Oh how amusing things can change overnight. Leg and body kicks were her most effective weapons. Shevchenko dodges a shot and responds with a nice strike. Kicking off the main card with also have the wrecking machine that is Jeremy Stephens, taking on Gilbert Melendez, making his featherweight debut.
Enough work had been done in the first two rounds and as it was a three round non-title fight, Nunes got the decision.
Shevchenko, who was born in Kyrgyzstan but has strong ties in Peru, expressed her displeasure with the scores. Melendez just misses with a huge overhand right. Nunes went for a couple of leg kicks as well. Now, if they call me and say October 7th is not going to work, you need to push it longer – I might just be done for the year. He lands a good left jab as Stephens is going in for a kick. ESPN also scored it 48-47 for Shevchenko. The end result was Shevchenko on the ground, with the champion on her back. Nunes ducked under a spinning backfist.
According to the latest oddsmakers, Shevchenko is favored to take the title, as she is listed with -125 odds. He eats another big leg kick and there is some damage there. Nunes worked from range as the round unfolded, staying just outside of the smaller Shevchenko’s preferred spacing, and the challenger seemed a little uncomfortable as they looked to strike. “I decided at the end of the [fifth] round, ‘Let’s take her down, ‘ because I know she is going to get exhausted”. A nice combination lands for Shevchenko but Nunes responds angrily with pressure. Bullet continued to counter; she went on the offensive around the halfway point of the round and landed a combo followed by a knee to the midsection.
With the unsung Johnson and a pair of relative newcomers to the top ranks of the women in the headline spots do not expect UFC 215 to sell many PPVs. However, after an initial flurry, they settled back into their earlier back-and-forth routine of Nunes attacking and Shevchenko launching counter-attacks.
Nunes pawed a jab as the second began, and it seemed clear again that she was keeping a measured pace in her attack as she held the center position. More leg kick from both women and the round comes to a close with each woman missing on their combos. Melendez (22-7) retreated to his back on several occasions, the pain becoming too much for him to bear. Nunes went for a takedown and pushed her opponent towards the fence. But she proved more than up to the task of going five rounds in their rematch and did well to hang tough in the kind of chess match from distance that typically favors Shevchenko.