UFC 215 Preview, Betting Tips, and Odds

Two title fights top the UFC 215 card, which is the first numbered UFC since July as the promotion took time out to focus its efforts on the “Money Fight” between Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Conor McGregor.

Saturday could be a historic night as UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson will attempt to defend his title for a record 11th time as he faces challenger Ray Borg in the headliner. The UFC women’s bantamweight title is also on the line as current champion Amanda Nunes faces multiple-time muay thai world champion Valentina Shevchenko in the co-main event.

Let’s take a look at the 12 fights going down at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

Early Prelim card

Kajan Johnson (21-12-1) vs. Adriano Martins (28-8)

Johnson will hope to get the Canadian crowd cheering early on and win his third consecutive bout in the process. Martins returns to action after eleven months out and will look to rebound from after losing to compatriot Leonardo Santos at UFC 204.

Luis Henrique (10-3, 1NC) vs. Arjan Bhullar (6-0)

Two heavyweights enter the cage early in this event. Henrique holds a 2-2 Octagon record and will look to earn a victory that will put him back in the form that saw him defeat Christian Colombo and Dmitry Smolyakov in 2016. Bhullar makes his UFC debut in front of his home crowd. Bhullar has six wins, with three coming by knockout.

Lightweight: Mitch Clarke (11-4) vs. Alex White (11-3)

Injury prone Clarke returns to action after over a year out and will look to bounce back from consecutive losses to Joe Duffy and Mike Chiesa. He holds a 2-4 record in the UFC. The 28-year-old White holds a 2-3 Octagon record and will look to disappoint the Canadian fans with a win over the local fighter.

Prelim Card

Gavin Tucker (10-0) vs. Rick Glenn (19-4-1)

Tucker is unbeaten and will look to turn back the clocks to replicate his victory over Sam Sicilia in Canada earlier this year. Tucker is the former ECC featherweight champion. The American Glenn will look to get his hand raised in Canada in his third Octagon outing. He is the former World Series of Fighting featherweight champion.

Sarah Moras (4-3) vs. Ashlee Evans-Smith (5-2)

Moras will return to action for the first time for over two years since her loss to strawweight title challenger Jessica Andrade. She is one of five Canadians on the card. Ashlee Evans-Smith will look to bounce back from her loss to Ketlen Vieira at UFC on FOX 24 earlier this year. Her record in the Octagon is 2-2 and she’ll look to make that a positive one this weekend.

Henry Cejudo #2 (10-2) vs. Wilson Reis #4 (22-7)

Olympic wrestling gold medalist Cejudo will be keen to rediscover his form after losing consecutive bouts to Demetrious Johnson and Joseph Benavidez. He had previously won his first four Octagon outings, with all those wins coming by decision on his way to a title shot. Reis was the latest man to lose to Demetrious Johnson and finds himself fighting in the Octagon for a tenth time.

Sara McMann #6 (11-3) vs. Ketlen Vieira #13 (8-0)

A silver medallist in wrestling, McMann, will be looking to win her fourth consecutive bout which should propel her into the title picture at bantamweight. She challenged Ronda Rousey for the strap in 2014 but was defeated inside the first round. Vieira is an undefeated Brazilian who will look to make it three wins in less than a year in the UFC and the biggest in of her career versus the established American. An interesting matchup in the prelim headliner.

Main Card

Jeremy Stephens #8 (25-13) vs. Gilbert Melendez #15 (22-6)

Stephens will look to bounce back from his consecutive losses to Renato Carneiro and Frankie Edgar. This will mark the twenty-sixth occasion that the hard-hitting American has made the walk to the Octagon. Former WEC and Strikeforce champion Melendez has lost three consecutive bouts and returns to the Octagon after fourteen months out. He hasn’t won since UFC 166 in October 2013 in a thrilling fight with Diego Sanchez. Melendez is dropping down to featherweight for the first time for this bout.

Ilir Latifi #10 (13-5, 1 NC) vs. Tyson Pedro #13 (6-0)

Sweden’s Ilir Latifi will make his ninth Octagon appearance and his first in over twelve months since getting KO’d by Ryan Bader. Australia’s unbeaten light heavyweight Tyson Pedro will look to make it three victories in less than ten months in the UFC with a victory this weekend. Pedro has won both of his other bouts inside the first round, but he will face one of the best and most powerful wrestlers in the division. I see Latifi slowing the hype of Pedro in this main card fight.

Neil Magny #6 (19-6) vs. Rafael dos Anjos (26-9)

Magny will hold a gigantic ten-inch reach advantage over the former lightweight champion. Magny will hope to replicate the form that has seen him win eleven of his last thirteen bouts. When Rafael dos Anjos upset Anthony Pettis to seal lightweight gold, many expected him to rule the division for years to come. Back to back losses to Eddie Alvarez and Tony Ferguson left the Brazilian searching for a change. And this came in a move up to welterweight division. In his first outing, the Brazilian outpointed Tarec Saffiedine in Singapore this June and will look to make it consecutive wins for the first time in a couple of years.

Magny is an underdog here and might be worth a play to see if he can use his reach and grappling to win two out of the three planned rounds.

Women’s Bantamweight Championship

Amanda Nunes (14-4) vs. Valentina Shevchenko (14-2)

This was a fight was slated to take place at UFC 213, before Amanda Nunes pulled out on the last day due to sickness. The Brazilian is looking to make her second successful defense of the women’s bantamweight crown. Nunes outpointed Valentina Shevchenko just eighteen months ago in a close fight, and they will do it again here in what the odds have as a pick-em.

Valentina Shevchenko holds a decorated Muay Thai and Kickboxing record, amassing a 55-1 record across both disciplines before turning her focus to mixed martial arts. Recent victories over former champion Holly Holm and Julianna Pena have propelled the Kyrgyz-Peruvian into title contention.

Nunes has seemed to gain confidence as she has moved her training camps to America. I think the Brazilian to get it done here winning round early in this 5-round title fight on her way to a decision.

Flyweight Championship

Demetrious Johnson (27-2-1) vs. Ray Borg (11-2)

Demetrious Johnson is arguably the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world. Mighty Mouse has the opportunity to make history this weekend as he bids to surpass his record of ten title defences held by the legend Anderson Silva. The last time that Johnson tasted defeat was back in 2011, in a bantamweight title bout with Dominick Cruz. Johnson has since won twelve consecutive bouts and look to establish himself as the longest reigning champion on Saturday.

A huge underdog in Ray Borg becomes the ninth different challenger to attempt to wrestle the flyweight crown away from Mighty Mouse. Borg’s last four bouts have gone the distance and Betsafe has him as one of the biggest underdogs in a UFC title fight that we have seen in a long time. If you are looking to bet on an underdog on this card, I’d look elsewhere.

About Ryan O’Leary

Ryan O’Leary is a veteran mixed martial arts journalist and commentator. The Swedish-based writer is the founder and editor at MMAViking.com, which is the premier source for Nordic mixed martial arts news.