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Jeremy Stephens vs. Gilbert Melendez UFC 215 Pick, Preview, Odds, Prediction - 9/9/17

Melendez vs. Stephens

UFC: Saturday, September 9, 2017 (Rogers Place)

The Line: -- Over/Under: See the Latest Odds

TV: PPV

Jeremy Stephens and Gilbert Melendez fight Saturday during UFC 215 at the Rogers Place.

Jeremy Stephens enters this fight with a 25-13 record and has won 68 percent of his fights by knockout. Stephens has lost five of his last seven fights and is coming off a April loss to Renato Moicano. Stephens is averaging 2.83 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy percentage of 40.8 percent. Stephens is averaging 1.28 takedowns with an accuracy percentage of 36.4 percent. Stephens is desperate for a victory, as he’s lost eight times in the last seven years and is in danger of losing for a third straight fight for the second time in his career. When in good form, Stephens is an aggressive fighter who throws a lot of strikes and can take a beating. Stephens has only been knocked out once in his career, and that’s rather impressive given his style. Stephens is also a good grappler who has executed 27 takedowns on the UFC level and has shown he can hold his own on the canvas despite not having a submission victory in over a decade. This will be Stephens’ second fight in Canada. 

Jeremy Stephens vs. Gilbert Melendez UFC 215 Pick, Preview, Odds, Prediction - 9/9/17

USA TODAY Sports

Gilbert Melendez enters this fight with a 22-6 record and has won 50 percent of his fights by knockout. Melendez has lost four of his last five fights and is coming off a July (2016) loss to Edson Barboza. Melendez is averaging 3.58 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy percentage of 33.9 percent. Melendez is averaging 1.78 takedowns with an accuracy percentage of 42.2 percent. Melendez is also a fighter who badly needs a win with his last victory coming in 2013 against Diego Sanchez. Despite his struggles, Melendez is one of those fighters who leaves everything he has in the octagon and five of his six losses have come by decision, so he forces his opponent to actually beat him. Melendez is a pressure fighter who has knockout power, but he’s always successful on the canvas and has an effective ground and pound attack. Melendez is also one of the better conditioned lightweights in the sport, so he always has a chance to finish strong and steal a fight. This will be Melendez’s first fight in Canada. 

This should be a fun fight between two guys who have similar pressure styles, are tough to finish and are going to leave it all out there in the octagon. They also both need a victory in the worst way. Melendez does have the longer reach and is better at defending the takedown, but I think Stephens is in slightly better form overall and would have the advantage in striking standing up. Hist power shots will be the difference here and be just enough to get himself a victory.

Close fight that can go either way, but I like Stephens to do just enough to pull away.

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