The main event (due to the cancellation of Demetrious Johnson vs. Ray Borg) of UFC 215 on Saturday, September 9th sees reigning women’s bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes (14-4 MMA, 7-1 UFC) rematch Valentina Shevchenko (14-2 MMA, 3-1 UFC). This matchup was originally scheduled to headline UFC 213 back in July, but Nunes withdrew on fight day after she was hospitalized for chronic sinusitis.
Nunes is looking for her second successful title defense, while Shevchenko is seeking to avenge her prior loss to the Brazilian, and this time earn UFC gold in the process. This fight was compelling viewing more than a year ago, and now we get to see them scheduled for five rounds. UFC 215: Nunes vs. Shevchenko 2 airs live on pay-per-view from the Rogers Arena in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada beginning at 10 PM ET/7 PM PT. The prelims are available to watch on Fox Sports 1 at 8 PM ET/5 PM PT, but action first kicks off on UFC Fight Pass at 7 PM ET/4 PM PT.
How do these two stack up?
Nunes: 29 years old | 5’8″ | 69” reach
Shevchenko: 29 years old | 5’5″ | 67″ reach
What have these two done recently?
Nunes: W – Ronda Rousey (TKO) | W – Miesha Tate (SUB) | W – Valentina Shevchenko (UD)
Shevchenko: W – Julianna Pena (SUB) | W – Holly Holm (UD) | L – Amanda Nunes (UD)
How did these two get here?
It’s been a sensational run of victories for Amanda “The Lioness” Nunes. Now training full-time at American Top Team, Nunes has won five straight, finishing everyone except Shevchenko. She became women’s bantamweight champion with a dominant, one-round win over Miesha Tate at UFC 200, then annihilated Ronda Rousey in under a minute at UFC 207. Nunes has been able to win with her striking and her grappling, most notably dropping and submitting Sara McMann in August 2015. The big question is whether or not her cardio problems can be solved, as Shevchenko did rally to win round 3 against her in their first matchup at UFC 196.
Fighting out of Peru by way of her native Kyrgyzstan, “Bullet” Shevchenko has gone from a proficient Muay Thai fighter to one of the best fighters in women’s MMA. We haven’t seen much of her in the UFC, but it’s hard to deny that her strength of schedule is impressive. After beating Sarah Kaufman in her Octagon debut, Shevchenko did suffer the decision loss to Nunes, but has since bounced back by outclassing former champion Holly Holm and then submitting Julianna Pena with an armbar. The Pena win headlined a FOX card back in January and secured her the next crack at Nunes’ title. Shevchenko’s ground game continues to improve, and her striking is world class (just ask Joanna Jedrzejczyk, who lost to Shevchenko three times in Muay Thai competition).
Why should you care?
It’s a 50-50 fight and a compelling rematch between the clear top two fighters in the women’s bantamweight division.
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