They've got their wish: Ovince Saint Preux meets Ilir Latifi at UFC on FOX 27 in Charlotte

It’s a little later than he initially asked for, but Ovince Saint Preux will get his wish – which initially was a wish made by Ilir Latifi.

Saint Preux (22-10 MMA, 10-5 UFC) and Latifi (13-5 MMA, 6-3 UFC) are set to clash in a light heavyweight bout when the UFC returns to North Carolina in January for UFC on FOX 27. Promotion officials announced the new booking today following an initial report from the Charlotte Observer.

UFC on FOX 27 takes place Jan. 27 at Spectrum Center in Charlotte. The main card will air on FOX after prelims expected for either FOX or FS1 and UFC Fight Pass. No headliner has been announced for the event yet, which will be the UFC’s first show in North Carolina in nearly eight years.

Following a knockout win over Corey Anderson at UFC 217 earlier this month, Saint Preux called out Latifi for a fight. Backstage, he reminded reporters he was merely echoing a callout made by Latifi a while back that has gone unfulfilled.

“I didn’t pick him, he picked me,” Saint Preux said after his short-notice KO win. “He called me out a while back and I said, ‘Let’s do it.’ When this situation came up, I jumped on it. And I’m jumping right back on it. Dec. 30, we can make it happen.”

But while Saint Preux’s request for UFC 219 at the end of the year didn’t work, he’ll only have to wait a month longer.

The resurgent Saint Preux won for the third straight time and won his second straight fight-night bonus with the head-kick KO of Anderson. Prior to that, he had back-to-back Von Flue choke finishes of Marcos Rogerio de Lima and Yushin Okami to get back on track after a rough patch that saw him drop three straight and four of five fights.

His three straight losses started with a unanimous decision setback to Jon Jones for the interim light heavyweight title at UFC 197. After that, he was knocked out by Jimi Manuwa and UFC 204 and upset by Volkan Oezdemir at UFC Fight Night 104 in February. But his bounce back has been nothing but highlight reels.

Ilir Latifi

Latifi got back on track in September with a unanimous decision win over Tyson Pedro at UFC 215 in Edmonton. That bout was his first fight in more than a year. He had been expected to face Antonio Rogerio Nogueira more than a month prior to that in an attempt to get back in the win column after a knockout loss to Ryan Bader in September 2016, but Nogueira pulled out of the fight.

Prior to his loss to Bader, who now is Bellator’s light heavyweight champion, Latifi had a three-fight winning streak that included knockouts of Hans Stringer and Sean O’Connell and a decision over Gian Villante at UFC 196.

For more on UFC on FOX 27, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

UFC 217's Ovince Saint Preux simply wanted Ilir Latifi to know he didn't forget callout

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NEW YORK – Resurgent UFC light heavyweight Ovince Saint Preux didn’t call out Ilir Latifi, all appearances to the contrary.

“I didn’t pick him; he picked me,” Saint Preux told reporters backstage at UFC 217 after a thunderous knockout of Corey Anderson on the FS1-televised prelims at Madison Square Garden. “He called me out a while back, and I said, ‘Let’s do it.’ When this situation came up, I jumped on it.

“And I’m jumping right back on it. Dec. 30 we can make it happen.”

Saint Preux (22-10 MMA, 10-5 UFC), who topped Anderson (9-3 MMA, 6-3 UFC) for his third straight win, hasn’t heard whether the promotion will grant his desired date, which marks the date for UFC 219 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. But, he added, “I’m pushing it.”

With two fights in 42 days, it’s hard to argue he’s pushing the bounds of activity. A December fight would mark his fifth octagon appearance in 2017.

Saint Preux previously traveled to Japan for a FS1-televised headliner at UFC Fight Night 117. He tapped short-notice replacement Yushin Okami with a Von Flue choke, his second consecutive win using the rare submission.

Going from the famed Saitama Super Arena to Madison Square Garden, Saint Preux said things couldn’t get much better. A fight in Vegas with Latifi (13-5 MMA, 6-3 UFC), who in September outpointed Tyson Pedro at UFC 215, would be a start.

