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UFC 215: Nunes vs. Shevchenko 2 staff picks and predictions

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Check out the Bloody Elbow staff’s predictions for UFC 215: Nunes vs. Shevchenko 2, which takes place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada on Saturday, September 9th.

MMA: UFC 213-Omielanczuk vs Blaydes Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The Bloody Elbow staff has submitted its predictions for UFC 215, and the majority of us are picking Valentina Shevchenko to defeat Amanda Nunes and become the new women’s bantamweight champion. Phil Mackenzie, Stephie Haynes, and myself are the only ones siding with Nunes. For the co-main event between Rafael dos Anjos and Neil Magny, the staff is split 50-50.

For the record, no one was picking Ray Borg to beat Demetrious Johnson at the time the fight was canceled.

Note: Predictions are entered throughout the week and collected the day before the event. Explanations behind each pick are not required and some writers opt not to do so for their own reasons. For example, if Phil Mackenzie entered all of his predictions on Wednesday without adding in any explanations, he has no idea if he's going to be the only one siding with one fighter for any given fight.

Amanda Nunes vs. Valentina Shevchenko

Anton Tabuena: Nothing really changed since UFC 213 for me, so I’m using the exact same prediction -- This could boil down with how the opening rounds go. Nunes will be the bigger and more powerful fighter, but Shevchenko would be the more technical and precise striker on the feet and in the clinch. We know what Nunes can do if she lands big, and if she dominates early, she can build a lead or even get a finish. On the other hand, if Shevchenko can keep it close and not get overwhelmed early, she can very well pick Nunes apart and eventually take over as Nunes slows down in the championship rounds. Shevchenko’s improvements on the ground could help her achieve this, but it could also be unfair to automatically assume Nunes will still gas, especially if she’s handily winning and hurting the challenger. Tough to pick now, but I have a feeling it will be very easy to predict how this turns out after the first few minutes have passed. I guess I’ll go with the challenger to handle herself well enough on times this goes to the ground and eventually pick her apart standing. Valentina Shevchenko by Decision.

Mookie Alexander: My thoughts on the fight haven’t really changed since it got canceled at UFC 213, so this is legitimately just mostly me copying-and-pasting from that event. Shevchenko was decidedly the vastly inferior fighter after two rounds before Nunes gassed. Therefore, she has to make way more adjustments in this rematch than Nunes does. Who’s to say Nunes can’t find a way to conserve her energy and be much more methodical so she can win the later rounds for the first time in her career? I suppose we’ll find out if those problems are permanently ingrained or can be coached out. There’s also the concern I have with Shevchenko not being able to compete with Nunes on the ground when she was put on her back, and Nunes has a dangerous top game. Size, power-punching, and grappling advantage go to Nunes, whereas the overall technical kickboxing and clinch skills go to Shevchenko. I’m looking forward to this fight again and think that Nunes silences the remaining doubters with another surgical performance. Amanda Nunes by TKO, round 2.

Victor Rodriguez: I dunno. It seems like a lot of hay is often made of Amanda’s cardio. Valentina’s stamina has looked unquestionably better, but it just doesn’t seem to me like Nunes is going to gas out as badly as most seem to think. That said, Valentina should be able to use her movement and speed to outwork Nunes over the course of all five rounds (their first encounter was a 3 round fight) to negate the range advantage and use her counter game effectively as she did against Holly Holm. Look out for side kicks to the body from Shevchenko to break Amanda down, as well as more clinching against the cage while stuffing takedown attempts. Valentina Shevchenko by decision

