UFC ON FOX 23 LIVE REPORT 1/28: Shevchenko vs. Pena, Cerrone vs. Masvidal, Arlovski vs. Ngannou, Caceres vs. Knight

By Michael Grocke & Wade Keller, MMATorch staff

JANUARY 28, 2017


PRELIM FIGHTS REPORT by Michael Grocke, MMATorch contributor

UFC on FOX 23 is live from the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado. The main event is a title eliminator between Valentina Shevchenco and Julianna Pena. The co-main should be a good one as well with Donald Cerrone taking on Jorge Masvidal in a battle of welterweights.

The four-fight main card rounds out with Francis Ngannou, who will be looking to continue moving up the heavyweight rankings, taking on Andrei Arlovski and Alex Caceres vs. Jason Knight in a battle of featherweights.

Fighters’ MMATorch rankings are included beside their name in the listings.

Early Prelims – Fight Pass

(1) J.C. Cottrell (17-3) vs. Jason Gonzalez (10-3) – Lightweight 155 lbs.

ROUND ONE: Gonzalez comes out and takes center octagon. He misses a head kick. Nice combination from Cottrell. Gonzalez lands a body kick followed by a head kick. Cottrell is hurt, he shooots and scores a takedown. Cottrell in side control. Looks like Cottrell weathered the early onslaught from Gonzalez. Halfway through the round and Cottrell remains in control on the ground. Gonzalez is defending well from bottom. Cottrell looks for a triangle but doesn’t have it. Gonzalez reverses position and immediately has a D’Arce Choke locked in. Cottrell taps quickly.

Result: Gonzalez by submission (3:54 of Round 1 – D’Arce Choke)

Grocke’s Viewpoint: This was both fighter’s second UFC fight so both men will get better. Gonzalez started the fight hot, but lost position mid way through the round. Cottrell made a mistake on top and allowed Gonzalez to scramble out and lock in the arm triangle. A nice submission win for Gonzalez.

(2) Eric Shelton (10-2) vs. Alexandre Pantoja (16-2) – Flyweight 125 lbs.

ROUND ONE: Pantoja takes center octagon. Shelton shoots and scores a takedown. Pantoja kicks off and is up. Center cage. Nice front kick for Pantoja. They trade punches center cage. They trade kicks. Shelton lands and gets out. Kick to the body lands flush for Pantoja. Nice leg kick for Pantoja. Shelton comes back with an uppercut. Shelton with a spinning back fist. Pantoja clinches against the cage and drags Shelton to the mat. He looks for a RNC. He has Shelton’s back and both hooks in. Pantoja lands a few hammer fists. Shelton hand fighting well. Shelton turns into Pantoja and gets out. They scramble and Shelton cores a takedown. Both fighters back to their feet and Shelton shoots again as the round ends.

10-9 Pantoja in a close round

ROUND TWO: Panntoja comes out lands an uppercut. He follows with a front kick. Shelton goes for a takedown but Pantoja fends him off. Back to center. Shelton lands an uppercut and gets out. Shelton lands a counter left hook. Pantoja shoots in sloppily, Shelton reverses and has top control. Pantoja gets back to his feet. Shelton shoots and Pantoja sprawls nicely. Shelton gets the takedown. Shelton lands a big knee. Pantoja is back up. Pantoja lands a combination. He gets a takedown and has Shelton’s back. Pantoja looking for a RNC. Shelton tries to scramble out but can’t make it. Shelton is fighting the RNC choke, he scrambles again and is out as the round ends.

10-9 Pantoja

ROUND THREE: This is a close fight going into the final round. Slow start to this round. Both guys flat footed. Jab lands for Panntoja. They trade punches. Shelton lands a nice left after missing a jab. Pantoja partially lands a head kick. Pantoja goes for a takedown but is stuffed. Pantoja misses a spinning back fist. Nice left hand from Shelton. Both fighters look exhausted. Nice combination from Shelton, Patoja with a nice counter. Shelton lands and gets out. Pantoja keeps waiting for the counter that’s not there. He needs to be more offensive. Pantoja fights off a takedown attempt. Shelton lands a body kick. Pantoja tries to counter as the fight ends.

