The UFC if back on PPV with
TWO one title fight this Saturday in Edmonton, Alberta. Poor Mighty Mouse… but hey, Amanda Nunes now gets to headline a card again, after Dana White said that she never would.
The main card starts at 10pm eastern on pay-per-view, while the prelims are at 8pm on Fox Sports 1 and the early prelim action starting at 7pm on Fight Pass.
Now let’s get down to business.
The (now) main event is a re-match for the women’s bantamweight title as Valentina Shevchenko ($8,100) gets another shot at the champ, Amanda Nunes. Even though “Bullet” Schevchenko lost to Nunes during their first meeting, there were several positives to take away. First, nobody in recent memory has withstood the Nunes storm quite like Schevchenko did, as most fighters don’t even make it out of the first round against her. Second, Schevchenko was imposing her will in the 3rd round of the fight while Nunes slowed dramatically. Schevchenko has 5 rounds in which to work here, and I am expecting a finish in the championship rounds.
Tyson Pedro ($7,700) might have some real holes in his game, and Ilir Latifi might be the person to exploit those holes. But there is also a very real chance that Pedro ends this fight, like his previous UFC appearances, inside of 3 minutes. And at that price, that possibility is hard to pass up.
If the Gilbert Melendez vs. Jeremy Stephens ($8,200) fight were 3 years ago, it would be a no-brainer for Melendez. However, as Gilbert has gotten older, his chin has failed him. His PED enforced layoff might have been good for him by providing needed rest, but nearing 40 years old is not a good place for a fighter with those kind of miles. Jeremy Stephens has the exact kind of pressure and power that can shorten the evening of a fighter that has lost a step.
Sarah Moras has not fought in awhile, and when she does she shows off a distinct lack of striking skills. Ashlee Evans-Smith ($8,700) has no such lack of striking skills, and on the feet this will be extremely one-sided. Even if it goes to the ground, Evans-Smith’s top-game is full of vicious elbows. Even if there is no stoppage, expect a high number of significant strikes on the part of Evans-Smith.
Arjan Bhullar ($7,900) is making his UFC debut against Luis Henrique. Bhullar is someone that the UFC would like to see become a star, and this inaugural fight in the octagon is designed as a favorable matchup for him. Henrique gasses early, even for a heavyweight, and the Olympic wrestler Bhullar won’t have to do much to stop this fight.
The first fight of the night pits lightweights Adriano Martins ($9,00) against Kajan Johnson. Martins is simply better than Johnson in essentially every area of the fight, and boasts significant fight-ending power with 2 of his last 3 victories coming by first round knockout. Kajan’s defensive liabilities are such that another first round stoppage is a very distinct possibility here.