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Nunes, Shevchenko Prove Nothing in UFC 215 Rematch

Jeremy Botter@jeremybotterMMA Senior WriterSeptember 10, 2017

EDMONTON, AB - SEPTEMBER 09:  Amanda Nunes, left, reacts after defeating Valentina Shevchenko, right, during UFC 215 at Rogers Place on September 9, 2017 in Edmonton, Canada. (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images)
Codie McLachlan/Getty Images

So what, exactly, are we supposed to do now?

Saturday night's UFC 215 main event would help us determine the better fighter: Amanda Nunes or Valentina Shevchenko?

EDMONTON, AB - SEPTEMBER 09:  Valentina Shevchenko of Kyrgyzstan raises her hands after facing Amanda Nunes of Brazil in their women's bantamweight bout during the UFC 215 event inside the Rogers Place on September 9, 2017 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. (P
Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

They had fought once already, in March 2016. The only thing we learned back then is that neither had a significant edge over the other. I guess we learned that if the fight could have somehow gone seven rounds, Shevchenko would have won. She just ran out of time, is all, much like Nunes ran out of energy.

After that, Nunes went out and beat the world and assumed control of the UFC's Ronda Rousey Memorial Championship before putting her own bloody stamp on Rousey's career.

We won't get into the machinations again of what happened back in July, when the rematch was first booked. So let's just jump straight ahead to Saturday's contest.

To the fact, in regard to Amanda Nunes and Valentina Shevchenko, we are no wiser than we were on Saturday morning.

Most fighters will find a nemesis, provided they stick around long enough. I guess that's what Nunes and Shevchenko are to each other, though it seems likely this rivalry won't find a place among the great blood feuds of mixed martial arts.

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It seems a lot more personal for Shevchenko. That makes sense because it was she who lost a close decision to Nunes. Again.

Saturday night's shenanigans turned Shevchenko into a ball of fury, raging about the unfairness of it all and repeatedly telling the world Nunes had not even punched her, not even once and that if you don't believe her, just look at how there were no scratches on her face. And Nunes? You best believe she got punched in the face because just look at her face.

To Shevchenko, the evidence was as clear as day. Alas, mixed martial arts contests are not judged on cosmetic facial damage. But in her defense, who knows how these things are decided? I had Nunes winning the fight. But it was close enough I felt the need to inform my wife just how unsurprised I would be if it went the other way.

What I didn't tell her was how little I cared either way or how, once I shut the laptop after finishing this column, it's likely I will never give it another thought.

And I suspect a lot of you feel the same. Because while it was close, this was the rare UFC title fight that wasn't great or awesome or terrible or boring.

It was just...forgettable.

We saw Nunes exhibit vastly improved cardio. Finally. But what we didn't see was a champion making a case that she is the best, which seems to be the way she views herself. Shevchenko is still a terrifying force of nature on her feet. But she's been that way for a long time.

There's no separation between these two. Not before the fight, and not now. If they fought 10 times, they might each win five. Or one of them might win all 10. This kind of scenario usually leads to a singular thrilling fight that then evolves into a long-term trilogy, with each fighter trying to eke out a win as the fans go wild in the arena and at home.

Nunes and Shevchenko have the same neck-and-neck skills as the greatest rivalries in the sport. This feels like something that should be awesome. Something we should look forward to. Something we tell our friends about.

So why is "please don't make us watch this again" the only thought creeping into my head right now?