But don’t get it mixed up – he’s merely responding to a request.

“He called me out. I’m just letting him know I didn’t forget about him,” Saint Preux said.

For complete coverage of UFC 217, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Hurricane Irma on UFC 215 winner Ilir Latifi's mind: 'Half of my team, my trainers have families in Miami'

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EDMONTON – Ilir Latifi was set to end a yearlong layoff against Tyson Pedro on Saturday, but it turns out ring rust wasn’t the only thing weighing on his mind.

Latifi currently splits his time between two homes: Stockholm, in his native Sweden, and Miami. And while he’s Europe-bound after his winning display over Pedro at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, the light heavyweight said he had a hard time seeing his team deal with the threat of Hurricane Irma in his preparation.

“It’s been very hard (to focus),” Latifi said after the event. “Because half of my team, my trainers … they have their families in Miami. They have their houses and children, everything. And seeing this catastrophic hurricane coming, nothing ever seen like that in history.

“You feel bad for them. They’re over here, and they’re watching the news all the time. ‘This is going to eat my home. What’s going to happen?’ People are like running away and they’re stuck in traffic. There’s no gas and stuff.

“It’s hard, you know, but we’re fighters. We live this life. And we’re used to always living on the edge. But, of course, it’s not easy to see the coaches to be nervous and thinking about home.”

Latifi (13-5 MMA, 6-3 UFC), who got a unanimous-decision win over Pedro (6-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC) in the pay-per-view main-card bout, extended a sincere thank you to those who chose to help him despite their own struggles back home.

“You’ve got to give them so much credit that they come over here, help us out all week,” Latifi said. “I was like, ‘Man, you should be over there with your family.’ But what can you say? They love this sport and sacrifice a lot. So, a lot of respect for all the trainers that sacrifice a lot to support us.”

Inside the octagon, however, it was certainly a good night for “Sledgehammer.” Officially recovered from a knockout loss to Ryan Bader at UFC Fight Night 93 in September 2016, the Swedish fighter has gone 4-1 in his past five octagon outings.

The 24-year-old Pedro, in turn, walked into the bout riding the hype of being a fresh, undefeated face in a 205-pound division that’s hungry for renewal. A win over the tough Latifi would certainly be quite the credibility boost for a marketable Aussie prospect.

Considering narratives like these, one could argue that the 34-year-old Latifi was fulfilling the role of a stepping stone on Saturday. But whether or not that was the case, the Swedish fighter isn’t particularly bothered.

“It’s business,” Latifi said. “You’ve just got to see it for what it is. He’s a good up-and-coming fighter, he has a lot of talent, and I think he’s going to have a good career.

“He was seen as a young prospect, undefeated. They wanted to test him against me, so OK. Let’s do it. For me, the hardest part was not being in the octagon for over a year. I felt that a little bit, dealing with injuries and stuff. But it was nice coming back. I felt the absence the first round, but then I just ground it out and put in the wrestling.”

As far as his performance goes, Latifi said there are always things that could have been done better. But, ultimately, he’s happy to be back both to the octagon and to the winning column after recovering from separate injuries on his toe and ankle – both of which required surgery – and hand.

As for where to go from here, Latifi won’t give out any names. But he wouldn’t mind some top-ranked competition.

“Let’s see – top five,” Latifi said. “I’m ready to climb up the ladder. I’ve been away, and now I’m back.”

To hear more from Latifi, check out the video above.

And for more on UFC 215, visit the UFC Events section of the site.

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Sean Shelby's Shoes: What's next for Amanda Nunes and UFC 215's other winners?

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(ALSO SEE: Sean Shelby’s Shoes: What’s next for UFC 215’s losing fighters?)

The UFC’s first pay-per-view event in Canada this year took place on Saturday with UFC 215, which went down at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

The five-fight lineup saw Amanda Nunes (15-4 MMA, 8-1 UFC) defend her UFC women’s bantamweight championship for the second time when she earned a hotly contested split-decision victory over rival Valentina Shevchenko (14-3 MMA, 3-2 UFC) in the headliner.