Zane Simon: Like most elite women bantamweights, Amanda Nunes has thrived somewhat on a distinct lack of complete skill sets among competitors in the division. Most specifically she’s thrived on the fact that many women in that division just don’t have great striking defense or command of range. Fighters like Miesha Tate and Ronda Rousey were forced to close Nunes down over and over, driving themselves, head on line, straight into her power punches. Obviously, that’s not the only thing Nunes has going on. She’s also got a good offensive takedown game and aggressive grappling game to make her dangerous everywhere for fighters that want to pursue her and bring the fight to her. But... that’s not really Shevchenko. Shevchenko has thrived largely because she very much encapsulates good defensive fundamentals and a command of range. And it’s a style that allows her to stay active and effective late into bouts. Nunes could stop her early, especially with a takedown to submission (or possibly GnP TKO), but Shevchenko has never been easy to stop, even off her back. And we still have yet to see Nunes show the cardio for anything resembling a 5 round fight. I don’t think that’s down to training, I think that’s down to an instinct driven attacking style that pushes her to put all her energy into her attacks and leaves her drained as the bout goes on. Come round 3, she’ll very likely be tired, maybe even too tired to make it to the final bell. Valentina Shevchenko by Submission, Round 4.

Fraser Coffeen: Yes, I am about to hit CTRL+V, why do you ask? For a few years, the path to beating Nunes was crystal clear - survive the early aggression, let her gas out, then use her relative deficit in wrestling to take her down and control the action. That’s how Alexis Davis beat her, and that’s how Cat Zingano beat her. After the Zingano fight she changed camps and it clearly had a positive impact - she’s undefeated at ATT. But I’m not positive it had enough of an impact - against Zingano, Nunes gassed after 1 round and Cat was able to finish her off in the 3rd. Against Shevchenko in her new ATT guise, she gassed out after 2 rounds, which was enough to get the win in a 3 rounder. Had that fight gone 5, it seems clear Shevchenko would have won, and now, here we are. I have a tough time seeing Nunes take 3 rounds out of 5 here. While I fully expect Shevchenko to lose the opening round, Nunes is going to tire, and when she does, Shevchenko can pick her apart on the feet, take her down and pound her, control the clinch… basically win the fight everywhere. At Nunes’ best, I see her dragging this to a close decision where it is decided on a relatively even round or two. At her worst, I see her tiring and getting subbed late. I’ll go with option A. Valentina Shevchenko by decision

Staff picking Nunes: Phil, Stephie, Mookie
Staff picking Shevchenko: Bissell, Nick, Anton, Tim, Victor, Zane, Fraser

Rafael dos Anjos vs. Neil Magny

Anton Tabuena: Dos Anjos pretty much looked the same on 170 lbs during his debut. He looked like a good sized welterweight and pressured the same we he does at 155. But that’s also because Saffiedine isn’t the most physically imposing welterweight, and he also prefers to use distance and technical ability rather than size and brute force. Magny isn’t that guy that usually outmuscles opponents either, so if RDA can deal with the reach, he should be able to perform like he normally does here as well. There’s a chance Magny gives him trouble in the clinch, but I expect RDA to figure out the reach and eventually win on every other area in the contest. Rafael Dos Anjos by Decision.

Mookie Alexander: I really thought I’d confidently be picking dos Anjos here, but good lord is he going to look comically small in there against gangly Magny. The book on Magny isn’t that difficult, either. He’s poor at responding to pressure, doesn’t really check leg kicks, isn’t a great defensive wrestler, and gets hurt/knocked down quite often. However, I don’t think we learned too much from RDA’s workmanlike win over whatever is stitched together and packaged as Tarec Saffiedine. I’m not entirely sure RDA is going to be able to easily close the distance and get into the range he wants to work his clearly superior striking and potentially take Magny down, where Neil would be in a world of trouble. If Magny happens to be on top of RDA in a grappling exchange, then the dynamic can change, because Magny can produce great offense from dominant positions. I definitely can’t rule out Magny’s offensive wrestling being a factor here, as it was in the Gastelum win. Arghhhhhhh I’m going to regret this but Neil Magny by unanimous decision.

