UFC 215 takes place tomorrow night in Edmonton, Albert, Canada and you can check out all our predictions for the fights below.
Amanda Nunes vs. Valentina Shevchenko
Nunes Vs Shevchenko II moves up to main event status on short notice, and it’s worthy of that honor as this is a finely balanced title fight.
Nunes is a notoriously fast starter and a deadly finisher to boot, with fast, accurate combinations and pressure on the feet overwhelming some opponents, while her quick, aggressive and relentless submission attempts on the mat are just as problematic.
Shevchemko has already proven she can withstand that though, going the full three rounds with her last year, and though she came up on the wrong end of a decision that night, she was starting to take control of the fight in the final round as Nunes began to fade.
I do see the fight playing out in a similar fashion this time around, with Shevchenko having the durability, technique and experience to withstand the brunt of Hurricane Nunes in those early rounds and then start to turn the screw from the midway point of the fight.
Nunes will surely have worked harder than ever on her cardio for this fight, and if she can fix it then I’d pick her as she’s a tremendous offensive force, but but it’s hard to be constantly on the attack and yet stll conserve energy, as Conor McGregor found out to his cost recently, and so I think Shevchenko’s consistency and conditioning over the course of five rounds will help her edge out a decision victory.
Valentina Shevchenko to win by decision.
Rafael dos Anjos vs. Neil Magny
From a physical standpoint alone this seems like a bad match-up for the former lightweight champion Dos Anjos in his second bout at 170lbs as he’s giving up 7 inches in height and 10 inches in reach to his opponent.
In all fairness, RDA does have plenty of skills to attempt to overcome that with his unrelenting pressure on the feet, solid striking and particularly dangerous Brazilian-Jiu-Jitsu offering plenty of ways to attack this particular problem.
Magny works well at range though and will be looking to use his size advantage to keep the Brazilian at bay, and I feel he can be successful in that regard, leading to a unnimous decision victory.
Neil Magny to win by decision.
Henry Cejudo vs. Wilson Reis
With Demetrious Johnson’s title fight against Ray Borg being cancelled on short notice, Cejudo and Reis have been promoted to the PPV portion of the card to make up the numbers.
Reis’ greatest talents lie on the mat with his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, but he’ll have a tough time getting the former Olympic wrestling star Cejudo to the mat, and on the feet Cejudo’s continually evolving striking game should allow him to consistently get the better of the action and lead him to a win on the scorecards.
Henry Cejudo to win by decision.
Ilir Latifi vs. Tyson Pedro
Latifi has a tendancy to falter when he faces a certain level of opposition, but beyond his heavy-handed brawling and wrestling base can make the stocky Swede difficult to deal with.
Pedro looks to be a decent fighter, but I don’t see his two-fight winning start in the UFC continuing on Saturday night, with Latifi landing something big early and then finishing him off with ferocious ground and pound.
Ilir Latifi to win by KO in Rd1.
Gilbert Melendez vs. Jeremy Stephens
Melendez returns to the Octagon for the first time in over a year looking to dig himself out of a rut by moving down to featherweight to take on Stephens afer losing four of his last five fights.
Stephens isn’t doing much better though, with just two wins in his last seven fights, and I feel Melendez will prove he’s the better fighter here, outstriking his opponent over 15 minutes of fighting to get back to winning ways.
Gilbert Melendez to win by decision.
Sara McMann vs. Ketlen Vieira
Ashlee Evans-Smith vs. Sarah Moras
Rick Glenn vs. Gavin Tucker
Mitch Clarke vs. Alex White
Arjan Bhullar vs. Luis Henrique
Kajan Johnson vs. Adriano Martins