Several other impressive performances were turned in, with former champ Rafael dos Anjos (27-9 MMA, 16-7 UFC), Henry Cejudo (11-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC), Ilir Latifi (13-5 MMA, 6-3 UFC) and Jeremy Stephens (26-14 MMA, 13-13 UFC) turning in convincing winning performances against their opponents.

After every event, fans wonder whom the winners will be matched up with next. And with another night of UFC action in the rearview mirror, it’s time to look forward, put on a pair of Sean Shelby and Mick Maynard’s shoes, and play UFC matchmaker for UFC 215’s winning fighters.

* * * *

Jeremy Stephens

Brian Ortega

Should fight: Brian Ortega
Why they should fight: Stephens once again bounced back from a two-fight losing skid inside the UFC octagon when he earned one of the more noteworthy victories of his career, this time against former Strikeforce champ Gilbert Melendez.

With the help of vicious leg kicks, Stephens earned a dominant unanimous-decision win over “El’ Nino” to get him back on track. Despite 26 UFC appearances, Stephens is still only 31 and said he still has a lot of competitive years left.

Although Melendez is a established name in the sport, he’s not currently considered a top title threat, nor is he someone who should elevate Stephens into the title-shot discussion. There are names out there who could do more for him, though, and an undefeated rising star like Ortega (12-0 MMA, 4-0 UFC) would make for a compelling affair.

Ortega is young, dynamic and a fighter with some buzz in the weight class. Stephens would be a big test, but if he handles him, that would legitimize him in a whole new light.

Ilir Latifi

Mauricio Rua

Should fight: Winner of Mauricio Rua vs. Ovince Saint Preux at UFC Fight Night 117
Why they should fight: Latifi returned to the octagon for the first time in more than a year and halted the undefeated streak of rising light heavyweight Tyson Pedro.

Latifi improved to 4-1 in his past five UFC appearances with a unanimous-decision victory over Pedro. He’s lined himself up for a greater opportunity next time out, and the winner of the UFC Fight Night 117 headliner between Rua (25-10 MMA, 9-8 UFC) and Saint Preux (20-10 MMA, 8-5 UFC) later this month could be the perfect fit.

Although “Shogun” and “OSP” have accomplished as much in the sport as anyone Latifi has fought thus far, a victory over the winner of their upcoming matchup would help legitimize himself at 205 pounds and allow him to join the title-contender discussion.

Henry Cejudo

Sergio Pettis

Should fight: Sergio Pettis
Why they should fight: Cejudo turned in easily the most impressive performance of his career when he completely outclassed fellow former flyweight title challenger Wilson Reis for a second-round knockout win.

After beating his opponents on the scorecards in his first four UFC wins, Cejudo made a definitive statement with a stellar striking performance against Reis to help him rebound from a two-fight skid against 125-pound champ Demetrious Johnson and top-ranked contender Joseph Benavidez.

Although Cejudo eventually wants a title rematch with Johnson, he named Pettis (16-2 MMA, 7-2 UFC) as a possible next opponent. They were scheduled to fight at UFC 211 in May, but Cejudo was forced to withdraw during fight week due to a hand injury. Pettis is coming off a decision win over fast-rising Brandon Moreno at UFC Fight Night 114 in August, and Cejudo said he would be very interested in booking that fight again to further strengthen his title-shot argument.

Rafael dos Anjos

Tyron Woodley

Should fight: Tyron Woodley
Why they should fight: Former UFC lightweight champion dos Anjos continued a successful venture into the welterweight division when he defeated longtime contender Neil Magny.

Dos Anjos earned a first-round submission win to improve to 2-0 since he moved up to 170 pounds earlier this year. The Brazilian has made a quick rise in the division, and he would have already fought for the title against Woodley (18-3-1 MMA, 8-2-1 UFC) in July if Demian Maia had been unable to accept.

Woodley is still nursing some injuries from his UFC 214 win over Maia, but that works perfectly for the Brazilian, who said he’s eager to take some time off after two fights in three months. Although Woodley somewhat dismissed dos Anjos as a legitimate next challenger at this time, there are few better options available in the weight class. Dos Anjos’ performance against Magny paired with his status as a former UFC titleholder should get him the next shot.

