UFC 215 Preview and Picks
The UFC is in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada this weekend for UFC 215, and while the main event between future hall of famer Demetrious Johnson and Ray Borg was cancelled; there are still plenty of quality matchups on the card. Now headlining the event will be women’s bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes taking on Valentina Shevchenko. Usually for pay-per-view events we do a podcast, but due to conflicting schedules and just being busy, we couldn’t get around to it this week. Here is a look at some of the fights on the card this Saturday night.
Sara McMann (11-3) -270* vs Ketlen Vieira (8-0) +230*
Sara McMann has certainly looked impressive in her last 3 wins in the UFC, and I think she’s improved over time. While she’s a pretty big favorite here, i think she’s going to have trouble with Ketlen Viera. The reason McMann has been so dominant is her opponents simply cannot defend the takedown, but her opponent on Saturday night certainly can. Viera is a very good Jiu-Jitsu practitioner with a strong Judo base…I believe Viera has the capability to make things very interesting, and possibly frustrate the former Olympian. If there’s a weakness that McMann has it’s her striking, which is subpar as she is hesitant on letting her hands go. viera may not be the most accurate striker, but she has power and is capable of knocking McMann out. Call me crazy, but I think Viera is going to wreck a lot of parlays on Saturday night.
The Pick: Viera via split decision
Gilbert Melendez (22-6) -115* vs Jeremy Stephens (25-14) -105*
Weird fight here as we have two guys that are both in the twilight of their careers. Melendez has looked pretty shaky in his past few fights while Stephens has lost two consecutive fights against Frankie Edgar and Renato Moicano. I have no interest in betting this one as the line looks about right to me. I don’t know how much Gilbert has in the tank and Stephens is pretty desperate for a win here. If Melendez can fight a smart fight, meaning fighting at range and mixing in takedowns with Stephens, then he can win. If he wants to strictly stand and trade with Stpehens inside the pocket then I don’t think that’s a good idea. This fight is a total toss-up for me, but I think Stephens is the more desperate and active fighter, and I think Melendez is just a little too much past his
The Pick: Stephens via 3rd rd TKO
Henry Cejudo (10-2) -340* vs Wilson Reis (22-7) +280*
Here’s another fight I have no interest in from a betting standpoint but it should be entertaining for sure. Reis is coming off being absolutely dominated by Demetrious Johnson while Cejudo was absolutely robbed in a split decision loss to joseph Benividez. Cejudo has gotten better with each performance in my opinion, and I think he should have his way with Reis. Cejudo is the quicker guy and he should be able to close the distance on the Brazilian, who I think is past his prime. Reis’ excellent Jiu-jitsu will certainly make this interesting, but Cejudo’s top control is top notch. I expect Cejudo to win this comfortably.
The Pick: Cejudo via unanimous decision
Ilir Latifi (12-5) +120* vs Tyson Pedro (6-0) -140*
I was honestly surprised with the opening line here, I waited and was fortunately able to grab Tyson pedro at +101. Pedro is now around -140, and in my
opinion I think he gets the job done against Ilir Latifi. latifi is a great wrestler, but I think he’s somewhat overmatched her against the bigger and stronger Pedro. Latifi has some power, but so doesn’t Pedro and I think Pedro can get the better of the exchanges in the clinch and if this goes to the ground I think Pedro has the advantage. pedro has a substantial reach advantage, and I just don’t see Latifi getting much done here after the brutal beating he took from Ryan Bader. MMA is just as much a mental game as it is physical, and right now Pedro has a lot of confidence and I think he takes Latifi down
with success and gets the finish.
The Pick: Pedro via 1st round submission
Rafael dos Anjos (26-9) -160* vs Neil Magny (19-5) +140*
This is one of the more intriguing fights on the card, and while I’ve heard a lot of talk that RDA should run through Neil Magny, I think Magny is a very tough matchup for the Brazilian. This will be dos Anjos’ second fight at Welterwight, and I really don’t put a lot of stock in the win over Tarec Saffedine back in June. However one thing I did notice in the fight is that Saffedine did have some success in the clinch even though he seemed gassed throughout the fight. Another thing I noticed is how RDA was slower than usual, which is somewhat expected moving up in weight. I think Magny is the quicker guy, has a significant reach advantage, and can frustrate Dos Anjos with keeping at range and can get the better of the exchanges in the clinch. While some feel this is an easy fight for Dos Anjos, I think Magny’s cardio and pace will ultimately be the difference.
The Pick: Magny via unanimous decision
Womens Bantamweight Championship
Amanda Nunes (14-4) +110* vs Valentina Shevchenko (14-2) -130*
These two were supposed to square off at UFC 213, but Amanda Nunes pulled out of the fight due to a sinus infection. This will be the second time these two have met in the octagon, and in their first fight Amanda won a close fight. This time around it’s 5 rounds, and while Amanda has improved since then, I feel Shevchenko has improved more in both her striking and more importantly on the ground, which was evident in her submission win over Juliana Pena. Nunes is probably the hardest hitting woman in the division, but when it comes to technical striking Shevchenko is better. Nunes cardio has always come into question, and if she doesn’t finish Valentina within a round and a half, I feel that this is valentina’s fight to lose. Back when these two were supposed to meet at UFC 213, Shevchenko was my biggest bet of the year. Now fast forward 2 months I am still confident that Shevchenko will win this fight, but Nunes has to have a ton of motivation hearing everyone say that she was scared and pulled out even though she was medically cleared. I’ll be betting Valentina in some way, but just not as big as I had originally planned. I think Shevchenko weathers the storm early, and takes over after the midway point of the second round.
The Pick: Shevchenko via unanimous decision
That will do it for this card, I’ll be back next week to break down UFC Fight Night 116. Best of luck and enjoy the fights!!!!