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UFC 215 Betting Odds and Predictions

Despite the relative lack of hype and the loss of the main event, UFC 215 is shaping up to be a pretty fun card for hard-core fans. The Edmonton crowd was going to be treated to two title fights, but less than 48 hours before the event, Demetrious Johnson vs Ray Borg was canceled after Borg fell ill.

The new main event sees Amanda Nunes putting her women’s bantamweight gold on the line against Valentina Shevchenko in a hotly anticipated rematch. The rest of the main card features plenty of name recognition and a potential firefight between Rafael dos Anjos and Neil Magny.

Amanda Nunes vs Valentina Shevchenko

Throughout the early part of her career, Nunes (EVEN) got by on her physical gifts but has been gaining the technical skills to go along with it. The biggest leaps and bounds have come in the standup game, as she is learning how to harness her length and power thanks to her work at American Top Team.

Nunes’ wrestling skills are not exactly stellar offensively, but she is great at keeping the fight standing so she can utilize the natural power in her fists. If she can attain top position, she has brutal ground and pound that capitalizes on her power and her long reach.

There has been one big knock on Nunes throughout her career and that is her cardio. To be quite frank, her cardio is bad. She gases early and has never been able to put forth much of an effort past the second round.

Shevchenko (-130) is a technical marvel on the feet. “Bullet” has black belts in both taekwondo and judo to go along with Masters of Sports in Muay Thai, boxing and kickboxing. She is at her best when she can keep her distance and land her big counter right hook, which is the punch she has built her striking around.

On the ground, Shevchenko is solid. She is far from an expert in this aspect of the game, but she knows how to pass guard and take advantage of opportunities that may present themselves.

Shevchenko will want to dictate the range and pace of this fight. “Bullet” fights a methodical style where she can wait for her opponent to make a mistake that she can capitalize on. Shevchenko will almost always win a war of attrition thanks to her precise striking and cardio.

I imagine this playing out much like the first fight with Nunes attacking for the first couple of rounds before gassing out but with 25 minutes on the clock this time around, Shevchenko should pick up the victory.

Prediction: Valentina Shevchenko (-130)

Henry Cejudo vs Wilson Reis

Henry Cejudo (-325) excels when he is able to bully fights. “The Messenger” performs some of his best work when he can physically hold his opponent against the cage and wear them down. That being said, his Olympic wrestling skills have not exactly translated to fantastic results in the Octagon, as he has successfully landed one or fewer takedowns in four of his six fights. The striking game is still basic for Cejudo, which isn’t a bad thing, as he has used his boxing skills to slip and rip with success.

There is no doubt Wilson Reis (+250) wants to drag his opponent to the ground. He passes with ease and excels in the scramble once a fight goes to the mat. Even if he is unable to lock in a submission, Reis is aggressively positioning himself to wear down opponents and chip away at their defenses. Reis is largely functional in the striking game. The southpaw likes to work a strong leg kick and has some good power in his left hand for the division.

If this fight goes to the mat, I think Reis can pull off the upset. But he likely won’t be able to take down Cejudo and his lack of head movement on the feet gives the former Olympian a big advantage.

Prediction: Henry Cejudo (-325)

Neil Magny vs Rafael Dos Anjos

Neil Magny (+145) has quietly turned into one of the best fighters at welterweight. The 30-year-old is absolutely massive for the division, standing at six-foot-three and sporting an 80-inch reach, and is adept at using that to his advantage. He will throw a steady diet of jabs and kicks at range but he is at his best in the clinch. Very few fighters know how to leverage their length advantage the way Magny does in close. His wrestling isn’t anything to phone home about, but he is dangerous on the ground if he can get top control.

Rafael dos Anjos (-175) is mainly a pressure fighter who excels at dictating the pace of the fight. His footwork helps him cut off the cage and suffocate his opponent. Once his opponent is backed onto the cage, RDA either blitzes with heavy hands or grinds out a takedown. On the mat, dos Anjos is an expert at passing guard and beating up opponents. This is only his second fight at 170 pounds and he will be severely undersized unlike his first welterweight fight against Tarec Saffiedine.

Both Magny and RDA like to push the pace and both are some of the best in the UFC at doing so. This is the hardest fight on this card to predict. I wouldn’t be shocked to see either fighter leave with his hand raised, but I put stock in Magny’s size advantage – and value for bettors.

Prediction: Neil Magny (+145)

Ilir Latifi vs Tyson Pedro

Ilir Latifi (-105) is a brick house of brute strength. He isn’t going to be confused for a striking expert but has legit one-hitter-quitter power in his hands. Latifi is at his best when he can impose his will and suffocate his opponent with his brutish strength. You get what you see with the Swede: he is a slow powerhouse of a fighter who wants to get his hands on you before he gasses.

Tyson Pedro (-125) is a big, athletic 25-year-old who has never allowed an opponent to make it out of the first round. The Aussie is good at working at a distance in the standup game and has some decent pop in his right hand. His real skills come in the grappling game, as Pedro can land brutal strikes in the clinch and is an aggressive finisher in top control. We haven’t seen too much of Pedro, but you need to wonder how his cardio holds up past the first round.

I think this is a terrible stylistic matchup for Latifi. Pedro is long and knows how to use his reach, which can keep a low-output striker like Latifi on the outside. Plus, Pedro is flexible and skilled in the grappling department.

Prediction: Tyson Pedro (-125)

Jeremy Stephens vs Gilbert Melendez

Jeremy Stephens (-115) is a puncher through and through. That’s not to say he can’t compete in other aspects but he enters every fight looking to knock his opponent out. Stephens relies more on counters and can tend to be inactive at range. He will throw some leg kicks and jabs but he tends to wait for his opponent to commit to a move. His wrestling defense is slightly above average but his striking defense isn’t great because he can look for the perfect punch too often.

Gilbert Melendez (-115) isn’t going to shy away from a striking battle but is more of a grinder than his opponent. “El Nino” is primarily a boxer in the standup game, as he works behind a constant jab. His footwork and angles are efficient, allowing Melendez to trap his opponent against the cage and wear them down. His striking defense is not good but gets by thanks to his durability and chin. His grappling components are solid and he can hit the occasional takedown when the mood strikes.

Both of these fighters are finding themselves falling down the rankings due to a stretch of losses. Stephen’s inactivity and, in my opinion, overrated punching power makes me think that Melendez can grind him out over the course of 15 minutes.

Prediction: Gilbert Melendez (-115)

UFC 215: Johnson vs Borg Betting Odds
  • Amanda Nunes EVEN
  • Valentina Shevchenko -130
Odds as of September 8 at Bovada
  • Neil Magny +145
  • Rafael dos Anjos -175
  • Ilir Latifi -105
  • Tyson Pedro -125
  • Jeremy Stephens -115
  • Gilbert Melendez -115
  • Sara McMann -260
  • Ketlen Vieira +200
  • Henry Cejudo -325
  • Wilson Reis +250
  • Sara Moras +210
  • Ashlee Evans-Smith -270
  • Gavin Tucker -300
  • Rick Glenn +230
  • Mitch Clarke +155
  • Alex White -190
  • Luis Henrique +165
  • Arjan Singh Bhullar -205
  • Kajan Johnson +350
  • Adriano Martins -500