Amanda Nunes

Should fight: Raquel Pennington
Why they should fight: Watch the video above to see why Nunes should face Pennington (9-5 MMA, 6-2 UFC) for her third title defense.

For more on UFC 215, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

UFC 215 results: Ilir Latifi's wrestling hands Tyson Pedro first pro loss

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Swedish sledgehammer Ilir Latifi (13-5 MMA, 6-3 UFC) appeared recharged after a year away from competition, outworking previously undefeated prospect Tyson Pedro (6-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC) for a decision win.

The light heavyweight bout was part of today’s UFC 215 main card, which took place at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, and aired on pay-per-view.

The taller Pedro kept his range early, chopping at the legs with a few early techniques. Latifi tried to fire a counter right in reply, but Pedro avoided the powerful blows. However, Latifi did catch a subsequent low kick and drive the fight to the canvas, moving to north-south. Pedro answered perfectly with a scramble back to the feet, where he landed a big kick to the body that seemed to stun his foe. A Pedro high kick nearly scored flush but saw Latifi again drive the action to the canvas. Still, Pedro was again quick in his scramble to the feet, where he defended a takedown and landed a few strikes against the cage.

Pedro again looked to attack the legs to start the second, thought Latifi was strong in reply. Pedro tried to stay at range, but Latifi did a good job of managing distance and working past the reach to attack. Latifi eventually used heavy punches to drive his way into a clinch, where he absorbed a few short strikes but then slammed Pedro to the canvas. Pedro worked hard to get back to his feet but was peppered by several big left hands on the way up. Latifi kept hold of the clinch until the bell, controlling his bigger foe.

Pedro again chopped the leg in the third, but Latifi was there to answer with huge punches over the top. The pace was moderate, but both men were firing with power. Latifi’s left eye was busted up a bit from the damage, but he was certainly landing his share of big strikes on the feet, as well. Latifi eventually pushed forward and wrapped the body, slamming Pedro to the floor and then working hard to establish firm top control. Pedro tried to work in a few elbows while on his back, but Latifi was happy to simply maintain the dominant position. Pedro suffered a cut over the left eye in the final minute, and Latifi just grinded his way to the bell, where he was granted a hard-earned decision, 29-28, 29-28 and 30-27.

Latifi is now 4-1 in his past five appearances. Pedro comes up short for the first time in his career, with the fight also marking the first time one of his bouts moved past the first frame.

Up-to-the-minute UFC 215 results include:

For more on UFC 215, visit the UFC Events section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

UFC 215 staff picks: Who's picking title change in new Nunes-Shevchenko main event?

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Nunes
vs.
Shevchenko
Dos Anjos
vs.
Magny
Cejudo
vs.
Reis
Latifi
vs.
Pedro
Melendez
vs.
Stephens
MMAjunkie readers’
consensus picks
2017: 80-62
shevchenko2017
Shevchenko
(62%)
dosanjos2017
dos Anjos
(56%)
cejudo2016
Cejudo
(87%)
tpedro2016
Pedro
(56%)
melendez
Melendez
(51%)
Simon Samano
@SJSamano
2017: 88-53
shevchenko2017
Shevchenko
magny
Magny
cejudo2016
Cejudo
tpedro2016
Pedro
melendez
Melendez
Dann Stupp
@DannStupp
2017: 87-54
trophy copy 2015 Champion
nunes2016
Nunes
dosanjos2017
dos Anjos
cejudo2016
Cejudo
ilir-latifi
Latifi
melendezMelendez
Steven Marrocco @MMAjunkieSteven
2017: 85-56
shevchenko2017
Shevchenko
dosanjos2017
dos Anjos
cejudo2016
Cejudo
tpedro2016
Pedro
melendez
Melendez
Brian Garcia
@thegoze
2017: 85-56
shevchenko2017
Shevchenko
dosanjos2017
dos Anjos
cejudo2016
Cejudo
tpedro2016
Pedro
melendez
Melendez
Ben Fowlkes @BenFowlkesMMA
2017: 84-57
trophy copy 2016 Champion
nunes2016
Nunes
dosanjos2017
dos Anjos
cejudo2016
Cejudo
ilir-latifi
Latifi
melendez
Melendez
Matt Erickson @MMAjunkieMatt
2017: 82-59
shevchenko2017
Shevchenko
magny
Magny
cejudo2016
Cejudo
tpedro2016
Pedro
melendez
Melendez
Fernanda Prates @nandaprates_
2017: 81-60
shevchenko2017
Shevchenko
dosanjos2017
dos Anjos
cejudo2016
Cejudo
tpedro2016
Pedro
melendez
Melendez
George Garcia @MMAjunkieGeorge
2017: 79-62
shevchenko2017
Shevchenko
dosanjos2017
dos Anjos
cejudo2016
Cejudo
tpedro2016
Pedro
melendez
Melendez
Mike Bohn @MikeBohnMMA
2017: 78-63
trophy copy 2014 Champion
nunes2016
Nunes
dosanjos2017
dos Anjos
cejudo2016
Cejudo
tpedro2016
Pedro
melendez
Melendez
John Morgan @MMAjunkieJohn
2017: 77-64
nunes2016
Nunes
dosanjos2017
dos Anjos
cejudo2016
Cejudo
tpedro2016
Pedro
stephens2017
Stephens

