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UFC 215 Co-Main Event – UFC Women’s Bantamweight Bout
Amanda Nunes and Valentina Shevchenko will finally meet in the octagon for the second time at UFC 215. The two were originally supposed to battle it out at UFC 213, but Amanda Nunes was forced to withdraw literally hours before the event due to chronic sinusitis. The bookmakers have this one as completely even and you can find for both fighters at most bookmakers.
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Height: 5’7″ (170cm)
Reach: 69.0″ (175cm)
Amanda Nunes is on a destructive tear through the UFC’s women’s bantamweight division. Since losing to Cat Zingano in 2014, the only opponent that has come close to defeating Nunes is Valentina Shevchenko. Nunes scored an impressive victory over Miesha Tate at UFC 200 to win the women’s bantamweight championship by submitting her just three minutes into the first round. The last time we saw Amanda Nunes inside the octagon was when she absolutely dominated former UFC superstar Ronda Rousey and finished her via KO/TKO in just 48 seconds. Her beatdown of Rousey wasn’t even competitive – Rousey looked to stand no chance against the powerful Amanda Nunes.
Height: 5’5″ (165cm)
Reach: 65.5″ (166cm)
Much like Amanda Nunes, Valentina Shevchenko has been making her way through the women’s bantamweight division with ease. People are quick to argue that if any fighter out there can stop Amanda Nunes’ seemingly unstoppable run at the top, it will be Valentina Shevchenko. Shevchenko not only made it out of the first round against Amanda Nunes previously but managed to gain momentum in the third round and raise the question to everyone watching – what would have happened if there were five rounds? The last time Shevchenko stepped inside the octagon was when she scored a dominant victory over Julianna Pena via armbar at UFC on FOX 23.
This time around, we get to answer the question of what happens if Amanda Nunes and Valentina Shevchenko fight it out for five total rounds. The championship bout means that there is potentially a total of 25 minutes of non-stop action between these two impressive strikers.
Amanda Nunes controlled the flow of the first two rounds largely by heavy top pressure and vicious ground and pound. As the end of the second round was approaching, Nunes went all-out for the stoppage and was draining all of her energy in an attempt to submit Valentina Shevchenko with a rear-naked choke.
But, by the time the third round commenced, Amanda Nunes was completely fatigued. Shevchenko took over and started scoring big time on Nunes after controlling top position. It was a complete turn around from the earlier moments in the fight.
Amanda Nunes is very powerful, accurate and extremely strong across all aspects of her game. However, Nunes has to be careful about engaging with Shevchenko in a striking contest considering Shevchenko’s excellent counter striking ability. Nunes was able to walk forward carelessly against Ronda Rousey, because let’s face it, Ronda was never the best striker. Shevchenko, however, is world class and outscored the outstanding Holly Holm in a stand up battle previously.
Despite all of this and Shevchenko’s developing jiu-jitsu game, Amanda Nunes should have the advantage on the mat in this contest – much like we saw in the earlier two rounds of their original battle. Her strength, top pressure, and selection of strikes was what prompted the judges to score the second round 10-8 for her in the first fight. Nunes has to be careful of going ‘all-out’ like she did last time against Shevchenko, however.
The five round fight suits Valentina Shevchenko’s style perfectly. Shevchenko is a patient counter strike who really needs that full twenty-five minute period to get her best work done. The longer the fight goes, the more Amanda Nunes has shown to fatigue, and I can sense Shevchenko taking this one all the way to the judges scorecards for a unanimous decision victory.
Prediction: Valentina Shevchenko by Unanimous Decision
Amanda Nunes vs Valentina Shevchenko
Valentina Shevchenko by Unanimous Decision
Saturday 9th September – 11:00 pm (ET) / 3:00am GMT
Odds: 7/2 4.50 +350 3.50 3.50 -0.29 – Bet365
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