UFC 215 Preview – Will DJ break the record in the Great White North?

The UFC octagon heads north of the border to Edmonton, Alberta for this Pay-Per-View, in which we get to see titles up for grabs in the Women’s Bantamweight division and the Men’s Flyweight Division. Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson, who with a win would be the UFC’s record holder for consecutive title defenses, face’s off against young gun and Jackson Wink product Ray Borg. While Amanda Nunes finally defends her title against Peruvian/Russian Muay Thai specialist Valentina Shevchenko. In addition to these title fights, we are graced with Gilbert Melendez’ return to the octagon but this time at 145 pounds, an exciting LHW prospect in Tyson Pedro and an exciting battle of top ten Welterweights.

Demetrious Johnson (-1000) Vs. Ray Borg (+675)

Demetrious Johnson has been the pinnacle of consistency since he won the title back in 2012 against Joseph Benavidez. Since capturing the gold, he has defended it ten times, defeating John Dodson, John Moraga, Joseph Benavidez, Ali Bagautinov, Chris Cariaso, Kyoji Horiguchi, John Dodson again, Henry Cejudo, Tim Elliott and Wilson Reis, having won in spectacular fashion against many of them. Johnson knocked out the favored Joseph Benavidez in their title rematch, defeated Ali Bagautinov by absolute domination while Ali was oozing EPO, tapped out Kyoji Horiguchi in the last second of the last round in their fight in Montreal, and more recently, submitted a very decorated Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner in Wilson Reis by an Armbar in the third round. DJ’s all-around game is head and shoulders above everyone else in UFC’s Flyweight division and the betting odds describe that. With all this in mind, Ray Borg is no slouch. Borg is coming off of two very impressive decision victories against Louis Smolka and Jussier Formiga. Since his switch from Fit NHB to cross town camp Jackson/Wink MMA, Ray’s overall game and nutrition has flourished. I’ve been impressed with Borg over the last half year. However, I do not see him standing a chance against Demetrious Johnson. DJ is just way too skilled for “The Tazmexican Devil” to put up a solid fight. Demetrious Johnson Def. Ray Borg  

UPDATE: Ray Borg had to pull out of this fight due to illness. So the Main Event of the night will now be Amanda Nunes Vs. Valentina Shevchenko. Borg’s camp states that he was in good weight cut health and that he only had 8 pounds left to lose with ample time remaining. They also state “Ray has been getting progressively more sick each day this week and still wanted to fight so badly that he put on a game face and went to all of his fight week obligations”. Well how shitty is this for DJ. The UFC put in more marketing money for this fight than they did with any of his previous title fights. The thought of Borg pulling out probably never crossed DJ’s mind considering that Borg seems to be a new man since joining Jackson/Wink MMA. The current plan for the UFC is to rebook the fight as soon as possible and because it wasn’t a weight cut related pulling out, I can see this immediately getting moved to UFC 216 in Las Vegas. Also, The UFC is probably still pissed at themselves for not pushing the TJ Dillashaw fight harder on Mighty Mouse. Just a Thought.

Amanda Nunes (+105) Vs. Valentina Shevchenko 2 (-125)

In the first battle between these two, Amanda Nunes won via a competitive decision at UFC 196. The main difference between that fight and this one will be the fact that the first fight was a three round clash and this one will be a five round co-main event. Amanda Nunes has been known to tire out in later rounds and has still not been past the third round in any of her fights. Shevchenko won a five round clash last July against former champion Holly Holm and has shown that she has great conditioning throughout her career. In the first fight, Nunes won rounds 1 and 2 while Shevchenko won round 3. I think that will be the case for the first three rounds of this fight as well with Shevchenko also taking rounds 4 and 5 to win via a close decision. Valentina Shevchenko Def. Amanda Nunes.

Neil Magny (+165) Vs. Rafael Dos Anjos (-190)

Former Lightweight Champion Rafael Dos Anjos’ second trip to the octagon at 170 pounds will prove to be an exciting one. Both he and Neil Magny bring the power every time they step on the canvas. Rafael Dos Anjos just fought Tarec Saffiedine in june and won by unanimous decision, Neil Magny last fought Johny Hendricks and won via a very…lets say interesting decision. Neil’s last performance was very spotty and he was shown to be very susceptible to being taken down, let alone by a guy in Hendricks who is on his way out of the sport. I don’t see a scenario in which the former Lightweight Champion doesn’t win on saturday. Rafael Dos Anjos Def. Neil Magny

Ilir Latifi (-130) Vs. Tyson Pedro (+110)

“The Sledgehammer” Latifi is a journeyman Light Heavyweight contender, who hasn’t fought since getting brutally knocked out by Ryan Bader. Previous to that, Ilir won three straight against Gian Villante, Sean O’Connell and Hans Stringer. Tyson Pedro is a surging prospect in what is considered to be a very shallow talent pool at LHW. In his six fights, he won all by first round finish. The Australian is part of the future of ANZ MMA along with Dan Hooker, Alexander Volkanovski, Ben Nguyen and Interim Middleweight Champion Robert Whittaker. I personally believe that the young Pedro’s time is coming very quickly, and I believe that Pedro’s boxing pedigree and takedown defense will be enough to overpower Latifi. Tyson Pedro Def. Ilir Latifi

Gilbert Melendez (-103) Vs. Jeremy Stephens (-117)

Gilbert Melendez is a fighter who seriously doesn’t get enough credit. Given, he has had a rough go of it in the UFC but continues to bring the heat every time he enters the octagon. Also, who else remembers how crazy his fight with Diego Sanchez was, it’s a top-10 fight of all time. Jeremy Stephens is a fighter who’s power is never in question. He can always turn the lights out of anyone he catches. Both of these natural lightweights will be taking this fight at Featherweight and while Stephens has been doing this for a while, this is Gilbert’s first time cutting down to 145 pounds. Stephens has been on a losing streak recently and while he still possesses dynamic power, I see him on the way out of the sport. Gilbert Melendez has been on a losing streak as well, however his losses came against Edson Barboza and former champions Eddie Alvarez and Anthony Pettis. I believe that if Gilbert makes the weight, he will win. Gilbert Melendez Def. Jeremy Stephens

Other Selections:

Sara McMann (-255) Def. Ketlen Vieira (+215)

Henry Cejudo (-320) Def. Wilson Reis (+270)

Ashlee Evans-Smith (UNL) Def. Sarah Moras (+185)

Rick Glenn (+200) Def. Gavin Tucker (-235)

Mitch Clarke (+140) Def. Alex White (-160)

Luis Henrique (+160) Def. Arjun Bhullar (UNL)

Adriano Martins (-400) Def. Kajan Johnson (+330)

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