The UFC is back in Canada this week for its return to pay-per-view – and what was supposed to be a pair of title fights before Thursday’s late scratch of the main event.

UFC 215 takes place Saturday at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

(Click here to open a PDF of the staff picks grid in a separate window.)

The main event was set to feature dominant flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson (26-2-1 MMA, 14-1-1 UFC) against challenger Ray Borg (11-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC). “Mighty Mouse” was attempting to break Anderson Silva’s record for consecutive UFC title defenses in the fight. But Borg was pulled on Thursday due to an illness, which means Johnson’s shot at history is on hold.

The previous co-feature has been elevated to the main event. Women’s bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes (14-4 MMA, 7-1 UFC) puts her belt on the line against Valentina Shevchenko (14-2 MMA, 3-1 UFC) in a rematch. Nunes won the first fight by unanimous decision at UFC 196, but is a slight underdog this time around. Shevchenko has a 6-4 edge from our staff.

In the new co-main event, former lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos (26-9 MMA, 15-7 UFC) will try to make it 2-0 as a welterweight when he takes on Neil Magny (19-5 MMA, 12-4 UFC). Dos Anjos is about a 2-1 favorite, and he has an 8-2 rout in our picks.

Also on the main card, a preliminary-card flyweight fight between recent title challengers Henry Cejudo (10-2 MMA, 4-2 UFC) and Wilson Reis (22-7 MMA, 6-3 UFC) has been elevated. Cejudo is more than a 3-1 favorite and is the only unanimous choice from our staff members. Ilir Latifi (12-5 MMA, 5-3 UFC) meets unbeaten Tyson Pedro (6-0 MMA, 2-0 UFC) in a light heavyweight fight, and despite being a slight underdog, Pedro is the 8-2 selection from our staff.

And to open the main card, former Strikeforce champion and two-time UFC lightweight title challenger Gilbert Melendez (22-6 MMA, 1-4 UFC) moves down to featherweight to take on fellow veteran Jeremy Stephens (25-14 MMA, 12-13 UFC). Stephens is a slight favorite, but Melendez is near unanimous at 9-1 from our pickers.

In the MMAjunkie reader consensus picks, Shevchenko, dos Anjos, Cejudo, Pedro and Melendez are the choices.

Check out all the picks above.

For more on UFC 215, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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UFC 215's Ilir Latifi not ready to judge Jon Jones during turbulent time for 205-pound division

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EDMONTON – Despite Jon Jones’ lengthy history of mishaps, Ilir Latifi is not rushing to condemn the UFC light heavyweight champion after his latest incident involving a failed drug test.

Latifi (12-5 MMA, 5-3 UFC), who fights Tyson Pedro (6-0 MMA, 2-0 UFC) on Saturday’s UFC 215 main card following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, said he’s going to hold off making any bold proclamations about Jones (23-1 MMA, 17-1 UFC) following his positive UFC 214 drug test.