10-9 Shelton

Result: Pantoja by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

Grocke’s Viewpoint: That was a very close fight. Both of these guys fought extremely well and both can make some noise in the flyweight division. This was a really good fight. 

Prelims – FS1

(3) Marcos Rogerio de Lima (14-5-1) vs. Jeremy Kimball (14-5) – Light Heavyweight 205 lbs.

ROUND ONE: Lima comes out and takes center cage. Leg kick for Kimball. Lima with a leg kick of his own. They trade punches. Nice straight left from Kimball. Kimaball catches the leg and scores a takedown. He’s looking for a heel hook. Lima gets out and both are back to their feet. Lima with a nice counter. Head kick partially blocked from Kimball. Big right hand lands for Kimball. Lima comes back with a solid lag kick. Kimaball slips and gets caught with a big right. Kimball goes down, and Lima pounces. He’s landing huge right hands and Kimball isn’t fighting back. The ref stops it rather quickly.

Result: Lima by TKO (2:27 of Round 1)

Grocke’s Viewpoint: Lima showed some big power when he had Kimball down. He was landinng big right hands and had Kimball in trouble. It looked like a quick stoppage but I can’t fault the ref due to Kimball just covering up and not fighting back. OK, after seeing the replay it was a good stoppage. 

(4) Alessio Di Chirico (10-1) vs. Eric Spicely (9-2) – Middleweight 185 lbs.

ROUND ONE: They come out cautiously.  Spicely shoots in and has Di Chirico pinned to the fence. Spicely has one under hook in. Spicely trips Di Chirico to the mat but Di Chirico ends up on top. Spicely has a triangle in. He’s landing elbows from underneath. The triangle is in tight. It;s over Di Chirico taps.

Result: Spicely by submission (2:14 of Round 1 – Triangle Choke)

Grocke’s Viewpoint: Excellent submission work from Spicely. Di Chirico didn’t mount much, if any offense in this one. 

 (5) Henrique da Silva (12-1) vs. Jordan Johnson (6-0) – Light Heavyweight 205 lbs.

ROUND ONE: da Silva fakes a leg kick. They clinch and break apart. Nice jab from Johnson. They trade punches. They clinch and Johnson gets the takedown with a sweep. da Silva turns and Johnson locks in an anaconda choke. da Silva slips out. Both fighters on their feet. Front kick from da Silva. Jab lands for Johnson. Right hand for da Silva. Big overhand right for Johnson and follows witht a jab. da Silva with two nice knees to the body of Johnson. Leg kick for da Silva. Another one. Combination lands for Johnson. They trade punches with Johnson landing the harder shots. He shoots in and scores the takedown. da Silva tries to pull Johnson into full guard. Johnson lands some ground and pound as the round ends with him in top position.

10-9 Johnson

ROUND TWO: Johnson opens with a jab. He catches a kick from da Silva and takes him to the mat. da Silva in half guard. Johnson landing to the body. Johnson stays heavy on top. da Silva trying to get to full guard. da Silva looks for a Kimura but doesn’t have it. Johnson showing great wrestling here. da Silva tries to roll for a knee bar that’s defended well by Johnson. da Silva works to his feet. Johnson doing damage in the clinch. da Silva trying to break the clinch of Johnson. He pushes off and lands a nice knee. Johnson goes to the body and follows with a stiff jab as the round ends.

10-9 Johnson

ROUND THREE: They trade jabs. Johnson shoots and scores a takedown. da Silva tries to roll through but Johnson keeps the pressure on him. Johnson landing ground and pound. He stands and da Silva stays laying on the mat. Johnson jumps back on him and is in side control. da Silva has no answers for Johnson’s offense. Plus he looks gassed. More ground and pound from Johnson. da Silva tries to get to his feet. Johnson drags him back down. da Silva tries to mount some offense from underneath but there’s nothing on his punches. The round ends with Johnson continuing to land ground and pound.

10-9 Johnson

Result: Johnson by UD (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

Grocke’s Viewpoint: That was a dominant performance by Jordan Johnson in his debut. Outstanding wrestling and ground and pound. Wow.

