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Fightin’ Words: Breakdown of UFC 215: Johnson vs Borg

By Kevin Wallace Sep 7, 2017 - 2:12 PM print

Welcome back everyone to your favorite monthly column “Fightin’ Words” where I give you a preview of the upcoming UFC pay per view main card and my predictions for the outcomes. So without further ado let’s take a look at what’s set to go down this Saturday from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

UFC Flyweight Championship- Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson (26-2-1) vs Ray Borg (16-2)- Even though most hardcore mixed martial arts fans already consider him the pound for pound greatest fighter on the planet as well as the most dominant champion in UFC history, casual fight fans haven’t flocked to current champion Demetrious Johnson no matter what he does but this weekend Mighty Mouse will look to continue to quietly break records until no one can deny him the title of “greatest of all time”. With a victory over challenger Ray Borg this weekend, Johnson will defeat Anderson Silva’s record of ten successful title defenses, a task that was once thought unattainable for any champion. Despite the opposition being not nearly as high at flyweight as Anderson’s middleweight division was, Johnson has not only soundly defeated all opposition since winning the championship but has not even looked to show many holes in those ten fights and it’s doubtful that anyone in the division will be able to dethrone him until the next era of fighter makes their way to the division. It’s disappointing that there aren’t any bonafide stars in the division to make this history making title defense more special but that’s been the case with the division since it was opened and Roy Borg is no worse of an opponent then Johnson’s previous two opponents in Tim Elliot and Wilson Reis. With incredible hand speed, quick twitch movement, high level wrestling and unpredictable timing, Johnson is too much for nearly everyone he’s faced in his career and I don’t see that being any different in his fight with Ray Borg. Borg steps into this title fight fresh off a two fight winning streak over top fifteen flyweights Louis Smolka and Jussier da Silva and boasting a 5-2 record inside the octagon. A very good wrestler with the ability to not only put you on your back but also to hold you there and nullify any offense, Borg is no easy match for anyone and has shown even in his two losses to not be the type of fighters who lets other fighters bully him around the cage. As good as Borg is, he’s more or less found himself fighting for the championship because there’s really no one else out there who can challenge Johnson due to most having already faced him and because of this Borg has not exactly faced the top level of the division thus far since entering the UFC. All that being said, I see Borg presenting no challenges that Johnson hasn’t already dealt with and Johnson finishing whatever way he chooses. Borg shouldn’t be counted out entirely as he’s always capable of landing a big punch that rattles Johnson to put the champion away but Johnson should be too much for him here.

Prediction: Johnson by unanimous decision

UFC Women’s Bantamweight Championship- Amanda “Lioness” Nunes (14-4) vs Valentina Shevchenko (14-2)- Only two months ago I wrote a preview of this fight but just 36 hours away from the fight taking place it was cancelled due to champion Amanda Nunes falling ill. That being said, I feel like the fight goes down the same way as I had originally predicted. Both of these girls are incredibly durable and fun to watch with Nunes looking to land a big haymaker to end her opponent’s night while Valentina prefers the cautious pick apart strategy with fine technical strikes. Nunes has been in the cage with some of the best women fighters in the sport with defeats of Miesha Tate and Ronda Rousey while Shevchenko has only recently started to face the divisions best with wins over former bantamweight champion Holly Holm and Juliana Pena. The first time these two squared off Nunes was declared the winner in a closely contested fight but I think the fact that this is a five rounder as opposed to the three they had in their last encounter should greatly favor Shevchenko who has the better cardio. The first meeting between these two Nunes slowed down significantly the longer the fight played out and I’ve seen no signs of improvement with her cardio since then which leads me to lean towards Shevchenko stretching this fight out into the fourth or fifth round where she gets a late stoppage due to strikes or three of five rounds in the judges eyes following a full 25 minutes.

