The UFC landed in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada for a pay-per-view event. The UFC 215 results created quite a bit of controversy, but that controversy started long before a single punch was thrown. Let’s recap what transpired, and touch on some finer points of Saturday’s action:
Was UFC 215 doomed to begin with?
Let’s talk about how we got here. Whenever a pay-view-event is sandwiched between big events, it goes without saying that it will be a little weaker. Fight fans just don’t have the hunger or spendable income to buy a pay-per-view every 3 weeks. Look at the storm that we just came out: UFC 214 was massive, and McGregor/Mayweather was seismic. Coming up, we have UFC 216, 217 and 218. UFC 216 in Vegas doesn’t look like too much, but it’s Vegas and Vegas deserves some hype. UFC 217 and 218 look like they could be big shows. The UFC’s little trip up to Canada was always going to be a slightly smaller PPV event.
The news of Ray Borg pulling out and scrapping the Demetrious Johnson fight was terrible. Johnson deserves to get a shot at breaking the title defense record. This left Amanda Nunes to carry the event by herself. Even though the UFC 215 results on the rest of the card were exciting – this was never going to be a blockbuster event.
We’ll get to the main event later, but I want to hit on some real shining moments from these UFC 215 results. First of which is Ketlen Vieira upsetting Sara McMann. This came out of nowhere as McMann has always been touted as an elite bantamweight fighter. Vieira only has 3 fights in the UFC, but her second-round submission win makes her 3-0. I don’t know if it’s enough to warrant a title shot as she is virtually unrecognized by even most hardcore fans, but it’s a huge feather in her cap.
We saw flyweight contender Henry Cejudo stop Wilson Reis in round two on the main card. Of course, Cejudo was has made himself known as a top flyweight contender, but this win puts him back in line for a potential rematch with Johnson. He looked spectacular, but even I would personally like to see him get one more win. I think Cejudo is the strongest contender in the division, and the only one with a chance of being marketable. Let’s see Cejudo fight Sergio Pettis for a title eliminator bout. The next step for Demetrious Johnson is pretty uncertain however.
In the co-main event, Rafael dos Anjos breezed by Neil Magny. He submitted Magny with as much ease as Demian Maia did, which is quite an extraordinary accomplishment. Dos Anjos is now 2-0 at 170 lbs, and a potential title threat to Tyron Woodley. Stylistically, he would make a very interesting match up with the champion. The next step for him, in my opinion, is to face Robbie Lawler for number one contention.
What to make of the main event
Amanda Nunes and Valentina Shevchenko had a competitive back at UFC 196, and this one was even closer. The two fights played out very differently though – the first one featured a lot of grappling while Saturday night was virtually a chess match on the feet. There’s noway getting around the fact that the action was slow. Neither fighter seemed really willing to pull the trigger and uncork their typical devastating punching. Instead, we saw Nunes pepper Shevchenko with kicks on the outside while “Bullet” landed smart counter shots. I will say that Nunes impressed me with her ability to go five rounds easily. She has a bad reputation for being a “first-round fighter”, but she looked as fresh as a daisy going into the championship founds.
The UFC 215 results had Nunes with the split decision win, which immediately created controversy as many felt Shevchenko deserved the win. The selling point for me is the fact that Nunes pushed the action. She backed Shevchenko up virtually the whole fight, and had a slightly higher output. I will admit Shevchenko landed the more significant punches, but she resorted to countering the whole fight. When you resort to being a counter fighter, you put rounds in jeopardy of the judges. A 48-47 split is exactly the right call.
I wouldn’t be surprised if the two fight a third time, but I fear we’ll get a similar fight. Nunes and Shevchenko will likely be closely matched rivals similar to Tyron Woodley and Stephen Thompson. However, Nunes/Shevchenko II had a little more action than Woodley/Thompson II.
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