It wasn't pretty, but Amanda Nunes found a way to retain her UFC women's bantamweight title with a split-decision win over Valentina Shevchenko in the main event of UFC 215 on Saturday in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
MMAjunkie provided the scores for the champion:
It was a main event light on action, but it still offered tension. The feeling-out process for both fighters—who faced each other in March 2016—was a drawn-out affair that made the first two rounds difficult to score.
Regardless, the stats gave Shevchenko the advantage in total strikes landed, per Brett Okamoto of ESPN:
The stats don't tell the whole story, though. Rounds 3 and 5 were difficult to score, with both fighters having their moments. Round 5 had a late takedown for the champion that could have been the deciding factor even if nothing came of it.
Andreas Hale of The Corner sounded off on the impact it may have had on the scorecards:
It was a close bout that is sure to draw plenty of controversy. Given the history between the two, it's likely that this isn't the last time we will see them in the cage together.
The women's championship fight wasn't the only thing that happened at UFC 215. The card may have made headlines for losing Demetrious Johnson's 11th title defense and Junior Dos Santos vs. Francis Ngannou, but those who did fight on the card delivered.
Here's a glance at the quick results for the night along with a closer look at the main card bouts.
UFC 215 Quick Results
UFC 215 Main Card (10 p.m. ET)
- Amanda Nunes def. Valentina Shevchenko, split decision
- Rafael Dos Anjos def. Neil Magny, submission (Round 1, 3:43)
- Henry Cejudo def. Wilson Reis, TKO (Round 2, 0:25)
- Ilir Latifi def. Tyson Pedro, unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
- Jeremy Stephens def. Gilbert Melendez, unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-25)
Prelims on Fox Sports 1 (8 p.m. ET)
- Ketlen Vieira def. Sara McMann, submission (Round 2, 4:16)
- Sarah Moras def. Ashlee Evans-Smith, submission (Round 1, 2:51)
- Rick Glenn def. Gavin Tucker, unanimous decision (30-25, 30-24, 29-27)
- Alex White def. Mitch Clarke, TKO (Round 2, 4:36)
Prelims on UFC Fight Pass (7 p.m. ET)
- Arjan Bhullar def. Luis Henrique, unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Kajan Johnson def. Adriano Martins, knockout (Round 3, 0:49)
Rafael Dos Anjos vs. Neil Magny
Rafael Dos Anjos might just have a new home at 170 pounds. The former lightweight champion continued his campaign at welterweight with a first-round submission victory over Neil Magny in the co-main event.
Not only did Dos Anjos follow up his win over Tarec Saffiedine with a victory over a ranked opponent in Magny, but he made it look easy.
The Brazilian parlayed a failed kick by his opponent into a takedown where he established top position. It proved to be the beginning of the end. From there, RDA went to work transitioning with his slick grappling game to side control.
Dos Anjos then locked in an arm-triangle choke that drew the tap. Josh Gross of The Guardian broke down the finish:
Dos Anjos' win comes at an opportune time. The welterweight division doesn't have a clear-cut title contender, and RDA has the draw of being a former champion.
Patrick Wyman of the Washington Post already started breaking down the matchup between the former lightweight king and the welterweight titleholder:
Dos Anjos' emergence is good news for a division that has been lackluster during the Tyron Woodley era.
Henry Cejudo vs. Wilson Reis
Henry Cejudo is an Olympic gold-medalist wrestler, but he didn't need those skills to score a second-round TKO victory over Wilson Reis.
The usually dominant grappler switched things up against Reis, coming out in a karate stance. It wasn't just window dressing, either. Cejudo peppered his opponent with boxing combinations that flummoxed an overmatched Reis.
He eventually went back to his wrestling, scoring a takedown to end a dominant first round that MMA Fighting deemed possibly the best of his career:
In the second frame, he went right back to work with his striking. A swift two-punch combination ended Reis' night for good and gave Cejudo his most impressive performance.
Of course, the next question is whether Cejudo is ready to avenge his April loss to Demetrious Johnson. After the bout, he admitted it's a question that's crossed his mind, per the Las Vegas Review-Journal's Heidi Fang:
Ilir Latifi vs. Tyson Pedro
There comes a time in every prospect's career when they face a veteran who knows how to grind out a win. For Tyson Pedro, that time was this fight against Ilir Latifi.
Pedro came into the bout as a hot prospect in the light heavyweight division. His exciting size (6'3" with a 79-inch reach) makes him someone to watch, but The Sledgehammer showed that Pedro isn't ready for top-10 competition in the division.
Pedro had his moments, but Latifi used the clinch and his wrestling game to make his opponent work all night. It made it difficult for the Australian to create any space. Latifi even caused damage with his takedowns:
The result was two of three rounds where Latifi was the definite winner on volume and control of the fight alone.
For Latifi, this is a reminder that he is a tough out for anyone in the light heavyweight division. He's a powerhouse wrestler and a capable striker.
This probably won't be the last time we see Pedro in a fight between ranked opponents. The 25-year-old has improvements to make, but this was only his seventh professional fight.
Jeremy Stephens vs. Gilbert Melendez
Well-performed leg kicks can win a fight on their own.
Jeremy Stephens proved this maxim to be true in his dominant decision victory over Gilbert Melendez. The Lil Heathen went to work early on the lead leg of the former Strikeforce champion, and it paid off in a big way.
Even in the first round, the kicks were putting Melendez on his back:
Stephens—who is usually known for his boxing—had Melendez's leg visibly damaged and swollen. The UFC provided a look at the battered leg:
With his opponent immobilized, he was able to continually open up. It was difficult to watch, but it was a masterful performance from the featherweight veteran.
For Melendez, this puts him in a scary spot on the UFC roster. He's now lost four in a row. With his move down to the 145-pound division off to a rocky start, it's tough to say what the organization will do with him next.