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UFC 215 video recap: Amanda Nunes edges Valentina Shevchenko, defends title

In the UFC 215 main event, Amanda Nunes defended her UFC women’s bantamweight title with a split-decision win over Valentina Shevchenko.

MMA: UFC 215-Nunes vs Shevchenko Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

In another close fight, Amanda Nunes defended her UFC women’s bantamweight title successfully for the second time against Valentina Shevchenko. Headlining UFC 215 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada on Saturday night, the two elite females put on a tactical display of mixed martial arts throughout 25 minutes. Both fighters were rather tentative, as neither wanted to make a mistake. And at the end of it all, one fighter — Shevchenko — was not happy. Both felt they had done enough to be crowned the titleholder, but it was Nunes who had the belt wrapped around her waist for the third time.

Nunes, as expected, did well early. Or perhaps a better way of putting it is that Shevchenko did not do well early. Both Nunes and Shevchenko waited almost too much; it was clear they both respected each other, despite their distaste for each other. Nunes was the aggressor for the majority of the fight, especially in the early rounds, but Shevchenko excelled in the counter fighting department, particularly midway through the fight.

Nunes vs. Shevchenko 2 was a rare matchup where either fighter could have won, and neither result would not be considered a “robbery.” The rounds came down to only a few punches on the feet, or maybe one takedown, and many of them were razor-thin close.

MMA fans and press certainly were not unanimous in how the fight should have been scored; the consensus seemingly was that either fighter should have won by a 48-47 decision, with the third round being the deciding frame. And with regards to who should’ve won, the community was approximately split down the middle.

But it seems like the informal rule of “you have to beat the champ to be the champ” came into play here. Two of three judges gave the Brazilian champion the win, and it was enough for Nunes to retain her 135-pound title.

What was the highlight of the fight?


Welp. I mean, Nunes vs. Shevchenko 2 wasn’t terrible. I somewhat enjoyed it, and as surprising as this may sound, I was on the edge of my seat for the majority of the fight. In hindsight, I have no idea why. But it certainly wasn’t great, nor will we remember it come a month or two from now. It’s a thing that happened. That’s about it.

In a fight like that, it’s tough to pick out one highlight. I have very few — if any — options. When I asked for advice on what I should say the highlight was, Anton Tabuena told me to go with “the bad decision.” I scored the fight for Nunes, as did two of the judges, but, hey, it was probably the most intense part of the fight, and I couldn’t come up with anything better.

Where do these two go from here?

There are two next fights for Nunes that stand out to me: Holly Holm and Raquel Pennington. Holm recently got back on track after a devastating three-fight skid with a win over Bethe Correia, but she might be returning to 145 pounds to take on current champ Cris Cyborg. If that’s the case, I’m not sure who else besides Pennington, who last beat former champ Miesha Tate last November, you’d give the women’s bantamweight champion next.

This wasn’t a bad loss for Shevchenko by any means — many people had her winning the fight. But the fact that she’s now, on paper, lost to Nunes twice is not good for her future title hopes. A small bantamweight who once competed at flyweight, “Bullet” will probably drop down to 125 pounds next and challenge the inaugural champ after the winner of The Ultimate Fighter 26 is crowned later this year. Fingers crossed we eventually see Shevchenko vs. strawweight champ Joanna Jedrzejczyk in MMA, because that’s the best women’s MMA fight one could possibly make right now.

Watch now, later, or never?

Watch later if you dig high-level, lackluster fights that last 25 minutes. Watch never if you don’t.

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