The Swedish fighter knows the top of the division is filled with uncertainty due to Jones’ situation, but he feels “Bones” is entitled to due process before final judgments are made.

“I was surprised, but I think it’s too early to judge anybody or anything,” Latifi told MMAjunkie at Wednesday’s UFC 215 media day. “Let’s see when all the evidence and everything is in place and what’s going to come out of it.”

Regardless of what happens to Jones, though, Latifi believes the 205-pound division is going to be fine. He said there are a number of worthwhile athletes in the weight class, and that’s not going to change regardless of whether Jones is active or suspended.

“All divisions have these periods when there’s a lot of turbulence in the division, you don’t know what’s going to happen,” Latifi said. “You see a lot of good fighters now coming in the division, getting up and whether Jon Jones is there or is not, it’s a division that a lot of people are aiming for that title and reaching for it. Anything can happen.”

Latifi has been part of the UFC roster for more than four years but still believes he’s yet to hit his potential. He may be coming off a knockout loss to Ryan Bader at UFC Fight Night 93 in September 2016 but said he can again become someone to look out for with a win over Pedro.

Pedro has just two UFC appearances to his name and is one of the fresher faces on the roster, but Latifi said he’s not discrediting the Australian.

“I think all the fighters that fight in the UFC are top-level athletes,” Latifi said. “They’re world (class) fighters, and everybody is a tough opponent here. It doesn’t matter if it’s the UFC champ or a debuting fighter. Everybody is here to win and become the best.”

For more on UFC 215, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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UFC 215 pre-event facts: 2 champions – and 2 Olympic medalists – on tap

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The UFC returns to Canada on Saturday for a pay-per-view for the first time this year with UFC 215, which takes place at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

The main card, which follows prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass, features two championship fights. In the headliner, Demetrious Johnson (26-2-1 MMA, 14-1-1 UFC) goes for a UFC record 11th consecutive title defense when he meets challenger Ray Borg (11-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC).

The co-main event will pit women’s bantamweight titleholder Amanda Nunes (14-4 MMA, 7-1 UFC) against Valentina Shevchenko (14-2 MMA, 3-1 UFC) in a bout rescheduled after it was pulled last-minute from UFC 213 in July.

For more on the numbers behind the deep UFC 215 lineup, check below for 60 pre-event facts.

* * * *

Main event

Ray Borg.

Johnson owns or is on the verge of owning several flyweight and overall UFC records, all of which can be viewed on his complete UFC career stat sheet, including the aforementioned 11th consecutive title defense.

Borg’s 11 submission attempts in UFC flyweight competition are tied for second most in divisional history behind Louis Smolka (18).

Borg’s victory over Shane Howell at the 2:17 mark of Round 1 at UFC Fight Night 44 stands as the third fastest submission finish in UFC flyweight history.

Borg hasn’t suffered a stoppage loss in his career.

Co-main event

Nunes competes in her ninth UFC women’s bantamweight bout, tied with Miesha Tate for most appearances in divisional history.

Amanda Nunes

Nunes’ five-fight UFC winning streak in women’s bantamweight competition is the longest active streak in the division.

Nunes’ seven victories in UFC women’s bantamweight competition are the most in divisional history.

Nunes’ six stoppage victories in UFC women’s bantamweight competition are tied with Ronda Rousey for most in divisional history.

Nunes’ six first-round finishes in UFC/Strikeforce women’s bantamweight competition are second most in combined divisional history behind Rousey (seven).

Nunes’ four knockout victories in UFC women’s bantamweight competition are the most in divisional history.

Nunes has earned six of her seven UFC victories by first-round stoppage.

Nunes has earned 13 of her 14 career victories by stoppage.

Valentina Shevchenko

Shevchenko can become the first Kyrgyzstan-born UFC champion.

Shevchenko’s two-fight winning streak in UFC women’s bantamweight competition is tied for the fourth longest active streak in the division behind Nunes (five), Raquel Pennington (four) and Sara McMann (three).

Shevchenko has earned 10 of her 14 career victories by stoppage.

