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Amanda Nunes vs. Valentina Shevchenko gets top billing at UFC 215

Lance Pugmire, Los Angeles Times on

Published in MMA

Amanda Nunes was sick, pulled out of the July UFC main event as it neared and was told she wouldn't be placed in another showcase for her misdeed.

Two months later, Nunes is back in the main event of UFC 215 Saturday in Edmonton, Canada, as news broke Thursday night that flyweight title contender Ray Borg has withdrawn from his planned headline fight against champion Demetrious Johnson.

Johnson (26-2-1) was bidding to break former middleweight champion Anderson Silva's record for consecutive successful title defenses, and beating No. 3-rated Borg (11-2) would've been Johnson's record-setting 11th straight defense.

Instead, Borg fell ill and, according to a report by MMAfighting.com, was pulled from the card on the orders of UFC doctors. He and Johnson could meet Oct. 7 at UFC 216, a card currently headlined by an interim lightweight title fight between Orange County's Tony Ferguson and Kevin Lee at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

UFC officials did not immediately confirm Borg's withdrawal by press time.

Borg's illness simultaneously redeems and thwarts UFC President Dana White, who was met by resistance from Johnson over White's interest in assigning the champion a more stringent test for the record against former bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw -- the former Cal State Fullerton wrestler now awaiting a Nov. 4 title shot at bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt.

Earlier Thursday, Johnson expressed excitement that "the moment is here," to pass Silva. "Now, I've just got to do my thing. No other champion has been here. I just have to execute."

Instead, Borg's misfortune revives women's bantamweight champion Nunes (14-4), who will meet top-rated contender Valentina Shevchenko (14-2) after their July 8 meeting was scrapped and rescheduled.

Then, Nunes said she followed her coach's suggestion and her own hunch that the sinus illness she suffered with on the morning of her UFC 213 main event in Las Vegas was too severe to fight with, leaving the UFC to offer refunds.

White followed through on his promise to punish Nunes by placing her rematch with Shevchenko under the planned title defense of Johnson, who last fought in Kansas City in a UFC on Fox headliner.

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