Prediction: Shevchenko by unanimous decision

Neil Magny (19-5) vs Rafael Dos Anjos (26-9)- Solid fight right here between a former lightweight champion making his second foray into the welterweight division squaring off against a top ten staple of the division in Neil Magny. At 6’3, Magny is a legitimate tall task for anyone but with a fight style that pushes the pace and the ability to work on the outside of his opponents range Magny is a difficult opponent to defeat as proven with his eleven victories in his last 13 fights. Dos Anjos at only 5’9 will be the significantly smaller fighter inside the cage but he’s faced larger fighters in his career and even though he hasn’t fought someone as tall as Magny he is still experienced enough to be able to deal with Magny’s reach. Both of these guys can get the other to the mat if they choose however Dos Anjos is a far better grappler and given Magny’s deficiencies at times in that department he’s likely going to look to use his wrestling defensively and keep this fight on the feet where the fight is a little more evenly matched. There’s no doubt that Dos Anjos hits harder than Magny and if he can close the distance on him then I think it’s likely that he can get a knockout finish but I’m currently leaning more towards Magny who continues to improve fight after fight to be the busier fighter and use his jab as a means of picking apart Dos Anjos on the feet in a closely contested three rounder that goes the distance.

Prediction: Magny by unanimous decision

Gilbert “El Nino” Melendez (22-6) vs Jeremy “Lil’ Heathen” Stephens (25-14)- This should be one hell of a fight between a consistent top 15 featherweight who regularly puts on fan friendly fights welcoming former lightweight challenger Gilbert Melendez to the division. With three losses in a row and coming off a suspension for a banned substance, Melendez is pretty much in a must win situation while his opponent is in a very similar position having lost five of his last seven fights. I think wherever this fight plays out Melendez has the edge as he’s faster, a better grappler and more varied in his striking technique but with the time off and his mentality coming off a three fight losing streak then it presents a great opportunity for Stephens to spoil his return to the octagon. Neither of these guys has looked all that impressive lately and has fallen in the rankings over the years but I think Melendez dictates this pace of this one and avoids brawling with Stephens to earn a one sided decision victory to get back in the win column.

Prediction: Melendez by unanimous decision

Henry Cejudo (10-2) vs Wilson Reis (22-7)- In a division where champion Demetrious Johnson has defeated pretty much everyone inside the top 15 and likely to start facing off with them a second time, this fight may see the winner challenging again for the championship in 2018. Reis is coming off a loss in his last fight where he challenged Demetrious Johnson for the championship losing by unanimous decision while Cejudo has lost his last two fights against Johnson and number one contender Joseph Benavidez. Reis is the better fighter on the feet and one of the more underrated flyweights in the division but Cejudo’s wrestling is top notch and I can’t see Reis being able to stuff the takedown attempts by the former Olympian. The longer this fight stays standing the more it favors Reis who will enjoy a significant edge standing but I think it’s pretty likely that Cejudo down’s him when needed in all three rounds and never lets him back to his feet to get his hand raised.

Prediction: Cejudo by unanimous decision


Sara McMann (11-3) vs Ketlan Viera (8-0)- Prediction- McMann by submission

Ilir Latifi (12-5) vs Tyson Pedro (6-0)- Prediction: Pedro by knockout

Gavin Tucker (10-0) vs Rick Glenn (19-4-1)- Prediction: Glenn by knockout

Ashlee Evans-Smith (5-2) vs Sarah Moras (4-2)- Prediction: Evans-Smith by unanimous decision

Luis Henrique Barbosa de Oliveira (10-3) vs Arjan Bhullar (6-0)- Prediction: Bhullar by knockout

Mitch “Danger Zone” Clarke (11-4) vs Alex “Spartan” White (11-3)- Prediction: White by unanimous decision

Adriano Martins (28-8) vs “Ragin” Kajan Johnson (21-11-1)- Prediction: Martins by knockout

Well with that I say goodbye for this month but if you enjoyed the column then check back next month as I preview UFC 216: Ferguson vs Lee. Take care everyone!

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