(6) Bobby Nash (8-1) vs. Jingliang Li (11-4) – Welterweight 170 lbs.

ROUND ONE: Nash comes out with a jab. Nash working the jab early. Li with a leg kick. Nash misses a kick to the head. Li goes with another leg kick. They trade jabs. Inside leg kick for Li. Li lands a leg kick while taking a left hook from Nash. Leg kick for Nash. Both guys throwing hands here. They circle right. Li catches Nash with a big shot. Nash shoots and is stuffed. Back to center. Nash is hurt again and shoots unsuccessfully. Back to center. Li with another leg kick. They trade jabs. Nash lands a big punch that drops Li. Nash pounces, takes Li’s back and has a RNC locked in. Li gets out and Nash moves to mount. Nash landing ground and pound. Nash staying heavy on top of Li as the round ends.

10-9 Nash but can go either way.

ROUND TWO: Nash lands a big combination to open the round. They clinch against the fence. Li pushes off and eats an uppercut. Back to center. Nash lands a strong jab. Li lands a nice counter left hand that hurts Nash. They trade center cage. Nash shoots but can’t finish the takedown attempt. Nash clinches against the fence. The action slows down midway through the round. Ref Martinez warns them to do something. Nah has one under hook in. Li lands a big left as they separate. Back to center. Li with a leg kick. Another leg kick. Li shoots and NNash counters with a whizzer. Back to center. They trade punches. Li with a huge overhand right and Nash is out before hitting the mat. Ref Martinez dives on top of Nash as Li lands two more shots.

Result: Li by TKO (4:45 of Round 2)

Grocke’s Viewpoint:  That was a fun fight! Both guys came out looking to throw hands. Both guys were hurt multiple times in the fight. Li landed landed flush on the side of Nash’s head and he was out. Great job by the ref getting in there before Li was able do more damage. 

(7) Raphael Assuncao #8 (23-5) vs. Aljamain Sterling (12-1) – Bantamweight 135 lbs.

ROUND ONE: Assuncao comes out with an inside leg kick. They trade jabs. Head kick misses for Sterling. Sterling with a kick to the body. They trade kicks. Front kick for Sterling. Head kick misses for Sterling. Assuncao lands a leg kick. jab misses for Sterling. Assuncao lands a nice right hand. They trade jabs. Sterling takes a kick low and time is called. Back to action after a warning for Assuncao. Asssuncao with a nice counter right. Inside leg kick for Assuncao. Sterling with a leg kick. Assuncao lands a big right. Leg kick for Sterling. Fronnt kick misses for Sterling. Assuncao catches a kick and lands a right hand. Leg kick again for assuncao. He blocks a head kick from Sterling. Assuncao with a punch to the body lands flush. They trade punches center cage. Front kick from Sterling. Assuncao tries to close distance and lands a nice right hand as the round ends.

10-9 Assuncao

ROUND TWO: They both miss jabs. Sterling reacts to a kick as if it was low but the ref doesn’t stop the action. Assuncao blocks a head kick. Assuncao lands a right hand. They both miss jabs. Assuncao with an inside leg kick. Assuncao drops Sterling for a moment with a right hand but is back up. Sterling with a combination. Big right for Assuncao. Sterling with a kick to the body. Assuncao looks to be finding his range. Sterling tries to catch a kick and shoot but is stuffed. Back to center. Right lands for Sterling but eats a counter. Superman punch misses for Assuncao. They trade leg kicks. Sterling snaps off a nice jab. They both miss wild right hands. They trade kicks and circle as the round ends.

10-9 Assuncao

ROUND THREE: They trade kicks to open the last round. They both miss right hands. Sterling looking to pressure and lands a right hand. Both guys looking to counter. Leg kick for Assuncao. Sterling shoots and is stuffed. They trade jabs. Sterling with a nice combination. Sterling goes to the body and eats a counter. Assuncao lands another counter right as Sterling looks to shoot. Straight for Assuncao. Left hook for Sterling. He lands two more shots. They trade right hands. Sterling blocks a kick. Sterling misses a combination. They trade kicks. Sterling wwith a front kick. Assuncao lands a leg kick. Sterlinng lands a punch and follows with a kick. They circle as the round ends.

