As most fight fans know, in the world of MMA, fight cards can change in a matter of minutes. Fights fall through all the time, and unfortunately as we see in the case of UFC 215, this happens more often than we want.
On Thursday, September 7th, the main event of UFC 215, a Flyweight title match between UFC 125 lb. Champion Demetrious 'Mighty Mouse' Johnson and challenger Ray Borg was cancelled. The former co-main event title matchup between UFC Women's Bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes and contender Valentina Shevchenko will now replace the Flyweight title bout as the main event.
The cancellation came after UFC doctors deemed Flyweight Challenger Ray Borg too ill to compete in the match, stating that he needed rest before going through an intense weight cut. Many speculated that Borg's illness came as a result of his weight cut, as he has missed weight in his UFC 207 bout with Flyweight veteran Louis Smolka. He had also been forced to pull out of his UFC 203 bout with MMA veteran and then 125-lb contender Ian McCall, with an illness stemming from his weight cut. However, this time was different, and Ray Borg's nutritionist Dr. Michelle Ingels elaborated on the issue. "It wasn't weight related…Ray has been getting progressively more sick each day this week and still wanted to fight so badly that he put on a game face and went to all of his fight week obligations."
With the removal of the Main event and subsequent replacement, the rest of the card will go on as planned. Women's Bantamweight Champ Amanda Nunes will seek to earn her 2nd title defense since beating Miesha Tate at UFC 200, while challenger Valentina Shevchenko will seek both her 2nd straight win, and to avenge her earlier loss against Nunes while earning UFC gold.
Magny vs Dos Anjos
In the welterweight division, veteran Neil Magny will fight for the first time since late 2016, where he last beat Johny Hendricks by decision, and he will face off against former UFC Lightweight Champion Rafael Dos Anjos who will try to get his second win at 170lbs and continue climbing the ladder. His last win came by way of decision against 170lb UFC vet Tarec Saffiedine.
Latifi vs Pedro
In a Light Heavyweight bout, UFC vet Ilir Latifi will seek to get back into the win column after his KO loss to Ryan Bader, where he faces UFC LHW up-and-comer Tyson Pedro. Pedro himself is riding momentum coming off of a TKO victory over Paul Craig, and a Submission victory over Khalil Rountree, both promising and skilled Light Heavyweight up-and-comers as well.
Stephens vs Melendez
At featherweight, UFC veterans Jeremy Stephens and Gilbert Melendez will square off in a 3 round matchup that has the potential to be one of the more entertaining fights of the night. Both fighters are known for their power and will to stand in the middle of the Octagon and throw leather, and with both men coming off a pair of decision losses, the stakes couldn't be higher for this fight as they both seek to come back with a win in the talented 145lb division of the UFC.
Cejudo vs Reis
Originally a preliminary bout, the 3-round matchup between #2 ranked flyweight contender Henry Cejudo and #5 ranked Wilson Reis, has been moved up to the main card to fill the gap. This is a matchup between two of the flyweight division's most talented grapplers, and the winner of this fight could end up fighting #1 ranked flyweight Joseph Benavidez. In a couple of other important bouts in the prelims, UFC Women's 135lb vet Sara McMann will seek to extend her current 3-fight win streak, as she takes on up-and-comer Ketlen Viera, who is trying to keep her 8-0 record perfect as she most recently comes off of a decision win over skilled and scrappy 135 women's contender Ashlee Evans-Smith. Evans-Smith herself seeks to get back on W column as she takes on former TUF contestant Sarah Moras, who also is coming off of a loss, with both fighters trying to advance in the stacked Women's Bantamweight division. In the earlier prelims, Undefeated Canadian featherweight contender Gavin Tucker will take on American Rick Glenn, and Lightweights Mitch Clarke and Alex White face off to see who will find their 12th win. In the night's only heavyweight contest, Brazilian Luis Henrique will seek to get back into the win column coming off of a TKO loss, as he faces off against Canadian Arjan Bhullar, who makes his UFC debut against Henrique. Also, to kick off the night, veterans Kajan Johnson and Adriano Martins will square off in a lightweight bout.
Overall even with the cancellation, UFC 215 has the potential to be a great card, and the stakes of some of these fights only add to the entertainment.