| Fri 07/07/2017 - 23:59 EDT

Nunes vs Shevchenko UFC 213 Picks

Nunes vs Shevchenko UFC 213 Picks

Nunes vs Shevchenko II Fight Card

Nunes burst into the spotlight with a 48-second beatdown of UFC golden girl and former champion Ronda Rousey. Nunes was already the champion also brutalizing Rousey's arch nemesis Miesha Tate in the process. Now, Nunes gets to add to her legacy some more by beating Shevchenko again. The Kyrgyzstani-Peruvian gave Nunes a run for her money just before she fought Tate for the title. Now the fight is longer and the stakes are higher as the multiple-time Muay Thai champion swears to make the rematch different.

Nunes vs Shevchenko UFC 213 Fight Card
Prediction TAKE NUNES (-115) Sports Interaction (SIA)

The popular opinion is the fight ends in two ways: Nunes will win within three rounds or Shevchenko outlasts her to win by decision. Nunes is a notoriously fast starter who has won six of her seven victories via first round stoppage. Training under American Top Team, her coach Mike Brown speaks of her power as a "male lightweight's". No fighter under 145 would be able to her power - except for Shevchenko. And Cat Zingano.  

Both Shevchenko and Zingano survived Nunes's onslaught. Shevchenko had Nunes in trouble in the third but it was too little late. Zingano finished her. The Brazilian has explosive punching power and is equally dangerous from top position as she unleashes vicious ground-and-pound. But despite her striking prowess, her background is in grappling: she is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and a brown belt in Judo. Nunes's MO has been to punish her opponents on their feet then finish them on the ground if and when they try to wrestle.

Shevchenko, likewise is a brilliant striker. She doesn't have Nunes's punching power or explosiveness but she has the experience as a highly-decorated Muay Thai champion. She is also strong in the clinch and has a developing ground game. In her first fight, Nunes caught her with several shots but she survived through toughness and some crafty scrambling. If she is to change her fate, she'll need to minimize the damage from Nunes's initial onslaught. This will be a tall task as she is the smaller fighter here. 

At even odds, Nunes is the bet to make. As champion, she grows only more confident and comfortable. But not to the point of taking Shevchenko lightly. She has now the experience of fighting a southpaw and will make the necessary adjustments with Brown as she'll attack with a more controlled output and have enough to hurt Shevchenko enough to warrant some stoppage within the first three rounds. Shevchenko doesn't have many options but to use her savvy to frustrate Nunes and neutralize her power. The clinch will be the deciding factor.

Best UFC Picks - July 8, 2017

The Yoel Romero and Robert Whittaker fight for the UFC middleweight title could be this night's most popular fight. This puts the striker (Whittaker) against the wrestler (Romero) and in this case, Whittaker (-120) holds a slight edge. The New Zealand-born Australian, like Romero, is undefeated in the division and holds TKO wins over Jacare Souza and Derek Brunson, two strong grapplers who he forced to stand with him. Whittaker may be the division's best striker and has both the power and technique to mangle Romero the way he did Jacare.

Sportsbooks had Romero (-105) as an early favourite but the public has backed Whittaker and for good reason. If Whittaker can shrug off most of Jacare's grappling, he can use a similar plan to do the same to Romero provided he himself doesn't get caught. If Whittaker is getting too pricey, put him in a parlay with another fighter like Rob Font (-375) to sweeten the pot. Font will utilize his reach and crisp striking to deal with Douglas DeAndrade who has solid boxing but at less potency. 

Main Card (PPV, 10 PM ET)

  • Amanda Nunes vs Valentina Shevchenko II (UFC Women's Bantamweight Championship Bout)
  • Yoel Romero vs Robert Whittaker (Interim UFC Middleweight Championship Bout)
  • Curtis Blaydes vs Daniel Omielanczuk
  • Alistair Overeem vs Fabricio Werdum II
  • Anthony Pettis vs Jim Miller

Preliminary Card (TSN 5, 8 PM ET)

  • Travis Browne vs Oleksiy Oliynyk
  • Chad Laprise vs Brian Camozzi
  • Thiago Santos vs Gerald Meerschaert
  • Jordan Mein vs Belal Muhammad

Preliminary Card (UFC Fight Pass, 6:30 PM ET)

  • Rob Font vs Douglas Silva DeAndrade
  • Cody Stamman vs Terrion Ware
  • Trevin Giles vs James Bohnovic

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