10-9 Sterling

Result: Assuncao by split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)

Grocke’s Viewpoint: Tough fight to score. Assuncao landed more power punches, while Sterling had more volume. It was a tactical fight that didn’t deliver in an exciting way. Nonetheless, this was a big win for Assuncao. Sterling is young and will definitely be back. 

(8) Sam Alvey (29-8, 1 NC) vs. Nate Marquardt (38-16-2) – Middleweight 185 lbs.

ROUND ONE: Alvey opens with a leg kick. Slow start. Leg misses for Marquardt. Marquardt clinches against the fence. He lands a knne to the body. Alvet throwing short punches to Marquardt’s body. Alvey reverses position. They work for position in the clinch. Herb Dean breaks them up. Marquardt with a leg kick. Center cage. Alvey sitting back looking for the counter. Neither fighter doing anything. Alvey lunges forward and misses with a right hand. Center cage and nothing happening. Alvey Rushes in and lands a right and tries for a knee but the round ends.

10-9 Alvey but can go either way

ROUND TWO: Marquardt misses s front kick. A right hand lands fore Alvey. Marquuardt rushes in and lands a nice combination. Marquardt lands a leg kick. Alvey misses a jab. Alvey comes forward and lands a combination. They clinch and Marquardt lands a knee. They separate. Back to center cage. Alvey misses a head kick. Alvey lands a right hand. Nice combination for Alvey. He lands a left hand flush. Alvey starting to land here. Marquardt lands to the body. Alvey lands a jab. Marquardt’s left eye is cut. They trade punches. Combination lands for Alvey. Jab lands. Marquardt lands a right hand as the round ends.

10-9 Alvey

ROUND THREE: Marquardt lands a nice right hand. They exchange jabs. Marquardt goes to the body and lands. Alvey with a left hand. Uppercut for Alvey. Marquardt clinches and looks for a takedown. Marquardt has Alvey’s back. He has both hooks in. Alvey looks to walk up the fence. Alvey turns and explodes up. He lads a big shoot as they stand. Center cage. The action slows. Marquardt tries to clinch. Alvey reverses position. Back to center octagon. The crowd gets restless. Alvey lands a leg kick. Alvey with another leg kick. They trade punches. Marquardt lands a counter left and another one as the round ends.

10-9 Marquardt

Result: Alvey by UD (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Grocke’s Viewpoint: Tough fight to score but the judges got it right. Not the most exciting fight but another nice win for Sam Alvey.

That’ll do it for me, keep it right here for the main card. Follow me on twitter @FightChampBlog

MAIN CARD ON FOX – Report by Wade Keller, MMATorch editor

They went to the Curt Menefee, Daniel Cormier, and Dominic Cruz at the host desk with the Octagon in the background behind them. Menefee said they were live and it is free. He touted the Bantamweight Division as among the deepest in UFC. Cormier said this is not a division where you win a fight and get a title shot anymore. Cruz said this is a great test for Shevchenko because she needs to win this match to get the title shot she wants. Menefee introduced the Twitter poll where you could pick the winner of the main event.

They hosts shifted to Cerrone vs. Masvidal hype. Cruz said Cerrone will be going for a low kick to offset Masvidal’s jab. Menefee put over Ngannou as a top prospect on his way up. Cormier said tonight is his fest into the high level of MMA against Arlovski. He said Arlovski can derail the Ngannou hype train.

-They next threw to Jon Anik and Brian Stann, handling commentary at Octagonside. They talked about Knight and Ceceres, setting the table for the main card opening fight.

-A profile feature aired on each fighter in the opener. Knight said he comes from a small backwoods town in Mississippi. “You have nothing to do. You either hang out at a Walmart parking lot, hang out at a party, or get in a street fight. Living in the sticks, you get tough or you get run over.” Caceres, 28 years old, talked about being a crowd pleaser who does things that he doesn’t even plan for. Knight, 24 years old, said he breaks people down like that. Caseres said he has seen Knight’s previous fights and he doesn’t do anything special that he hasn’t seen before. Knight said he has so much power, he can catch him on his feet and put him to sleep if Caseres gives him a small opening. Caseres said he is like a mosquito and he’ll irritate him from all angles.