Phil Mackenzie: I was not convinced by RDA's win over Saffiedine. It reminded me of Hendricks-Lombard: a fight between two guys who had both declined in ways which ended up making for an interesting, slightly uncharacteristic technical bout. Magny's wrestling defense is a sizable concern, but his enormous reach advantage means he should be able to wear on RDA and discourage him from throwing leg kicks too much with the jab and hook. Other than that, the sheer size differential will drive RDA into the clinch. Magny is a good clinch fighter, and an underrated tall man wrestler who stretches the opponent out with his shoulder under their chin from double underhooks to unbalance them. If RDA gets on top, he can do damage, but if Magny gets top position I think he is more likely to wear on the smaller man's gas tank. Neil Magny by unanimous decision.

Zane Simon: Magny’s size is a legit threat here, especially inside, where RDA has shown an increasingly evolved clinch game. But, I think Magny’s offense may just be a little too simple outside and his habit of backing up and covering up too all too predictable for a pressure fighter like RDA. If RDA can read Magny’s double jab to right hand/right kick, he should be able to push past Magny’s reach, drive him to the fence and either shoot takedowns or tie him up to see who can get the better of the clinch fight. For now, I trust RDA to do that more than I trust Magny to not get himself plunked by the shorter man, and have to battle back from the brink of defeat. Rafael Dos Anjos by decision.

Staff picking RDA: Bissell, Nick, Anton, Victor, Zane
Staff picking Magny: Phil, Tim, Stephie, Mookie, Fraser

Ilir Latifi vs. Tyson Pedro

Mookie Alexander: Oh man I really have to break character for this. Forgive me, Ilir, for you are footslow and your game is all too predictable. Pedro has the physical advantages and that’s probably going to make it that much more difficult for Latifi to land something good without getting countered. Latifi has the obvious wrestling advantage, but that hasn’t stopped him from getting folded up in the past by someone like Jan Blachowicz. I am concerned about Pedro’s lack of experience and having never fought outside of round 1, but I believe the Aussie is a prospect who will justify delaying the much-needed shuttering of the light heavyweight division. Tyson Pedro by TKO, round 2.

Phil Mackenzie: The interesting thing about Latifi is how he is obviously trying to be a more technical fighter of late. In early fights he was essentially an angry bowling ball of muscle, but now he's been working a safer, more slow-paced outside game. Pedro is almost certainly more naturally talented, and a training camp with Jackson-Wink was the right step to take, but I need to see more than 1 round blowouts from him to convince me that he's quite the kind of talent who can overcome this kind of experience deficit. Ilir Latifi by unanimous decision.

Victor Rodriguez: Pedro’s shaking things up in what is perhaps the unhealthiest division in terms of structure. He’s coming in with the hot hand with a TKO and a submission while getting a step up in competition, and he has the speed, strength and athleticism to sleep a guy that Ryan Bader sent to the land of wind and ghosts. That’s not a knock on Bader, but a sign that Latifi’s chin may not be the same. Yet I have to go with Latifi making this an ugly slog that deals more with infighting and pressing forward to get to the clinch, beating Pedro up inside. If not, I can see Pedro busting Latifi up from top position on the ground, but Latifi seems to be less reckless and fighting smarter. Ilir Latifi (blessings upon the ground on which he walks) by decision.

Zane SImon: I WANT Pedro to win this bout. Latifi, at this point, is more a gatekeeper to the elite than a rising talent at 205. Pedro is the fresh fighter with a mark to make. But, there’s a reason Latifi is a good gatekeeper. He’s an impossibly powerful wrestler with a patient, well paced (read slow) striking game built to keep himself from getting tired. Pedro, for his flashier tools and higher upside, has never been outside of round 1, still, and doesn’t strike me as some sort of amazing cardio machine who can secretly take over a tough fight late. He also has a habit of letting opponents assert their game on him (particularly their clinch game) before he turns the fight around with his own offense. I think Latifi can slow the fight down early inside and then stay ahead of a slogging pot-shot/grinding affair where he’s just the fresher man in the cage. Ilir Latifi by decision.

