UFC 215, a card beset with drama and fight cancellations, over-preformed on Saturday. The event, headlined by a rematch between women’s bantamweight champ Amanda Nunes and Valentina Shevchenko, exceeded expectations in pretty much all bouts save the main event itself. That meant a tough call on who to award bonuses to, but ultimately, the promotion stuck to its main card attractions.
Picking up Fight of the Night honors were featherweights Jeremy Stephens and Gilbert Melendez. Melendez (22-7), a former lightweight title challenger and Strikeforce champ, became a one legged man in an ass-kicking contest when Stephens continually attacked his lead leg. Early in the first round, Melendez looked as if he’d soon be unable to walk, and was dropped to the mat with heavy kicks time and time again. With the doctor keeping a close eye on the affair, the match was allowed to continue, and amazingly, a hobbled and limping Melendez made it through to the final bell.
Stephens (26-14), who picked up the lopsided unanimous decision win, should be credited for sticking to a smart game plan throughout the bout, and refusing to get drawn into a war. Ultimately, the fight will go down as one of the best performances of Lil Heathen’s career.
Picking up Performance of the Night bonuses were Rafael dos Anjos and Henry Cejudo. Dos Anjos (27-9) scored a first round submission victory over Neil Magny, extending his win streak in the welterweight division to two. Cejudo (11-2), meanwhile, knocked out Wilson Reis in the second round of their main card scrap. That snapped the first losing streak of his career, which also happened to be the only two losses on his record.
UFC 215 took place in Edmonton, Alberta at the Rogers Place arena. For more coverage, check our UFC Events page.