(Keller’s Analysis: That’s how you set up a fight between two relatively unknown fighters for a broadcast Fox audience. They clearly defined each personality and style.)

(9) Alex Caceres (12-9, 1 NC) vs. Jason “The Kid” Knight (18-2) – Featherweight 145 lbs.

Caceres is a +125 underdog.

ROUND ONE: They exchanges lefts out of the game. Caceres avoided a takedown a few seconds later. Knight caught a Caceres round kick attempt. Caceres landed an irritating backfirst to the face. When he threw a right roundkick, Knight blocked it and landed a right. No big damage yet. Caceres lived up to his billing of just throwing a wide array of irritating moves while Knight was slightly more selective and powerful with the offense. They each threw low leg kicks. Caceres’s corner cheered for the legkick while shown on a right corner inset on the screen. Caceres stopped a takedown attempt at 3:20. Stann said that was easily defended and might discourage Knight from going for more takedowns. Knight landed a right and Caceres slipped. Caceres threw a high wheel kick and missed. Knight landed a left and Caceres slipped and fell after the impact. Knight landed another right and went for a takedown. He took him down suplex-style and applied a rear naked choke, but Caceres slipped out a second before the horn sounded to end the round.

Analysis: 10-9 Knight. Headed that way anyway, but solidified with the takedown at the end. Nobody suffered any serious damage. Stann said the takedown might have helped Knight steal the round, indicating he thought Caceres  was ahead. But he added it was close.

ROUND TWO: Caceres  landed a left flush early. Knight went for a takedown. It was awkward as Caceres tried to back away but ended up on his back. Knight wrapped his legs around Caceres and went for a rear choke. Caceres defended with Knight on his back against the fence. Knight threw elbows and punches from behind as he looked for openings to submit  Caceres. He finally saw the opening and went for the rear naked choke. t wasn’t under the chin, but  Caceres wasn’t in a good spot.  Caceres slipped free, but ate more elbows and punches. Stann said  Caceres has to choose between eating punches and elbows or blocking the choke. And he eventually did get the rear naked choke applied for the tapoout.

Result: Knight via tapout at 4:21 of the second round.

Post-fight interview: Knight, who dedicated the fight to his dad, kneeled and took the mic and thanked the Lord. He said he was sorry his daddy couldn’t be there to watch him in person. He thanked God. Stann asked who he wants next. He called out the Korean Superboy (Choi Doo-ho). Stann said everyone in the world can agree with that match.

-They showed Christian McCaffrey, a former Stanford Cardinal running back and NFL draft prospect in the crowd.

-They aired a preview of Holly Holm vs. Germaine de Randamie main event at UFC 208.

-A fight preview video package aired narrated by Joe Rogan. After touting Arlovski’s “long and storied career” and saying he has “seen it all,” Rogan called Ngannou “one of the most exciting and terrifying prospects” in theheavyweight division. Ngannou predicted a first round knockout. Arlovski acknowledged he is dangerous and will try to finish him. “That’s why I train hard,” he said. Rogan said a Ngannou win will show he is the real deal, whereas an Arlovski win will show he’s still a serious contender. He said this fight defines what a crossroads fight is. [c]

(10) Andrei Arlovski (25-13, 1 NC) vs. Francis Ngannou #10 (9-1) – Heavyweight 265 lbs.

Ngannou has a 83-77 reach advantage. Arlovski is 37, Nganou 30. Ngannou is a -375 favorite.

ROUND ONE: Stann noted that Ngannou is patient. He brushed Arlovski’s head with a high swinging right. Stann said Arlovski brought in a wrestling coach and he is going to try to keep his distance. Ngannou swung  away and Arlovski backed away. Ngannou then landed a left to the top of Arlovski’s head and then immediately landed a powerful right to the chin and Arlovski went down on his knees. Ngannou jumped all over him and threw a series of punches from behind. The ref stepped in and stopped it after five punches landed from behind to each side of Arlovski’s head. Anik said, “We might be staring at a future heavyweight champion.” Stann said he didn’t even have time tell his Ngannou stories because he finished Arlovski so quickly. Arlovski got up and looked relatively fine, yet disappointed. Stann said he is scary. He said his trainers are having a hard time finding people to challenge Ngannou in any discipline in training camp.

