With Demetrious Johnson vs. Ray Borg scrapped at the last minute, the UFC 215 main event in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada was a women’s bantamweight title bout between champion Amanda Nunes and Valentina Shevchenko. In their first fight, Nunes prevailed in a three-round decision that had some late drama. The championship rematch was a lot more tactical, and in the eyes of the crowd at the Rogers Arena, it wasn’t exciting to watch. In the end, Nunes showed she could go five rounds, and she got the nod on two of the three judges’ scorecards.
Round 1 started out as a feeling out process. Neither woman landed anything really substantive, and they were trying to measure distance and get each other’s timing down. Nunes patiently threw a steady diet of low kicks and front kicks to the body. Shevchenko’s landed a good counter right hand, but Nunes returned fire with some solid punches as the opening frame drew to a close.
Nunes continued with the body kicks while Shevchenko connected on a knee in the clinch. Shevchenko had some success on the counter, and made the most of Nunes not really being that active. Nunes landed a left hook but then took a spinning back kick to the body. It was an overall better round for Shevchenko, who is used to fighting at this pace.
Shevchenko was getting into more of a rhythm in round 3. There were more kicks from Nunes and pumping out the jab, but she wasn’t consistently landing the right hand. Shevchenko just missed with a spinning elbow but did land a right. Nunes was warned for constantly extending her fingers outward. The counterstriking of Shevchenko was giving Nunes some problems in a low output matchup.
Heading into the first round 4 of her career, Nunes continued to throw primarily kicks and looked fresh. A three-punch combo cracked the champion. Nunes hit Shevchenko with a quality front kick to the body. Shevchenko answered with a knee. A counter left hand scored for the challenger. There wasn’t much to separate these two after four rounds, although Shevchenko looked to have the stronger 4th.
Nunes hit Shevchenko with a left hook as Valentina flurried in round 5. Amanda shot for a takedown as the annoyed crowd chanted “Let’s go Oilers!” in reference to the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers. Shevchenko stopped the shot and went into the clinch. Nunes changed levels and dropped for the double leg, but then separated. Shevchenko landed a nice leg kick. Nunes took advantage of Shevchenko’s poor head-and-arm throw and took her back. Not much could be done from that position, but Nunes was able to get a crucial takedown and stay on top. Shevchenko threw elbows off of her back and Nunes mostly held her down in guard to end the fight.
Official result: Amanda Nunes def. Valentina Shevchenko by split decision (48-47, 47-48, 48-47) to win the UFC women’s bantamweight title