Shevchenko has completed at least one takedown against all four of her UFC opponents.

Shevchenko’s lone UFC defeat came against Nunes at UFC 196.

Remaining main card

Neil Magny

Neil Magny’s (19-5 MMA, 12-4 UFC) 12 victories in UFC competition since 2013 are second most in the company behind Donald Cerrone (13).

Magny is the only fighter in modern UFC history to make five or more octagon appearances in consecutive years. He went 4-1 in 2015 after going 5-0 in 2014.

Magny has earned seven of his 12 UFC victories by decision.

Magny’s five UFC victories in 2014 tied Roger Huerta’s record for most octagon wins in a calendar year. Huerta accomplished the feat in 2007.

Magny’s 100 significant ground strikes landed against Hector Lombard at UFC Fight Night 85 stand as the single-fight UFC record.

Magny’s 142 total strikes landed in the second round of his victory against Lombard stand as the third most in a single UFC round.

Rafael dos Anjos

Rafael dos Anjos (26-9 MMA, 15-7 UFC) was successful in his UFC welterweight debut when he defeated Tarec Saffiedine at UFC Fight Night 111.

Dos Anjos is the only Brazilian lightweight champion in UFC history.

Dos Anjos became just the second fighter in history to challenge for a UFC title and win a 50-45 decision on all three judges’ scorecards when he beat Anthony Pettis at UFC 185. Randy Couture also accomplished the feat against Tim Sylvia at UFC 68.

Dos Anjos’ 66-second victory over Cerrone at UFC on FOX 17 marked the fastest stoppage in UFC lightweight title-fight history.

Ilir Latifi (12-5 MMA, 5-3 UFC) is one of two light heavyweights in UFC history to earn two stoppage victories in less than one minute each. Anthony Johnson also accomplished the feat.

Latifi’s fight vs. Cyrille Diabate at UFC Fight Night 37 marked the only bout in modern UFC history to feature no significant-strike attempts by either fighter.

Tyson Pedro

Tyson Pedro (6-0 MMA, 2-0 UFC) had earned all six of his career victories by stoppage.

Pedro has earned one of six finishes from the crucifix position in UFC history. He accomplished the feat at UFC 209.

Jeremy Stephens (25-14 MMA, 12-13 UFC) is 5-5 since he dropped to the UFC featherweight division in May 2013.

Stephens’ 13 losses in UFC competition are the most in company history.

Stephens’ 10 decision losses in UFC competition are the most in company history.

Stephens is one of three fighters in UFC featherweight history to earn a knockout victory stemming from a head kick. He accomplished the feat at UFC Fight Night 32.

Gilbert Melendez

Gilbert Melendez (22-6 MMA, 1-4 UFC) competes for just the third time since December 2014.

Melendez returns to the featherweight division for the first time since August 2005.

Melendez enters the event on a three-fight losing skid. He hasn’t earned a victory since October 2013.

Melendez reigned as Strikeforce champion for 1,135 days (more than three years), the longest title run of any lightweight champion in UFC/WEC/Strikeforce combined history.

Melendez’s 11 victories under the now-defunct Strikeforce banner stand as the most in company history.

Preliminary card

Sara McMann (11-3 MMA, 5-3 UFC) competes in her ninth UFC women’s bantamweight bout, tied with Tate for most appearances in divisional history.

Sara McMann

McMann’s three-fight UFC winning streak in women’s bantamweight competition is the third longest active streak in the division behind Nunes (five) and Raquel Pennington (four).

McMann’s three-fight UFC winning streak is the longest of her career.

McMann’s 14 takedowns landed in UFC women’s bantamweight competition are second most in divisional history.

McMann’s victory at 1:14 of Round 1 marked the second fastest submission in UFC women’s bantamweight history behind Ronda Rousey’s 14-second finish of Cat Zingano at UFC 184.

Henry Cejudo (10-2 MMA, 4-2 UFC) enters the event with back-to-back losses after starting his career on a 10-fight winning streak.

Henry Cejudo

Cejudo is one of three Olympic gold medalists to fight in the UFC, along with Kevin Jackson and Mark Schultz. He accomplished the feat in freestyle wrestling at the 2008 Summer Olympics.

