Even though one title fight was pulled from the card, tonight’s UFC 215 card is still full of great fights that are well worth checking out. The event will now be headlined by a UFC Women’s Bantamweight Title Fight as champion Amanda Nunes defends against Valentina Shevchenko. Also, former UFC Lightweight Champion Rafael Dos Anjos faces Neil Magny and a key flyweight division bout is taking place.
UFC Women’s Bantamweight Title Fight
Amanda “Lioness” Nunes (14-4-0) (Champion) vs. Valentina “Bullet” Shevchenko (14-2-0)
Nunes is going to be making the second defense of her championship, because she last defended it against Ronda Rousey at UFC 207. Shevchenko has won three of four fights under the UFC banner, which includes a win over former UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion Holly Holm at UFC On Fox 20. Nunes defeated Shevchenko in their first meeting at UFC 196 in March of 2016, that win came by way of unanimous decision. Three of the four fighters that Shevchenko has faced in the UFC has either held or challenged for the UFC Women’s Title.
Prediction: Nunes looked excellent in the first encounter before tiring badly in the third round, her last two fights also ended with first round finishes. Shevchenko survives the early onslaught on route to a late round stoppage to win the championship.
UFC Welterweight Division Fight
Neil Magny (19-5-0) vs. Rafael Dos Anjos (26-9-0)
Magny has won four of his last five fights under the UFC banner, which includes a win over former UFC Welterweight Champion Johny Hendricks. Dos Anjos has been undefeated since moving up to the welterweight division, defeating Tarec Saffiedine at UFC Fight Night Singapore. Magny is also returning to action for the first time in nine months, which is the longest layoff he has had since joining the UFC. Dos Anjos is a former UFC Lightweight Champion, winning the belt back at UFC 185 when he defeated Anthony Pettis by unanimous decision.
Prediction: Magny can get a decision if he uses his reach to keep Dos Anjos at a distance, but Dos Anjos picks him apart with leg kicks ala Lorenz Larkin at UFC 202 to get a second round stoppage win.
UFC Flyweight Division Fight
Henry “The Messenger” Cejudo (10-2-0) vs. Wilson Reis (22-7-0)
Cejudo is going to be entering the fight on a two fight losing streak and he hasn’t earned a victory in almost two full years. Reis is competing for the first time since losing a flyweight title shot to Demetrious Johnson at UFC On Fox 24. Cejudo has also previously challenged for the UFC Flyweight Title, losing to champion Demetrious Johnson at UFC 197. Reis is actually undefeated when competing on UFC pay-per-view cards, holding a 4-0-0 record at such events.
Prediction: Cejudo has a suffocating wrestling game and he uses that to get a decision win over Reis.
UFC Light Heavyweight Division Fight
Ilir “The Sledgehammer” Latifi (12-5-0-1NC) vs. Tyson Pedro (6-0-0)
Latifi has won three of his last four fights in the UFC and he is also returning to action after a year-plus layoff. Pedro has already competed twice under the UFC banner, defeating the duo of Khalil Rountree and Paul Craig. Latifi has seen five of his eight fights in the UFC end within the opening round, the fighter holds a 4-1-0 record in those fights. Pedro has yet to see the second round in his professional MMA career and four of his wins as a pro came via submission.
Prediction: This is going to be a brutal slugfest for as long as it lasts, but it is going to be Pedro getting another first round finish and win.
UFC Featherweight Division Fight
Jeremy “Lil’ Heathen” Stephens (25-14-0) vs. Gilbert “El Nino” Melendez (22-6-0)
Stephens has only won four of nine fights since moving to the UFC Featherweight Division, but that includes a win over former UFC Bantamweight Champion Renan Barao at UFC Fight Night 88. Melendez is going to be making his UFC Featherweight Division debut in this fight and he has previously challenged twice before for the UFC Lightweight Title. Stephens has seen his last four fights go the distance and it has been over two years since one of his fights had a finish. Melendez also enters the fight riding a three fight losing streak and he hasn’t earned a win in just under four years.
Prediction: This fight has all the makings of a “Fight Of The Year” candidate, Melendez mixes the wrestling with the striking to get a close decision win.
Preliminary Card Quick Picks
Sara McMann over Ketlen Vieira
Ashlee Evans-Smith over Sarah Moras
Mitch Clarke over Alex White
Rick Glenn over Gavin Tucker
Arjan Bhullar over Luis Henrique
Adriano Martins over Kajan Johnson