HEYDORN’S UFC 215 LIVE COVERAGE 9/9: Nunes vs. Shevchenko, Magny vs. Dos Anjos, Cejudo vs. Reis, Latifi vs. Pedro, Stephens vs. Melendez

BY ZACK HEYDORN, MMATorch Contributor


UFC 215 is live from the Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada tonight. Due to Ray Borg having to pull out of his main event bout against Demetrious Johnson, the fight has been scrapped. The new main event for UFC 215 is Amanda Nunes defending her Bantamweight title against Valentina Shevchenko. The co-main event is a pivotal battle in the welterweight division where Neil Magny faces off against Rafael Dos Anjos.

The five fight main card also includes, Henry Cejudo vs. Wilson Reis in what should be an exciting fight between two of the top five flyweights in the world, Ilir Latifi takes on up-and-comer Tyson Pedro in a battle of light heavyweights and Gilbert Melendez makes his return to the cage when he goes up against fellow MMA veteran Jeremy Stephens.

Keep it locked here all evening for live coverage of the main card.


Main Card

(1) Jeremy Stephens (25-13) vs. Gilbert Melendez (22-6) – Featherweight 145 lbs.

ROUND ONE: Stephens dominates with leg kicks that destroyed the round for Melendez. Stephens 10-8.

ROUND TWO: Melendez attempted to change stances, but still was knocked down by kicks to his left leg. Stephens 10-8.

ROUND THREE: Once again, the damage to the left leg of Melendez does him in. Stephens 10-8.

Result: Jeremy Stephens via unanimous decision 

Heydorn’s Analysis: Jeremey Stephens fought a perfect fight. His leg kicks worked immediately and caused significant damage early to Melendez’s legs. The kicks resulted in many knockdowns that gave Stephens the edge each round. Disappointing fight for Melendez but respect to Stephens for a wonderful night.

(2) Ilir Latifi (13-5, 1 NC) vs. Tyson Pedro (6-0) – Light Heavyweight 205 lbs.

ROUND ONE: Though Pedro countered the takedowns well, Latifi had two of them which gives him the leg up. Latifi 10-9.

ROUND TWO: Latifi dominated with a nice takedown and some hard shots while on the mat. Latifi 10-8.

ROUND THREE: Latifi dominated again. Used another takedown and then landed shots to the face that bloodied the face of Pedro. Latifi 10-8.

Result: Ilir Latifi via unanimous decision 

Heydorn’s Analysis: This was a dominant performance by Ilir Latifi. He was able to utilize his takedown offense to throw Pedro off his game. Pedro was unable to land anything of significance and spent the majority of the time in round two and three working to escape Latifi’s holds. I think Pedro will certainly learn from this fight as he continues his UFC career. That said, it was Latifi’s time to shine and he did. 

(3) Henry Cejudo (10-2) vs. Wilson Reis (22-7) – Flyweight 125 lbs.

ROUND ONE: Cejudo looked incredibly good. He crushed Reis with an abundance of strikes and a landed a takedown near the end of the round. Cejudo 10-8.

ROUND TWO: Right out of the gate Cejudo landed a right hook that knocked Reis down. Cejudo pounced and earned the knockout.

Result: Henry Cejudo via knockout in round two

Heydorn’s Analysis: Whoa. What a performance from Cejudo. He was smooth, fierce, and showed that he deserves to be an eventual contender for DJ’s championship. Reis looked overmatched from the start and had nothing in him to halt Cejudo’s intensity. 

(4) Neil Magny (19-6) vs. Rafael Dos Anjos (26-9) – Welterweight 170 lbs.

ROUND ONE: Dos Anjos nailed an early takedown on Magny and had him the entire way after that. He then locked in a choke and Magny tapped.

Result: Rafael Dos Anjos via submission

Heydorn’s Analysis: Brutal showing for Magny. Dos Anjos seemed to shock him with an early takedown and Magny was never able to recover. In a major contrast to his opponent, Dos Anjos looked fantastic. He maintained control after the early takedown and punished Magny in a very calculated way. With another performance like this, Dos Anjos’s name will be tossed around with Tyron Woodley. 

(5) Amanda Nunes (14-4) vs. Valentina Shevchenko (14-2) – Bantamweight 135 lbs.

ROUND ONE: Slow developing round, but Nunes lands enough along with a late semi takedown. Nunes 10-9.

ROUND TWO: Shevchenko came back strong in this round. Landed some great strikes and seemed to surprise Nunes who was unprepared to throw any significant counters. Shevchenko 10-9.

ROUND THREE: This was a close round to be sure. Both fighters landed punches and counter punches, but Shevchenko seemed to maintain momentum throughout. Shevchenko 10-9.

ROUND FOUR: Shevchenko continued to hit Nunes and then immediately escaped Nunes’s reach. Nunes landed some nice shots but ones that did less overall damage. Shevchenko 10-9.

ROUND FIVE: Nunes changed up her strategy and landed two nice takedowns. Shevchenko escaped both, but the round goes to Nunes. Nunes 10-9.

Result: Amanda Nunes via split decision and still UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion

Heydorn’s Analysis: Overall, this fight was boring and the decision was very questionable. Nunes controlled the octagon, but it was Shevchenko that landed more significant punches via strategic and effective counters. Shevchenko made a terrible mistake in the last round that yielded a takedown. That seemed to be the difference maker in the eyes of the judges. Shevchenko certainly had a reason to be upset with the outcome as rounds 2, 3, and 4 had her name on them. Nunes escaped this one and is lucky to still have the belt around her waist. 

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