Valentina Shevchenko vs. Amanda Nunes UFC 215 Pick, Preview, Odds, Prediction - 9/9/17
Nunes vs. Shevchenko
UFC: Saturday, September 9, 2017 (Rogers Place)
The Line: -- Over/Under: See the Latest Odds
Amanda Nunes and Valentina Shevchenko fight Saturday during UFC 215 at the Rogers Place.
Amanda Nunes enters this fight with a 14-4 record and has won 71 percent of her fights by knockout. Nunes has won her last five fights and is coming off a December win over Ronda Rousey. Nunes is averaging 4.69 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy percentage of 53 percent. Nunes is averaging 2.04 takedowns with an accuracy percentage of 38.8 percent. Nunes will defend her belt for the second time and hasn't lost a fight since her 2014 meeting with Cat Zingano. Nunes has built the reputation of being one of the top strikers on the female side, as her combination of accuracy, power and aggressiveness is downright scary. Once Nunes gets comfortable, it's a relentless offensive attack that usually ends badly for her opponent. However, it’s going to be interesting to see how Nunes handles all this backlash, as she went from being popular with the fans to many turning on her after pulling out of UFC 213 at the last minute. This will be Nunes’ first fight in Canada.
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Valentina Shevchenko enters this fight with a 14-2 record and has won 36 percent of her fights by submission. Shevchenko has won seven of her last eight fights and is coming off a January win over Julianna Pena. Shevchenko is averaging 2.48 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy percentage of 51.1 percent. Shevchenko is averaging 2.33 takedowns with an accuracy percentage of 52.6 percent. Shevchenko has lost just one fight in the last six years and has a chance for a belt for the first time in her career. Shevchenko is one of the tougher fighters to prepare for due to her being an expert in muay thai, having a deep kickboxing background and being highly effective in the clinch. Shevchenko feels she has the advantage against anybody when fighting standing up, and she's produced stoppages in four of her last eight wins. Shevchenko also has a great ground and pound attack and has been highly effective when going for her takedowns. This will be Shevchenko’s first fight in Canada.
When I wrote up the UFC 213 article, I gave the edge to Nunes because of her power shots and the fact I didn’t think Shevchenko could strike with her. However, pulling out of the fight gives me bad vibes, especially when it was announced she was cleared by doctors to fight. I understand you don’t want to fight if you’re not feeling 100 percent, but how many fighters are 100 percent on fight day after training, cutting / gaining weight, etc. I’m sure Shevchenko has a lot more confidence heading into this date, as she probably views it as Nunes being scared. And honestly, if you’re cleared by doctors and still say you’re not going to show up, that's a fair way to look at it. A confident Shevchenko is scary, and she can more than win this fight if she gets Nunes in the clinch and lands a few powerful knees or executes a few takedowns to wear her down.
This fight just has a different feel than it did a couple months ago. I’m changing my pick and siding with Shevchenko.