The UFC 215 main event last Saturday night was originally supposed to take place in July, but Amanda Nunes suffered from a severe sinus problem that forced her to drop out of the bout just a day away from the event. Two months later the fight was rescheduled with Nunes promising that she would deliver a victory in her rematch with Valentina Shevchenko after the two fighters engaged in another back and forth battle in 2016.
This time around, Amanda opted for a much more tactical strategy that may not have been as pleasing to the Edmonton crowd, but it got the job done nevertheless.
Rather than blitzing with a barrage of punches as the fight got underway, Nunes instead opted for a more technical attack from the outside while peppering away at Shevchenko’s legs with a variety of kicks.
It was a very tactical game plan from Nunes, who continued to chop away with leg kicks until finally unleashing a couple of hard punches before the end of the round.
Shevchenko started to get her timing down more in the second round, landing a pair of Superman punches that tagged Nunes from the outside. Shevchenko’s footwork and movement helped her settle into a rhythm as she started to land her most significant shots of the fight thus far.
While neither fighter mounted a ton of offense, Shevchenko was more active with a few more punches and kicks landed including a stiff right hand that clipped Nunes before time expired in the second.
There was a ton of respect being shown between the two fighters as Nunes continued to press forward with Shevchenko looking for the perfect counter strikes.
Again and again, Shevchenko started to find a home for her punches each time Nunes would lunge forward with a power shot. The left hand was especially effective for Shevchenko as her confidence started to grow while Nunes looked a bit frustrated as the horn sounded.
With only five minutes remaining, Nunes went for her first takedown of the fight as she pressed Shevchenko against the cage wall but she couldn’t bring the action down to the mat. Rather than exerting some undue energy, Nunes shrugged off the takedown and got back to the center.
Shevchenko stayed composed after the reset in the middle of the Octagon but Amanda was relentless until she finally dug deep and landed her first takedown with less than a minute to go. That takedown may have ultimately been the difference in a grueling battle that saw both fighters have their moments over 25-minutes in the cage together.
Cooler heads prevailed as Nunes and Shevchenko eventually embraced in the center of the Octagon but when the decision was read it was clear that this rivalry may be far from over.
The judges ultimately scored the fight as a split decision with Nunes getting the win with two scorecards in her favor 48-47 with the third going to Shevchenko 48-47.
Amanda Nunes def. Valentina Shevchenko via split decision
Rafael dos Anjos def. Neil Magny via sub (arm-triangle) (R1, 3:43)
Henry Cejudo def. Wilson Reis via second-round KO (0:25)
Ilir Latifi def. Tyson Pedro via unanimous decision
Jeremy Stephens def. Gilbert Melendez via unanimous decision
Ketlen Vieira def. Sara McMann via submission (arm triangle) (R2, 4:16)
Sarah Moras def. Ashlee Evans-Smith via submission (armbar) (R1, 2:51)
Rick Glenn def. Gavin Tucker via unanimous decision (30-25, 30-24, 29-27)
Alex White def. MItch Clarke via second-round TKO (4:42)
Arjan Bhullar def. Luis Henrique via unanimous decision (29-28 x3)
Kajan Johnson def. Adriano Martins via third-round KO (0:49)
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