Staff picking Latifi: Phil, Anton, Tim, Victor, Zane, Fraser
Staff picking Pedro: Mookie (no, seriously I am), Bissell, Nick, Stephie

Gilbert Melendez vs. Jeremy Stephens

Anton Tabuena: Melendez has a fairly predictable game that should play into Stephen’s striking style. Apart from question marks stemming from the layoff and the weight cut in a new division, I’m really not sure how much he has left in the tank. Jeremy Stephens by TKO.

Mookie Alexander: Jeremy Stephens gets billed as some prolific knockout artist, but he only has three KO/TKO finishes in his last 15 fights. The majority of his stoppages have come outside the UFC against regional competition. Melendez still has a damn good chin and can quite conceivably win a grinding decision here against Lil’ Heathen. There’s also something to be said about how easy it is for Stephens’ striking to fall apart against just about anyone with good defensive footwork, and that’s what we saw against Moicano. I don’t really know if Melendez is fit for 145, but stylistically I think it’s hard to envision him getting knocked out, and for Stephens to fight a smart, measured fight to win on points. Gilbert Melendez by unanimous decision.

Phil Mackenzie: Sink or swim fight right here. Gil is coming off a string of losses and a PED suspension, and Stephens has also racked up back to back losses including that concerning bout against Moicano. I think Stephens is closer to his physical prime than Gil is, but Melendez has always been a smart fighter, and Stephens is... not. He has good instincts and proprioception, but tends to rely on them rather than putting himself into good positions to land. I basically expect a slightly more competitive version of Stephens-Edgar, where Stephens has one good round but gets edged in the other two. Gilbert Melendez by unanimous decision.

Victor Rodriguez: I’m a total Melendez mark, and this fight certainly favors him. Stephens can be flustered standing and can be stifled off his back, and those are two things Gil does well. Stephens can crack and is good at exploding to get back up when necessary, but Melendez has better chain wrestling than most of the guys Stephens has faced in quite some time save for Frankie Edgar, who defeated Stephens last year. Melendez could basically replicate the portion of his gameplan that was working against Anthony Pettis - don’t let him get comfortable in mid-range and time the eventual takedowns. He should be able to thump on him from there. Giblert Merengue by TKO, round 3.

Zane Simon: Gilbert Melendez has been the “better” fighter over the course of his career than Jeremy Stephens, but I think this is kind of a brutal matchup for him. Melendez has always made his career of his ability to drop into the pocket, plant his feet, and throw 2-3 hard punches, and the drive forward for a takedown or otherwise make the fight messy. He’s not the kind of in-and-out range fighter that can give Stephens’ plodding footwork fits from outside. And planting right in front of Stephens just feels like exactly the fight Stephens wants. If Melendez can get takedowns he can absolutely turn this fight to his favor, but Stephens’ has always done well to prepare for opponents he respects, especially if he expects them to wrestle, as he should with Melendez. My guess is that Stephens comes out looking like he did against Edgar and Barao, where he had little trouble staying upright, and Melendez ends up eating the harder shots in regular exchanges over the bout. I probably trust Melendez’s chin to hold up, but this is his first cut to 145 in a decade, so who knows what that’ll do. Jeremy Stephens by decision.

Staff picking Melendez: Bissell, Phil, Stephie, Tim, Victor, Fraser
Staff picking Stephens: Nick, Anton, Zane

Henry Cejudo vs. Wilson Reis

Anton Tabuena: Cejudo won’t let this go to the ground unless he wants to. On the feet, he has shown improvements and seems to be on a different level with Reis at this point. Henry Cejudo by Decision.

Mookie Alexander: Cejudo will keep it standing and box Reis up and either stop him or win a one-sided decision. I’ll side with the latter. Henry Cejudo by unanimous decision.

