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Nunes edges Shevchenko at UFC 215

By on September 10, 2017

Amanda NunesAmanda Nunes was able to retain her UFC Women’s Bantamweight Championship Saturday night in a razor-thin victory over rival Valentina Shevchenko. Nunes was awarded a split decision win with two judges seeing the fight 48-47 in her favor. The remaining judge scored it 48-47 for Shevchenko.

All five rounds were close, with Nunes appearing to pace herself to avoid suffering from endurance issues later in the fight. Throughout the fight, Shevchenko was able to avoid Nunes’ most powerful shots in the standup, using smart footwork and evading blows before returning with her own.

Still, two of the three judges gave Nunes the fifth round, which would turn out to be the pivotal round on all three official scorecards. I personally scored the fifth round, and the fight, for Shevchenko, as I don’t heavily weigh takedowns that don’t lead to any meaningful offense on the mat. I saw the last takedown by Nunes as a rather cynical way to “score points” and stall out the remaining minute of the fight.

Meanwhile, Rafael dos Anjos continued to look good at welterweight with a first round victory over Neil Magny, who he submitted with an arm-triangle choke just 3:43 into their bout. A punishing kick opened the fight in dos Anjos’ favor and upon the transition to the mat, he continued to control the action. Dos Anjos steadily complemented his ground-and-pound with advances to side control and mount, setting up the final submission.

Another contender looked great earlier in the night as well, as former flyweight title challenger Henry Cejudo stopped Wilson Reis with a sequence of punches for a TKO stoppage in round two of their fight. Cejudo showcased all elements of his striking game throughout the six-minute fight, firing off effective punching combinations and a variety of kicks and knees for good measure.

Jeremy Stephens looked outstanding as he took apart former Strikeforce Lightweight Champion Gilbert Melendez in a one-sided unanimous decision. Leg kicks were the key to Stephens’ strategy, and Stephens dominated a hobbled Melendez to the point where one judge scored the fight 30-25. Also on the main card, Ilir Latifi won a unanimous decision over Tyson Pedro, who regularly waded forward through the kicks of Pedro to land punches at close range and take down the Australian fighter. The loss was the first in Pedro’s seven-fight career.

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