It’s time to really get back into the sport of MMA after everyone seemed to take a hiatus for the few weeks before and after the Mayweather vs McGregor fight. The UFC was back last week with a fight night card in Rotterdam, but it was a weak card that didn’t get a lot of push. This week though we’re back on track with UFC 215, which is actually a very solid card top to bottom.
Demetrious Johnson is going for the title defenses record against Ray Borg, and Amanda Nunes and Valentina Shevchenko will try again to make it to the cage for the women’s bantamweight title, which was postponed at UFC 213 when Nunes was sick. Other big fighters on this card include Neil Magny vs Rafael Dos Anjos, Jeremy Stephens vs Gilbert Melendez, Sara McMann, Henry Cejudo, and more.
Demetrious Johnson vs Ray Borg
DJ is going for the record of most title defenses ever in the UFC. He’s held the flyweight belt since 2012 and he’s made it clear how much that record means to him. I just don’t see him taking his foot off the gas in this fight. Borg is a good solid prospect, but he doesn’t have the weapons to really shock the world in this fight. We saw how easily DJ dealt with Henry Cejudo, an olympic gold medal wrestler, and Borg has a similar style, which I don’t think will cause DJ that many problems.
As good as Borg has looked he really only has one big win in his career, his most recent win over Jussier Formiga, which was a very close fight. Outside of that he’s lost to both Dustin Ortiz and Justin Scoggins, the other two relatively big names on his resume.
This should be a straight forward defense for Mighty Mouse.
Play: Johnson -1000
Amanda Nunes vs Valentina Shevchenko
I was on Shevchenko when these two were booked for UFC 213, but she’s now the favorite in this match up and I truly think this could go either way. The fact that Nunes would not fight at UFC 213 while sick shows me how seriously she is about keeping this title. I think she’s going to fight a smart fight and do everything she can to defend this belt. Nunes is the more powerful and dangerous fighter of these two, it really just comes down to whether or not she will gas. I believe she knew she would gas while being sick at UFC 213 and I have to give her the benefit of the doubt for knowing her body. Nunes has the ability to win this fight early, and if she finds a way to not gas after two rounds if she isn’t able to get the finish, she should also be able to win rounds while both are fresh.
I just see more avenues to victory for Amanda Nunes in this fight, so she’s my pick as a small dog.
Play: Nunes +100
Neil Magny vs Rafael dos Anjos
Dos Anjos continues to find the easiest possible fights against ranked fighters in the welterweight division. He easily beat Tarec Saffiedine, who should in no way be ranked in the top 15 anymore, and now he gets Neil Magny, the other guy in the top ten that everyone sees as an easy fight.
Let me be clear, Magny isn’t an easy fight at all, but he is definitely worse than his ranking. I expect Dos Anjos to have his way with Magny in this fight and move one step closer to the title shot after taking out the two weakest ranked opponents in the division.
Play: Dos Anjos -190
Ilir Latifi vs Tyson Pedro
Tyson Pedro has greatly impressed me in his two UFC fights to this point. He started out by submitting Khalil Rountree, who is one of the most dangerous strikers in the division, and then he TKO’d Paul Craig, one of the best submission specialists in the division. In this fight he will fighting the extremely aggressive power puncher Ilir Latifi.
Latifi is a very strong wrestler in his own right, but I still believe Pedro will be able to get this fight to the mat, where Latifi is far less dangerous, and work for a submission.
Play: Pedro +100
Jeremy Stephens vs Gilbert Melendez
Gilbert Melendez likes to stand in the middle of the cage and bang, and I actually think that style might work against Jeremy Stephens. Stephens is thought of as this big power puncher in the featherweight division, but in reality he very rarely wins via knockout from punches. The last time he knocked out an opponent from a punch was way back in January of 2011 against Marcus Davis. Stephens actually uses his large size for featherweight and the big punches to bully opponents around the cage, but the fact that Melendez absolutely cannot be bullied will work in Gilbert’s favour.
I think these two will bang it out and Gilbert will be able to dig deep and get the win in what should be a very entertaining fight.
Play: Melendez -103