Phil Mackenzie: Cejudo beat Formiga, who is a bit better than Reis, and has developed massively since then. Regardless of the scoring, his bout with Joe B was a razor thin fight with one of the most skilled and well-rounded fighters in the sport. Reis' physical power is a little underrated, but against those with the technical ability and speed to prise apart the crude, functional blocks of his standup and phase shifts he has tended to struggle. I think this is the coming-out party of the new and improved Cejudo, who has been starting to show shades of some nasty power, particularly in his body kick. Henry Cejudo by TKO, round 2.

Victor Rodriguez: Reis is no slouch standing, but Cejudo’s faster and his boxing isn’t just better, but his whole style is better suited to win rounds. Reis can pull a rabbit out of a hat and catch Cejudo with a submission setup that he can chain to something else, but I can’t give him more than a 20% chance of doing that. And that’s being generous. Cejudo’s a smart fighter and should be savvy enough on the ground to know what he’s dealing with. Henry Cejudo by decision.

Zane SImon: Feels like this may be a brutal, short fight for Wilson Reis. I expect Cejudo to come out looking to smash him, and put Reis on his heels early. If Reis can’t find some rhythm out of the gate, it could be all down hill. Henry Cejudo by TKO, Round 1.

Staff picking Cejudo: Bissell, Nick, Phil, Anton, Stephie, Tim, Victor, Mookie, Zane, Fraser
Staff picking Reis:

Sara McMann vs. Ketlen Vieira

Mookie Alexander: Vieira is getting better and I thought she looked very composed on the feet against Ashlee Evans-Smith, but is otherwise still developing her game and is too raw for me to give her much of a chance against McMann. Expect many takedowns from the Olympic medalist, stifling top control, and an arm-triangle finish. Sara McMann by submission, round 2.

Phil Mackenzie: Sara McMann was thrown in at the deep end and got beaten by some high-end talents. Now it seems like her confidence and technique is catching up to her physicality, which is frankly just too overwhelming for the majority of W135 fighters. Dynamics are similar to the Martins-Johnson fight: one fighter wants to stay in the pocket and land volume, but the other is a much better athlete who can land moments of fight-changing offense and is a monster from top position. Sara McMann by unanimous decision.

Victor Rodriguez: Vieira’s coming in undefeated and is good at bullying most opponents with her size and frame. McMann has that country girl strength and world-class wrestling, though. Despite her game not being as well-adjusted to MMA as someone like Miesha Tate, it’ll do more than just get the job done here. Vieira still has the striking advantage and all fights start standing, but she’s going to have some serious trouble getting dragged into deep water by a fighter that won’t let her dictate the pace. Sara McMann by submission.

Zane Simon: This likely all comes down to takedown defense for Vieira. If she can stymie McMann’s wrestling, freeze her up a little, she may be able to make McMann fade away as she’s had a habit of doing in her worst performances. But, Vieira’s desire to stalk forward and keep pressure high, likely sets her up well to get taken down. And McMann’s increased confidence in her hands, combined with some real power, doesn’t make her a guaranteed pushover in brief flurries. I expect McMann will have to fight hard early for takedowns, but once they start coming they’ll get easier and easier. Sara McMann by submission, round 2.

Staff picking McMann: Bissell, Nick, Phil, Anton, Stephie, Tim, Victor, Mookie, Zane, Fraser
Staff picking Vieira:

Sarah Moras vs. Ashlee Evans-Smith

Phil Mackenzie: Blah. Moras is an OK wrestler. Evans-Smith is a reasonably effective outside striker whose wrestling has largely been used to stay on the feet. If she gets top position I think she can inflict some damage but otherwise this fight is deeply uninspiring. Ashlee Evans-Smith by unanimous decision.

Victor Rodriguez: Evans-Smith should be the smart choice here, but I’m giving Moras the nod on this one. I’m not even 100% sure why. Ashlee hits pretty hard and has a knack for pressing forward. Moras is less assertive, but isn’t as prone to single strikes as most other opponents Ashlee’s faced. Whatever. I’m rolling the dice on Sarah Moras by submission. Fight me.

