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The wheels on the bus go round and round. Round and round. Round and round.
Yep, the UFC just lost another main event. Demetrious Johnson was set to face Ray Borg in what would be a record breaking title defense, but Borg had to pull out of the fight because of illness. How much of that illness was related to weight cutting? We probably won’t know for sure, but it does seem to be related at least somewhat.
Thus, Amanda Nunes and Valentina Shevchenko get the top spot again, ironically. At UFC 213, they were the main event, but Nunes pulled out of the fight because of illness herself. At the time, Dana White said Nunes would never main event again, similarly to when he said Jon Jones would never main event again. And now, because of Borg’s injury, Dana White becomes a liar again.
We’ll have coverage of all five main fights in just over an hour. Stay tuned.
Gilbert Melendez Vs Jeremy Stephens
Melendez looks more cut for sure, but not necessarily all that healthy at the lighter weight. He doesn’t look very explosive, but his movement is good. There’s a knot on Melendez’s shin on his lead leg. Melendez started hobbling and pulled guard. He came back up and started swinging, as if he knew he didn’t have a lot of time left to fight. Stephens kicked his leg again and Melendez went down again. This fight should be stopped.
Melendez has changed his stance a bit, opening it up. When he gets inside, he goes back to a conventional stance. He’s closing the distance and making things hard for Stephens. Stephens landed a hard kick and Melendez went down again. But he was right back up. Stephens landed a big kick to the head. Melendez has the heart of a lion just to be standing up at this point and he’s making things competitive.
Third round was tough. The guys were beat up and tired and continuing the output. Melendez went down a couple times, but popped right up. Stephens showed respect by him and in a sense, because of it, he didn’t really attack the leg all that much like he could’ve. Stephens should win this fight fairly easily.
Winner: Jeremy Stephens by way of unanimous decision
Stephens won 30-26, 30-26, and 30-25
Tyson Pedro Vs Ilir Latifi
Latifi scored a takedown, though Pedro fought well to get up. The first round is hard to score. Pedro is active, but he hasn’t hit the big shots that he’s trying for.
Pedro looks frustrated as Latifi is countering everything he’s attempting. Latifi slammed him on his head. He had him up against the fence with a body lock and then landed left hands. He’s roughing him up.
Latifi schooled him in the last round. He had a counter for everything Pedro did. Pedro’s going to learn a lot from this one.
Winner: Ilir Latifi by way of unanimous decision
Wilson Reis Vs Henry Cejudo
Cejudo hands look fantastic. He was a step ahead of Reis the entire round, landing everything he wanted, and even a low leg kick that looked to hurt Reis.
Cejudo put Reis down with a right hand and then finished him on the ground. He looked great.
Winner: Henry Cejudo by way of 2nd round TKO
Rafael dos Anjos Vs Neil Magny
dos Anjos got a quick takedown and moved into position for an arm triangle and sunk it in. Magny was fighting it, but had to tap.
Winner: Rafael dos Anjos by way of 1st round submission
Valentina Shevchenko Vs Amanda Nunes
The round was a stalemate for about the first four minutes. Nunes was moving forward slightly, so she may have been in the advantage. But for the last minute, she started connecting with her punches and low leg kicks. Shevchenko didn’t really have any success connecting.
Much better round for Shevchenko. Nunes was apprehensive. Shevchenko was using a Superwoman’s punch to connect as she’s having issues with Nunes’ reach. She out-landed Nunes, but didn’t do so in dominating fashion and it still might be looked at as a close round.
Nunes was sharper in this round in keeping the distance. Shevchenko had issues reaching her with strikes. Nunes wasn’t much better, though she started throwing the overhand right a lot more and coming closer with it. Shevchenko’s head movement is great and she’s able to counter those big shots. Shevchenko’s shin has a cut on it. I have it 2-1 Nunes, but every round has been close.
This was the best round for either. Shevchenko is able to see Nunes’ strikes coming and is countering them nicely. She picked up the pace and Nunes looked angry for being picked apart a bit. Shevchenko is such a good counter striker. This is fun to watch.
Nunes made a great strategic decision, which was to close the distance and clinch. Shevchenko was stuck against the fence, but eventually got out. But then, Nunes sucked her in again and tried for a takedown. She missed and Shevchenko tried a headlock takeover that she didn’t get and ended up with Nunes getting her back. She got another takedown and ended up in top position. I think she ekes this one out.
Winner: Amanda Nunes by way of split decision
The scores were 48-47, 47-48, and 48-47 for Nunes.