Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returned to action for UFC 215: “Nunes vs Shevchenko 2,” which went down last night (Sat., Sept. 9, 2017) inside Rogers Center in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and airing live on pay-per-view (PPV).
The promotion's latest mixed martial arts (MMA) card was headlined by a women’s Bantamweight title fight which saw Amanda Nunes retain her title by edging out Valentina Shevchenko after five rounds of action (recap). In the co-headlining act, Rafael dos Anjos scored his second straight win at Welterweight by choking out Neil Magny in the very first round.
Winner: Amanda Nunes
Who She Should Fight Next: Raquel Pennington
Ronda Rousey is not walking through that door, Julianna Pena is coming off a loss, Shevchenko is 0-2 against Nunes and Holly Holm has her sights elsewhere, so the door is wide open for “Rocky” to step in and fight for the strap next. Sure, she’s only ranked No.5, but of the aforementioned fighters ranked ahead of her, she is the only one on a win streak, which is currently at four. She is deserving, like it or not. Plus, she’s a wild card, and though not the biggest name in the name, she has the tools to give Nunes a tough outing, if not upset her.
Winner: Rafael dos Anjos
Who He Should Fight Next: Santiago Ponzinibbio
“RDA” has now won two straight bouts after moving up to Welterweight, but the challenges will only get bigger. Up next, I’d like to see him face off against Santiago Ponzinibbio, a man who has silently been tearing it up inside the cage to the tune of five straight wins. Still, despite holding more wins in the division than “RDA,” the voting panel his him ranked lower than the Brazilian bomber. A win over the former king at 155 pounds would raise his stock drastically. A win for “RDA,” on the other hand, would expedite his own climb the championship mountain.
Winner: Henry Cejudo
Who He Should Fight Next: Sergio Pettis
Cejudo got back on the winning track by knocking out Wilson Reis in impressive fashion last night in Canada. He and Pettis were all set to throw down at UFC 211 earler this year before an injury forced Henry out of the bout. And after Sergio defeated Brandon Moreno in Mexico City, Mexico, “The Phenom” called for the promotion to re-book it. And since Ray Borg and Demetrious Johnson are likely to get set up to tango soon, it only makes sense for UFC to book Cejudo and Pettis to see who gets the next shot at 125 pounds.
Winner: Ilir Latifi
Who He Should Fight Next: Jimi Manuwa
Sure, Manuwa is coming off a first-round knockout loss to Volkan Orezdemir, but prior to that he was considered a title contender. Plus, Ilir’s win over Pedro -- as impressive as it was -- was his first since 2016. A win over Manuwa would raise Ilir’s stock drastically, while a win for Jimi gets him back on track. Both men have a tendency to bang it out on the feet, so it will be a striker’s delight for all to enjoy.
Winner: Jeremy Stephens
Who Should He Fight Next: Yair Rodriguez
Stephens has been competing inside the Octagon for a decade now, and up until last night, he hadn’t earned a staple win over a big name. Sure, he defeated Rafael dos Anjos, but that was before he was the dos Anjos of today. Still, his dominant one-sided win over Gilbert Melendez is a huge feather in his cap. A fight against Yair Rodriguez sounds about right. They are ranked within one spot of another at the moment, and Yair is hungry to get back into the win column after getting battered by Frankie Edgar. The matchup makes more than sense, so now it’s up to UFC matchmakers to get with the program.
For complete UFC 215 coverage, including play-by-play results, click here.