Coming off the megafight between Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather Jr., the UFC will be putting on the antithesis of a money fight in the main event at UFC 215.
When Demetrious "Mighty Mouse" Johnson and Ray Borg closes out the card at Rogers Place in Alberta, Canada, it won't be a matchup the purists are bitter about. Johnson is among the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world, and he'll look to once again prove that.
The fight serves as an important milestone for Might Mouse. With a win, he'll eclipse Anderson Silva for most successful title defenses with 11. For someone who has never seemed to be a major draw, it's an accomplishment that locks up his place in the sport's history.
The card is filled with high-quality fights that will have an impact on their respective weight classes. Here's a look at the main card with the latest odds from OddsShark, ticket info and predictions for the biggest fights on the card.
Ticket Info: Stub Hub
Note: All odds are in moneyline form. For instance, -900 means that a bettor would have to bet $900 dollars to win $100.
Demetrious Johnson vs. Ray Borg
This is the kind of matchup that illustrates Johnson's superiority in the flyweight division.
Borg is extremely fast, is the younger fighter and is an inch taller than Mighty Mouse. He's also coming off an impressive win over Jussier Formiga.
Yet he comes into this fight a massive plus-550 underdog because Johnson is simply that good. At 24 years old, Borg might have what it takes to be a champion, but Johnson is at such an advantage thanks to his experience, technique and timing. Borg stands little chance.
Still, he believes his desire will trump Johnson's on Saturday night:
"I want that belt more than he wants that 11th win. I promise you that." @TazMexUFC #UFC215 https://t.co/Wsz12l5SLJ2017-9-4 22:45:06
Johnson's plans for the flyweight division don't just stop at 11, though.
"You know what? Why not?" Johnson said, speaking about defending his belt a "legendary" 15 times, per Tristen Critchfield of Sherdog. "I mean, I'm 31 years old and I feel good, and you've got a lot of new young up-and-coming guys coming into the division, so why not just keep on doing it because I can."
Johnson is right. Some people may consider it boring or a man simply not challenging himself, but if he can clean out an entire division, that's what he's going to do. He's in a good position to do so.
At this point, Johnson continues to get fighters who aren't ready to fight him. Borg is a perfect example. The 24 year old is getting his shot by virtue of back-to-back wins against Formiga and Louis Smolka.
That's not exactly an inspiring resume, but there were no other challengers for the belt that Johnson hasn't already thoroughly beaten.
Prediction: Johnson via fourth-round TKO
Valentina Shevchenko vs. Amanda Nunes
This brooding rivalry between Valentina Shevchenko and Amanda Nunes was supposed to have a championship resolution at UFC 213. Instead, Nunes pulled out of the bout last minute with sinusitis.
The challenger to Nunes' throne isn't buying it.
"It's difficult to say the real reason because the reason real just she knows, and what I know exactly (is) we cannot believe everything that she's saying because one time she's saying one thing and some days she's saying different things," Shevchenko said on Ariel Helwani's The MMA Hour.
Bad blood aside, the parameters for this fight are straightforward. Nunes is a powerhouse who can get Shevchenko out of there within the first round if she catches her early. The Lioness is the Vitor Belfort of women's MMA when it comes to stopping power.
The champion has picked up 11 of her 14 career victories in the first round. She's just 3-3 in fights that go beyond the initial five minutes.
While one of those wins is against Shevchenko—she won a unanimous decision—the cardio issues were still evident. While Nunes was able to win the first two rounds, Shevchenko stormed back with a 41-11 lead in total strikes in Round 3, per FightMetric.
That's a hard trend to ignore. When you play that scenario out over the course of five rounds, you have a much different fight. With Shevchenko already seeing Nunes' power firsthand and proving that she can survive it, expect her to take over as the fight progresses.
Neil Magny vs. Rafael dos Anjos
Former lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos looks to continue his move to welterweight against Neil Magny in the lead-in to the co-main event on Saturday. It's one of the most even matchups on the card on paper.
Dos Anjos has championship experience. We aren't too far removed from when RDA was the best lightweight in the world. Eddie Alvarez put an end to all that in July 2016. Though he followed that up with another loss, he's bounced back at 170 pounds with a decision win over Tarec Saffiedine.
For Magny, this is his first time out after an extended hiatus. Coming off the best win of his career over former welterweight titleholder Johny Hendricks, a neck injury kept Magny out for eight months.
Size will be an interesting aspect of this fight. Magny is a long welterweight at 6'3" with an 80-inch reach. Dos Anjos by comparison is just 5'9" with a 70-inch reach.
It's an advantage that Magny doesn't generally use to the best of his ability, but he wants to change that this week.
“That was the first time he fought at 170 and it was about three months ago now, so he had time to adjust, deal with carrying the extra weight. I can't focus on that fight too much—I just expect him to be similar," Magny said about Dos Anjos' welterweight debut, per E. Spencer Kyte of UFC.com.
"One thing I'm definitely banking on going into this fight is that I'm going to have a 10-inch reach advantage on him, so I'm looking to definitely use that and make it a key part of the fight."
Magny is the slight underdog in this spot, but he's the one with the vast size advantage and more experience in this weight class. Expect him to take a slightly surprising decision as Dos Anjos has a hard time closing the distance between the two without taking damage.
Prediction: Magny via decisionview original article >>
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