Gilbert ‘El Niño’ Melendez (22-6)
PROBABLY the closest fight of the main card sees two MMA veterans against one another as they look to get their careers back on track. Both Stephens and Melendez have lost three of their last four fights with the pair combining for just three wins in their last 11 combined bouts. This one should go the distance and I’m tipping Melendez to grind out a close win.
VERDICT: MELENDEZ W
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#10 Ilir ‘The Sledgehammer’ Latifi (12-5-0, 1NC) vs. #13 Tyson Pedro (6-0)
ILIR Latifi is known for his flurry of punches and pedal to the medal style of fighting, with visits to the canvas few and far between. Opposing him is the fast rising Tyson Pedro, who has finished all six of his professional bouts and is now preparing to make his main card debut. This one should be over inside the three rounds and even though Pedro gives us a look at generation next, the experience of Latifi will hand his win number 13 of his career.
VERDICT: LATIFI W
#2 Henry ‘The Messenger’ Cejudo (10-2) vs. #5 Wilson Reis (22-7)
THANKS to Demetrious Johnson both fighters have lost while trying to claim the belt and are trying to climb back to the top of the food chain for another title shot. Cejudo started his career off 10-0 and is trying to avoid three straight L’s on his resume while Reis is also trying to avenge his loss to Johnson in April this year. This one will be competitive throughout the whole fight, but ‘The Messenger’ should land enough power blows to get the job done.
VERDICT: CEJUDO W
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#6 Neil Magney (19-6) vs. #10 Rafael Dos Anjos (26-9)
IN his welterweight debut Dos Anjos claimed a decision win earlier in 2017 and he’s backing it up by taking on another seasoned UFC fighter. A significant size advantage for Neil Magney should be a massive determining factor in deciding this one. If you look at the contrasting styles between the two Dos Anjos is the favourite and trendy pick in this one, yet I think that Magney will cause the upset.
VERDICT: MAGNEY W
Women’s Bantamweight Title Bout
C Amanda ‘The Lioness’ Nunes (14-4) vs. #1 Valentina ‘Bullet’ Shevchenko (14-2)
THANKS to Borg’s omission from the card Amanda Nunes and Valentina Shevchenko get the honours of headling UFC 215. Shevchenko will be out for revenge with her last loss coming at the hands of Nunes 18 months ago. Even though ‘The Lioness’ has laid waste to her opponents over the last two plus years, it’s not impossible to see a scenario where ‘Bullet’ claims the belt. I’m predicting a long fight, but for Shevchenko to finish it in the latter rounds or claim a decision in her favour.
VERDICT: SHEVCHENKO W
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