UFC 215 Picks: Demetrious Johnson vs. Ray Borg and Amanda Nunes vs. Valentina Shevchenko
When: Saturday, September 9, 2017
Where: Rogers Place, Edmonton, Canada
by Scott of Predictem.com
UFC 215 features a twin-title bill from Edmonton on September 9. In the main event, UFC Flyweight Champion Demetrious Johnson defends against Ray Borg. In the co-main event UFC Womens Bantamweight Champion Amanda Nunes defends her belt against top challenger Valentina Shevchenko. Lets take a look at the betting odds for each fight and my predictions to win!
Demetrious Johnson, 26-2-1 (5 KOs, 10 Submissions), (-1000) vs. Ray Borg, 11-2 (1 KO, 6 Submissions), (+650)
UFC Flyweight Champion Demetrious Johnson will take on challenger Ray Borg in the UFC 215 main event. Borg is rightfully a longshot, but a durable contender with some upside at just 23 years of age. Still, the odds strongly favor Johnson winning, which would set the new record for UFC title defenses with 11. The longtime champion, while not the most-popular or exciting fighter, is indeed on a very short list of the best fighters in the sport. Borg is really up against it.
Johnson has cleaned up the division. A fight with TJ Dillashaw fell through, denying Johnson yet another chance to register that real signature win. There is such clear separation between Johnson and his peers at 125 pounds. Borg, however, is an interesting X-factor in the division. He works at a good camp at Johnson-Wink and has never been stopped in a fight. At just 23, perhaps his ceiling hasnt yet been defined.
Borgs best chances, however, might be tied up in potential issues with Johnson. There have been rumblings that Johnson is dissatisfied with the UFC and that he feels unappreciated. The falling out of a big fight like Dillashaw likely exacerbated that sentiment. Johnson feels disrespected in his station in life considering that he is arguably the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world.
Johnson is a long-reigning champion and fighters like that arent the types to let things get to them. At the same time, all these feelings could all lead to a letdown affect or a reduction of focus and hunger. Even great fighters can go stale if not forced to ply their trade in a competitive context. And Johnson has now gone the better part of a decade with nary a challenge.
Things still dont add up all that favorably for Borg. He is obviously talented, having joined the UFC at the tender age of 20. He is good on the ground and an athletic guy. Still, he is not necessarily exceptional in any one area. And if you were to pick an underdog to beat the likes of Mighty Mouse, you would prefer to select a fighter with some proven finishing ability. His last three wins have gone the distance. He is a gifted submission fighter, but he hasnt scored one since 2014 and this would be a weird time for him to rediscover his finishing flair. He has one KO win, with that having come against a fighter who would never win a bout.
When watching Borg, however, one can see hes a rugged and tough kid. Built squat at 54, he is a tough guy to pin down and his track record shows his durability. Johnson is a good finisher, but nearly half of his title fight wins have gone the distance. With a little letdown factor lingering over this fight for Johnson, I see this fight going the distance.
My Pick to Win: Im betting this fight will go over 4.5 rounds
at -140. Borg is durable and has never been stopped in his MMA career. He
also has not shown much finishing ability at the top level. With Johnson perhaps
not shot out of a cannon for this fight, this could be a more-tactical battle
that goes five rounds. Bet your prediction for FREE by taking advantage of a HUGE 100% bonus offer where you can deposit $100 to $250 and receive a dollar for dollar matching 100% bonus at Bovada!
Amanda Nunes, 14-4 (10 KOs, 3 Submissions), (-105) vs. Valentina Shevchenko, 14-2 (4 KOs, 6 Submissions), (-115)
In the co-main event, Amanda Nunes defends her UFC Womens Bantamweight Title against top-ranked challenger Valentina Shevchenko. This is the second time these two have fought, with Nunes having won a competitive 3-rounder in March of 2016. Nunes would go on to score a pair of huge wins to ascend to the top of the division, but considering the closeness of their first fight, many fancy Shevchenkos chances. This fight was supposed to headline UFC 213 until a late pullout by Nunes put it on ice. But UFC 213s loss is UFC 215s gain, as this should again be a tense and entertaining encounter.
The odds have moved in Shevchenkos favor since the first fight was supposed to happen, likely due to the conditions surrounding Nunes last-minute pullout in UFC 213. Dana White said she was cleared by doctors and appeared disgusted by the entire affair. Nunes said doctors failed to account for a flared-up illness she has. Whatever the case, it was odd and its understandable why some would hesitate betting on Nunes in the event that something bad is at play.
By the same token, lets not have that one event conceal the fact that Nunes, 29, has peaked, going from a mere contender who had her ups and downs to a wrecking machine that dispatched of both Miesha Tate and Ronda Rousey with startling ease. She is an extraordinary striker and when exchanging freely, its clear she is on a different level than her peers in that category. In fact, her decision win over Shevchenko 18 months ago is the only time in her career that she has won a fight that went the distance. All her other wins are by stoppageusually of the early and violent variety.
Shevchenko, also 29, has had an extraordinary fighting career. In addition to her successful MMA career, she was also a top-flight kickboxer with two losses in 61 fights and even had a brief pro boxing career. She is very comfortable in the context of combat and her poise was on display in how she braved the early Nunes onslaught in their first fight. She is tough, highly-technical, and appears to also be peaking in her MMA development.
The battle lines are clear. Nunes is a handful early. She has gotten better and people are within their rights to forecast her doing a little better this time and managing to get Shevchenko out of there. But Shevchenko was able to get through it the first time and was surging as the final bell sounded. People sense that with two extra rounds, she could really thrive and manage to win.
Still, it could be a bad tactic to put stock in Nunes pulling out of the last fight. The more compelling element of the past for the purposes of betting this fight would appear to be the first fight. Nunes won and was prepared for just a three-rounder, so calling her out for what would have happened if the fight was five rounds isnt all that fair. By the same token, Shevchenko has shown she can handle the heat and is definitely the more-reliable latter-rounds fighter.
Shevchenkos route to a win might be a narrow one. She needs to execute the kind of highly-technical and mistake-free type of fight that isnt easy against a whirlwind like Nunes. But I see her benefitting from the experience of their first fight and the knowledge that she was surging and will have two extra rounds this time. Im taking Valentina Shevchenko to win.
My Pick to Win: Im betting on Valentina Shevchenko at -115. She was one of the only recent Nunes opponents who had the wherewithal to get through Amandas early-round assault. Betting against Nunes in light of recent results is not easy, but we see Shevchenko wearing Nunes down late and navigating her way to a decision win for the belt. Bet on mixed martial arts, boxing, baseball, basketball, football and more AND receive a generous 50% bonus up to $1000 FREE at MyBookie!