With a pair of championship bouts and a pair of other intriguing matchups taking place, the quickly approaching UFC 215 card that gets underway on September 9th looks like it could be a bigger thriller than anyone expected.
Let’s get started right at the top with the flyweight championship matchup between reigning champ Demetrious ‘Mighty Mouse’ Johnson and challenger Ray Borg.
Demetrious Johnson (26-2-1) vs. Ray Borg (11-2)
30-year-old Demetrious ‘Mighty Mouse’ Johnson is a 5-foot-3-inch, 125-pound dynamo with a 66-inch reach that has successfully defended the inaugural flyweight title he won back in 2012 a whopping 10 times.
Johnson most recently beat Wilson Reis at UFC on FOX in April via a third round submission (armbar) in a thrilling Performance of the Night outing that tied the UFC record for most consecutive title defenses. The ‘super versatile’ Johnson has recorded five wins via KO, 10 by way of submission and 11 via decision. Johnson uses pankration and wrestling to generally overpower any and all comers.
23-year-old Ray Borg has won two straight bouts including his unanimous decision win over Jussier Formiga at UFC Fight Night: Belfort vs. Gastelum in March and has recorded one career win via KO, six by way of submission and four via decision while suffering two career decision losses. The 5-foot-4 Borg has a 63-inch reach and specializes in Gaidojutsu.
Fight Analysis: The only thing that Ray Borg has going for him against the far superior Demetrious Johnson is that he’s seven years younger. Other than that, you can expect the aptly named ‘Mighty Mouse’ to beat the hell out of the inexperienced Borg by either submission, or, for me, more likely, knockout. Don’t think twice about backing Demetrious Johnson people, there’s no way he loses to ray Borg.
Amanda Nunes (14-4) vs. Valentina Shevchenko (14-2)
Amanda Nunes (14-4) is favored to make a second successful defense of the bantamweight title she won when she pounded Ronda Rousey into the ‘fetal position’ at UFC 207 in December, but right now, I’m just going to say, I think she’s in a bit of trouble against 29-year-old Russian Valentina Shevchenko.
These two met back in 2016 with Nunes getting the win, but it wasn’t a cakewalk as the reigning champ won via unanimous decision. Nunes has used her 69-inch reach to win five straight bouts while Shevchenko and her 67-inch reach, has won two straight and seven of her last eight with her only loss since 2011 coming against Nunes.
Fight Prediction: Simply put, I like Valentina Shevchenko for the huge upset in this bout after Nunes mysteriously pulled out of their scheduled UFC matchup less than a month ago. A whopping 71 percent of Amanda Nunes’ victories have come via KO or TKO, but Valentina Shevchenko is apparently a more versatile fighter that has won 39 percent of her fights via KO or TKO and a nearly identical 36 percent via submission.
Junior Dos Santos (18-5) vs. Francis Ngannou (10-1)
33-year-old Junior Dos Santos has alternated wins and losses over his last eight fights and comes into his UFC 215 heavyweight matchup against 30-year-old Francis Ngannou off a pitiful first round TKO (punches) loss against Stipe Miocic at UFC 211 in May.
Conversely, Ngannou has won nine straight fights, including all five of his UFC bouts via finish with four wins coming by way of TKO. The Cameroon native smacked veteran Andrei Arlovski senseless in his first round TKO (punches) UFC on FOX win in January to earn Fight of the Night honors.
Forget about the six-inch reach advantage that Ngannou has in this bout. He’s younger and hungrier than Junior Dos Santos and just plain vicious. I’m thinking the rising star wins via first round KO.
Rafael dos Anjos (26-9) vs. Neil Magny (19-5)
The 32-year-old dos Anjos snapped a two-fight skid the last time out by beating Tarec Saffiedine via unanimous decision at UFC Fight Night in June. 29-year-old Neil Magny has won four of his last five and come into his UFC 215 pairing off a unanimous decision win over Johny Hendricks at UFC 207 in December.
Magny is the bigger, stronger fighter and has an 80-inch reach as compared to dos Anjos 70-inch reach. While dos Anjos is the more experienced fighter of the two in this bout, for me (and hopefully you too) Neil Magny is clearly the more explosive fighter as evidenced by the fact that he’s won two of his last four and four of his last eight bouts with Fight of the Night performances. Again, the outcome of this one is virtually etched in stone. Neil Magny wins via third round KO (punches) to push Rafael dos Anjos one step closer to retirement.
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