Cejudo is the only Olympic gold medalist to fight in the UFC since the organization was purchased by parent company Zuffa.

Cejudo is the only Olympic gold medalist to fight for a UFC championship in modern UFC history.

Cejudo has earned all four of his UFC victories by decision.

Cejudo has earned his past six victories by decision after he stopped his opponent inside the distance in his first four pro bouts.

Wilson Reis (22-7 MMA, 6-3 UFC) is 5-2 since he dropped to the UFC flyweight division in August 2014.

Wilson Reis

Reis’ two submission victories in UFC flyweight competition are third most in divisional history behind Johnson (four) and John Moraga (three).

Reis’ submission of Hector Sandoval at 1:49 of Round 1 at UFC 201 stands as the fastest submission finish in UFC flyweight history.

Reis’ 28 takedowns landed in UFC flyweight competition are third most in divisional history behind Johnson (49) and Tim Elliott (35).

Reis lands 5.24 takedowns per 15 minutes of fighting in UFC flyweight competition, the highest rate in divisional history.

Sarah Moras (4-2 MMA, 1-1 UFC) returns to competition for the first time since July 15, 2015. The 787-day layoff is the longest of her more than seven-year career.

Luis Henrique (10-3 MMA, 2-2 UFC) has completed at least one takedown against all four of his UFC opponents.

For more on UFC 215, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

FightMetric research analyst and live statistics producer Michael Carroll contributed to this story. Follow him on Twitter @MJCflipdascript.

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MMAjunkie reader predictions: Make your picks for UFC 215 and the championship doubleheader

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We want your predictions for Saturday’s UFC 215 event, which features a championship doubleheader.

Our staff picks feature includes the consensus picks from MMAjunkie readers. Simply cast your vote for each bout below, and we’ll use the official tallies that are registered by Thursday at noon ET (9 a.m. PT).

Those MMAjunkie MMA reader consensus picks will be part of the UFC 215 staff picks we release on Friday ahead of the event. UFC 215 takes place Saturday at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, and the main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

* * * *

Champ Demetrious Johnson vs. Ray Borg

Records: Demetrious Johnson (26-2-1 MMA, 14-1-1 UFC), Ray Borg (11-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC)
Past five: Johnson 5-0, Borg 4-1
Division: Flyweight
Rankings: Johnson No. 1 (and No. 2 pound-for-pound), Borg No. 5
Odds (as of 9/3/17): Johnson -900, Borg +600

Take Our Poll
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Champ Amanda Nunes vs. Valentina Shevchenko

Records: Amanda Nunes (14-4 MMA, 7-1 UFC), Valentina Shevchenko (14-2 MMA, 3-1 UFC)
Past five: Nunes 5-0, Shevchenko 4-1
Division: Women’s bantamweight
Rankings: Nunes No. 1, Shevchenko No. 2
Odds (as of 9/3/17): Shevchenko -120, Nunes -110

Take Our Poll
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Rafael dos Anjos vs. Neil Magny

Records: Rafael dos Anjos (26-9 MMA, 15-7 UFC), Neil Magny (19-5 MMA, 12-4 UFC)
Past five: dos Anjos 3-2, Magny 4-1
Division: Welterweight
Rankings: Magny No. 10
Odds (as of 9/3/17): dos Anjos -200, Magny +170

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Ilir Latifi vs. Tyson Pedro

Records: Ilir Latifi (12-5 MMA, 5-3 UFC), Tyson Pedro (6-0 MMA, 2-0 UFC)
Past five: Latifi 3-2, Pedro 5-0
Division: Light heavyweight
Rankings: Pedro honorable mention
Odds (as of 9/3/17): n/a

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Gilbert Melendez vs. Jeremy Stephens

Records: Gilbert Melendez (22-6 MMA, 1-4 UFC), Jeremy Stephens (25-14 MMA, 12-13 UFC)
Past five: Melendez 1-4, Stephens 2-3
Division: Featherweight
Rankings: None
Odds (as of 9/3/17): Stephens -120, Melendez +100

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For more on UFC 215, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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