Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Bantamweight rivals Amanda Nunes and Valentina Shevchenko clashed last night (Sept. 9, 2017) at UFC 215 inside Rogers Arena in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
Heading into this bout, Nunes was on an amazing win streak over some of the best women to ever compete, including her opponent. Perhaps more interestingly, Nunes was headlining an event just two months after being told that she would never headline an event again!
Alternatively, any stories about Shevchenko tend to relate to her incredible skill set rather than any non-fighting issues. The Russian striker came up short last time she faced Nunes, but this was her chance to both avenge that loss and capture the UFC title in the process.
In her usual fashion, Shevchenko maintained a light stance and attacked with quick low kicks, waiting for opportunities to counter. Nunes came out more measured, looking to kick with her opponent.
it took some time, but Nunes began to find her range with some inside low kicks. On the whole, it was a very uneventful round. Nunes controlled the center and landed a few more shots, winning her the round. At the same time, Shevchenko didn’t absorb much damage in her potentially most dangerous round.
The pace began to rise just a touch at the start of the second. Shevchenko began to occasional attack with combinations, which helped her score some points. Meanwhile, Nunes kept stalking and kicking, but Shevchenko’s range control and defense were holding firm.
It was still a close round, but this time Shevchenko had the volume and damage on her side.
Shevcheno’s go-to approach was on display a minute into the third round. At distance, she stood her ground and landed fast kicks. Whenever Nunes did approach, Shevchenko would slip her head and fire off a flurry of shots. Despite that, Nunes remained technical and stayed in the fight, landing kicks of her own and a sharp jab on occasion.
Overall, it was an extremely close round.
After the ultra competitive third round, Shevchenko came on strong in the fourth. Nunes still scored with kicks, but most of her punches were missing. Meanwhile, Shevchenko landed some really nice shots in the pocket, hitting both combinations and counter strikes.
It was impossible to tell what the judges were thinking, the fight was very much up in the air heading into the final frame.
They both were aware of how tight the bout was and opened with a fiery exchange. Not long after, though, the fight settled back into their previous chess match. A couple minutes in, Nunes changed her approach with a deep takedown attempt, but “Bullet” defended the shot. Moments later, Shevchenko attempted a head-and-arm throw, which allowed Nunes to scramble into a brief back control and landed in guard. Despite the top control, Nunes did absolutely nothing, and Shevchenko actually out-landed her from her back.
In one of the closest fights of the year, Amanda Nunes was awarded the split decision victory.
It wasn’t necessarily the most exciting performance, but Nunes did a great job to manage her pace across five rounds. I was skeptical that she would fatigue anyway, but the Brazilian kept up her offense into the fifth round. Shooting takedowns is exhausting, but Nunes did it with some success in the final frame.
Ultimately, that probably won her the fight, even if her top control amounted to zero damage done.
At the end of the day, Nunes went toe-to-toe with a fantastic kickboxer for five rounds and found her hand raised. Even if I personally saw Shevchenko as the better fighter in this bout, there’s absolutely no argument for a robbery. It was a damn close bout, and that’s all there is to it.
Of course, that means it sucks to be Shevchenko. She was the more efficient striker and actually landed more shots across the entire fight, and I would argue her strikes were more damaging. Her counter punches were the cleanest of the fight, and I’m curious what percent of Nunes’ shots landed were stomp kicks to the knee and partially blocked body kicks.
On the bright side, Flyweight is waiting for “Bullet.”
Last night at UFC 215, Amanda Nunes scraped past her opponent in a split-decision win. Who should the Brazilian face next?
For complete UFC 215 “Nunes vs. Shevchenko” results and play-by-play, click HERE!