Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to the hurt business today (Sat. Sept. 9, 2017) for UFC 215, which is set to go down from inside Rogers Arena in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. The pay-per-view (PPV) event will feature a women’s Bantamweight title fight between division champion Amanda Nunes taking on Valentina Shevchenko. In the co-main event, Neil Magny takes on Rafael dos Anjos in Welterweight action.
Amanda Nunes and Valentina Shevchenko were all set to throw down at UFC 213 earlier this year for Nunes’ 135-pound strap. It was a rematch of their earlier showdown which saw “Lioness” defeat “Bullet” in 2016 at UFC 196. Their rematch, though, was cancelled after Nunes fell ill a few days prior to fight night thanks to a sever battle with sinusitis. Now, with her health at full speed, Amanda will look to defeat Shevchenko for the second time, defending her 135-pound strap for the first time, in the process.
Injuries, cancellations and illness.
Original Card vs. Actual Card:
This card has changed drastically since its inception. Junior dos Santos was all set to face Francis Ngannou at this event before “Cigano” was pulled for a United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) violation. And since Alistair Overeem wasn’t too keen on accepting Francis’ late challenge — which he wasn’t obligated to do, anyway — Ngannou was taken off the card immediately.
Furthermore, the event was set to feature a Flyweight championship bout that would’ve seen division champion Demetrious Johnson attempt to go for a record-breaking 11th-straight title defense, but was ultimately scrapped after Ray Borg was forced out of the event a day before weigh-ins due to illness.
As a result, Nunes vs Shevchenko was moved up to the headliner, a move that probably didn’t sit too well with Dana White. Thankfully, the brash head honcho offered up refunds to anyone who was mad at Borg for getting sick. As if it were his fault.
Other than Borgs week-long illness, there were no major injuries that shook up the event.
Undefeated heavyweight prospect (6-0) Arjan Bhullar will make his UFC debut against Luis Henrique on the undercard after making his way through the smaller promotions in Canada. The former Olympic freestyle wrestler will bring a big time pedigree to the Octagon.
How The “Prelims” Look:
Sara McMann has quietly won three-straight fights, and hasn’t tasted defeat since coming up short against current division champion Amanda Nunes back in 2015. Should she get a win over Ketlin Vieira, she can make a strong case for herself in the title hunt. Also, up-and-coming prospect Gavin Tucker will look to remain undefeated (10-0, 1-0 UFC) when he puts his mint record on the line against gritty veteran Rick Glenn
Who Needs A Win Badly:
Gilbert Melendez has lost three-straight fights in the UFC’s Lightweight division which ultimately prompted “El Nino” to make the drop down to Featherweight in order to get a new lease on his combat career. It won’t be easy, though, as he will face hard hitting Jeremy Stephens in his first 145-pound fight inside the Octagon. Should he come up short again, then it will be a long road back to prominence for the former Strikeforce champion, who only has one win inside the eight-walled cage in five attempts.
Interest Level: 5/10
Look, the card really wasn’t all that bad as people made it out to be initially. Sure, you see Demtrious Johnson as the headliner and you automatically are reverted back to all of the other PPV busts that have occurred with him leading the way. But still, that doesn’t take away from him as a fighter. Nevertheless, with him out of the equation, the interest level for the event has dropped dramatically given the lack of star-power. Plus, when you take out Junior dos Santos and Francis Ngannou, the event gets even weaker.
That said, there are some intriguing bouts to keep it afloat, including Henry Cejudo vs. Wilson Reis, two men who previously came up short in their bid to dethrone “Mighty Mouse.” Plus, we get to see if Melendez will indeed start fresh at 145 pounds, or if his days as an elite MMA fighter are far gone. Ilir Latifi vs. Tyson Pedro should be a hard-hitting affair that could very well end in a knockout or a thrilling three-round affair. Also, Rafael dos Anjos will look to stay perfect at 170 pounds as he faces Magny, a longtime Welterweight who looks to string together back-to-back wins for the first time since 2015-2016.
And of course we have the main event. Nunes has a chance to not only defend her belt against someone she’s defeated before, but she gets the opportunity to put on a show in order to make Dana White think twice about not making her the headlining act...on purpose.
Full UFC Fight Night 215 Fight Card:
UFC 215 PPV Main Event :
125 lbs.: UFC Flyweight Champion Demetrious Johnson vs. Ray Borg— CANCELED DUE TO ILLNESS — FULL STORY HERE
UFC 215 PPV Main Event:
135 lbs.: UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion Amanda Nunes vs. Valentina Shevchenko
UFC 215 PPV Main Card (10 p.m. ET):
170 lbs.: Rafael dos Anjos vs. Neil Magny
125 lbs.: Henry Cejudo vs. Wilson Reis
205 lbs.: Ilir Latifi vs. Tyson Pedro
145 lbs.: Gilbert Melendez vs. Jeremy Stephens
UFC 215 Prelims On FOX Sports 1 (8 p.m. ET):
135 las.: Sara McMann vs. Ketlen Vieira
135 lbs.: Ashlee Evans-Smith vs. Sarah Moras
145 lbs.: Rick Glenn vs. Gavin Tucker
155 lbs.: Alex White vs. Mitch Clarke
UFC 215 Prelims On UFC Fight Pass (7 p.m. ET):
265 lbs.: Arjan Bhullar vs. Luis Henrique
155 lbs.: Kajan Johnson vs. Adriano Martins
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