Zane SImon: If Moras were a better athlete, her fairly technical wrestling and grappling would count for a lot more. But, she just isn’t. And not having fought for a while now, it’s hard to say what other tools she’s added to her game, or if she’ll come out with a lot of ring rust. Evans-Smith has trouble comfortably implementing her athleticism, but she’s improving, she’s big, she’s strong, and she should get the slow paced striking match that makes her comfortable for as long as she can fight off takedowns. If she can stuff Moras and end up on top of her, she could do some real damage. Ashlee Evans-Smith by decision.

Staff picking Evans-Smith: Bissell, Nick, Phil, Anton, Stephie, Mookie, Zane, Fraser
Staff picking Moras: Tim, Victor

Rick Glenn vs. Gavin Tucker

Mookie Alexander: Awesome, awesome fight. Very tempting to pick Glenn if only because he’s more experienced (without it being a euphemism for “old”) than Tucker and is a mean fighter in the clinch. The problem I see for Glenn is that he’s slow. Really really slow. As Connor pointed out in the Vivisection, Evan Dunham isn’t the type of guy who beats you because of his speed. Tucker has a size disadvantage to overcome, but he’s definitely the more explosive athlete and can pace himself smartly so that he wins more than enough striking exchanges to take a decision. He has stinging power but not to the point where I suspect he can trouble Glenn and hurt him. Definitely don’t remember him hurting Sam Sicilia (although he totally styled on poor Sam from start to finish), so I’m going with Gavin Tucker by unanimous decision.

Phil Mackenzie: One of the more fun fights on the card. Glenn is sort of a Magny-type, a lanky high-pace and relatively well-rounded fighter, who is a bit too slow and defensively vulnerable to be able to crack the elite, but who's tough, pacy and smart, and can generate surprising upsets. Tucker is a real jump-off-the-page talent, of the type that had a lot of people picking him over a tough vet in Sam Sicilia despite limited tape and an average level of competition. He's going to have to work his way past Glenn's reach, which is the biggest X-factor: styling on flat-footed, short Sicilia is not the same proposition, but the difference in footspeed is just so pronounced that I think Tucker can land leg kicks and be out of dodge before fire comes back. Gavin Tucker by unanimous decision.

Victor Rodriguez: Damn, Phil’s pretty much spot-on here. Glenn’s a tough dude, but he’s pretty slow. He’s crafty, though. His striking has improved since his time in WSOF and he’s not afraid to shift from striking to grappling and back. Unless Tucker blasts him early, I’m gonna go with Glenn wrestling with him and eventually working submissions that Tucker works out of to the point of exhaustion. Rick Glenn by decision.

Zane Simon: The basics for me are that Glenn is likely just too slow, and too ungainly when throwing long combinations to track Tucker down at range, or to keep himself from opening up his defense and getting countered. If he can get to the clinch, this fight could get interesting in a hurry, as Glenn is bigger and does very well fighting inside (also he’s tough as an old boot). Still, I’m picking Tucker for a footwork heavy sniping win on points. Gavin Tucker by decision.

Staff picking Glenn: Tim, Victor
Staff picking Tucker: Bissell, Nick, Anton, Phil, Stephie, Mookie, Zane, Fraser

Mitch Clarke vs. Alex White

Phil Mackenzie: Clarke is incredibly sneaky and, given the right matchup, can look very good. However, "unathletic BJJ guy with bad takedowns" has never been a reliable style and has only gotten less reliable as the sport has developed. White is no-one's idea of a consistent fighter, but he's developed some decent range boxing, and was able to stand up to Tony Martins' takedown and power sub game for three rounds. Think he can hang out at range and pick up a couple of frames while getting hit by a weird trip takedown in one of the others. Alex White by unanimous decision.

