After being denied Demetrious Johnson’s potentially historic main event, UFC 215 turned out to be a solid card nonetheless.
As previously reported, Amanda Nunes defended her women’s bantamweight title in the featured bout in Edmonton. The Brazilian champion was awarded a split decision win against challenger Valentina Shevchenko in a sometimes frustrating affair through 25 minutes. Both fighters appeared to have moments in which it seemed they might take control of the bout but ultimately the tight affair was decided by the cage-side judges — the first time in the history of the women’s 135-pound fold that a championship bout has gone the distance.
Rafael Dos Anjos earned his second win since moving to welterweight and the biggest win of his recent career since he sat atop the UFC’s lightweight division two years ago. The former champion submitted the experienced Neil Magny via arm triangle choke inside the first round, managing something that even Demian Maia couldn’t achieve. The win against Magny, one of the division’s sturdiest fighters, will serve to underline RDA’s abilities at 170-pounds and likely propel him in the direction of a top contender bout at 170-pounds.
Henry Cejudo got back in the win column after two straight defeats at flyweight — and turned in arguably the best performance of his career in getting his first finish in the UFC against former title contender Wilson Reis. Cejudo’s striking looked vastly improved throughout and with his Olympic calibre wrestling added to an increasingly robust stand-up skill set, the Californian very much announced that he is back among the best at 125-pounds.
Tyson Pedro received the first ‘L’ on his record, losing a unanimous decision to Ilir Latifi. In his 6-0 career prior to this bout, Pedro had never gone past the first round and Latifi employed a stifling gameplan to frustrate the Australian en route to a clear cut victory.
In the first bout on the main card, Jeremy Stephens chopped Gilbert Melendez down with leg kicks and was awarded decision victory with one judge counting it 30-25 in Stephens’ favour. Melendez was in trouble early in the first round after a right low kick slammed into his shin, causing a visible swelling which troubled him throughout the rest of the contest. Melendez would hit the canvas on several occasions from further kicks but his toughness cannot be underestimated as he hobbled his way to the 15-minute mark.
On the preliminary card there was wins for Ketlen Vieira, Sarah Moras, Rick Glenn, Alex White, Arjan Bhuller and Kajan Johnson.