Zane Simon: Partially I’m just a fan of Clarke’s (he’s a good dude) so take this with a grain of salt, but... I think he’s got a solid path to victory here. Most notably, he’s a pretty relentless fighter when it comes to pursuing takedowns, and (Duffy fight aside) he’s reasonably hard to put away. Even against bad wrestlers (prior to Martin) White’s takedown defense has never been stellar. His wooden, upright stance and movement likely just makes him pretty prone to level changes. If Clark goes after him and stays after him, I don’t think White will have an easy time hurting him badly enough to change the dynamic of the bout. Mitch Clarke by decision.

Staff picking Clarke: Bissell, Nick, Tim, Victor, Mookie, Zane, Fraser
Staff picking White: Phil, Anton, Stephie

Arjan Bhullar vs. Luis Henrique

Phil Mackenzie: I just don't know. Bhullar clearly has some talent, he's training at a good camp. It would be totally awesome to have a Canadian-Indian heavyweight making waves. But he just doesn't look all that dynamic or threatening in the limited tape available. He mostly looks to be hitting scrappy takedowns and then attrition TKOs. Heavyweight really is a different sport when comparing the regionals to the UFC, and Henrique has only lost to very good opponents. You know what, screw it. I like what I've heard from Bhullar. I think he has good cardio and can win an inspiringly dull top position decision, Rosholt-style. Arjan Bhullar by unanimous decision.

Victor Rodriguez: I can’t trust Henrique. Gotta go with the wrestler that’s got the freak strength on lock and will walk out joined by PUNJABI POWER JINDER MAHAL, FAM. Arjan Bhullar by Cobra Clutch.

Zane Simon: As Phil pointed out above, somewhat, the tape on Bhullar is not all that inspiring. He doesn’t look like a Curtis Blaydes style power takedown machine, and he doesn’t look like he has any fight changing power in his hands. Henrique may be significantly younger, but at this point he has a lot more high level experience, and could be just a good enough wrestler to keep Bhullar from being effective until he gasses out. I have a similar worry for Henrique, that his habit of pressing a takedown that isn’t working will make him tired against the better technical wrestler. But I have more faith in his cardio, his ability to strike with some power, and just generally his ability to carry something like a decent heavyweight MMA game into a UFC fight. Luis Henrique by decision.

Staff picking Bhullar: Nick, Anton, Phil, Stephie, Tim, Victor, Mookie, Fraser
Staff picking Henrique: Bissell, Zane

Kajan Johnson vs. Adriano Martins

Phil Mackenzie: A veterans fight, both of whom showed surprising improvements at very late stages in their careers. Johnson picked up more consistency in his defense and technical savvy in his striking, and Martins just became a far more coherent wrestle-boxer while increasing his ability to jump on opportunities. They've also both been out for a long time. No real surprises in the pick: I can see the slightly plodding Martins losing a kickboxing match, but he hits harder, is a far better wrestler, has a better chin and in general has beaten much higher quality opponents. Adriano Martins by TKO, round 2.

Zane SImon: To beat Martins, opponents need to fight a very patient, more technical game. Especially focused on their ability to potshot while staying safe from counter strikes. Generally, Johnson has been something of a moderate output plodder or, when that hasn’t worked, a brawling wild man. Either way, I don’t think he has the necessary speed or footwork to stay safe against Martins while delivering offense. Adriano Martins by KO, Round 2.

Staff picking Johnson:
Staff picking Martins: Bissell, Nick, Phil, Anton, Tim, Stephie, Victor, Mookie, Fraser, Zane

Poll

Who wins the UFC 215 main event?

This poll is closed

  • 17%
    Nunes by stoppage
    (107 votes)
  • 28%
    Shevchenko by stoppage
    (171 votes)
  • 2%
    Nunes by decision
    (17 votes)
  • 33%
    Shevchenko by decision
    (199 votes)
  • 1%
    Crazy result (Draw/NC/DQ)
    (8 votes)
  • 16%
    This fight is probably getting canceled 5 minutes before the PPV starts
    (100 votes)
602 votes total Vote Now