Result: Ngannou via TKO at 1:32.

Post-Fight: Ngannou said this fight was supposed to be a new step to “grow up.” He said he asked for better competition and they gave him a former champion, and he is very happy that he won. Ngannou said his finishing combo wasn’t a strategy, but rather was “just a reflex.”

Analysis: Arlovski’s chin once again just isn’t what it needs to be in order to be a top heavyweight anymore. That said, maybe nobody’s chin can stand up to Nagannou. That remains to be seen… The replay showed that the right, which Stann said wasn’t even his best punch as he was fading away, actually didn’t just KO Arlovski, but actually lifted him into the air and off his feet…

-Poll results: Shevchenko got 55 percent of the Twitter votes as the viewers’ favorite to win.

-Rogan narrated a video package hyping FS1’s “UFC Fight Night” on Feb. 4 featuring “Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung vs. Dennis Mermudez in a featherweight main event. Then the announcers previewed other matches in next Saturday night’s line-up.

-They showed Jorge Masvidal and Donald Cerrone warming up. Masvidal looked nervous. [c]

-A video package aired on Cerrone vs. Masvidal. Masvidal said he can beat anyone on any given day. Rogan said Cerrone is making a case for himself in the Welterweight Division. Cerrone said Masvidal is “pretty good” at jiu jitsu, striking, and maybe wrestling, but he’s betting he’s better than him at all three. Cerrone said Colorado is his home and he isn’t losing there.

(11) Donald Cerrone #5 (32-7, 1 NC) vs. Jorge Masvidal  #11 (31-11) – Welterweight 170 lbs.

Cerrone has a 6-1 to 5-11 neight advantage. Masvidal has a 74-73 reach advantage. Cerrone is 33, Masvidal 32. Both have similar numbers of fights – 39 for Cerrone and 42 for Masvidal…

ROUND ONE: Cerrone threw a leg kick to Masvidal in the first strike seconds in. A loud “Cowboy” chant broke out early. Stann said Masvidal said he believes Cerrone’s body is a weakness so he’ll be aiming for body shots. Stann said Cerrone thrwos tremendous kicks and combos, and he now keeps guys guessing. Cerrone stayed out of range as Masvidal threw early co os. Cerrone countered and landed a left to the face after Masvidal landed a right. Stann said Cerrone didn’t watch any film. He said he depended on his coaches to coach him as needed. Three minutes in they had just stood mid-ring and stayed active, but nobody hurt the other or scored anything too threatening. Cerrone went for a takedown at 3:30, but Masvidal blocked it and then landed a spining backfist. Cerrone absorbed itwithout going down. Masvidal went for a spinning sidekick which pushed Cerrone back a few setps. Masvidal caught a Cerrone round kick. Stann said this is teh fight Masvidal wanted, with Cerrone standing with him and trading. Masvidal then dropped Cerrone with a right and pounded away him. Cerrone was done, but he was saved by the bell as the ref Herb Dean was calling off the fight as the buzzer sounded. Dean started waving his arm to call off the fight, but he said the horn sounded before he started waving his hand.

Greg Jackson tried to talk confidence into a stunned and hurt Cerrone in his corner between rounds. He was all smiles as he said he’s been dropped before, “like, in every fight!” He said he has to move his head. Cerrone repeated it. Jackson said, “We are not losing in Denver. You are not losing today. You get out there and move your head.”

ROUND TWO: Stann said Cerrone has to avoid taking more strikes because “it takes longer than a minute to recover from being dropped like that.” Cerrone looked fine other than a little glassy-eyed. Masvidal threw some knees to Cerrone’s body against the fence. Cerrone moved back to the middle, but looked less than fresh. Stann said Cerrone doesn’t look the same. Masvidal landed left jab and then a few seconds later caught a Cerrone roundkick and then landed a right to the forehead that knocked Cerrone off his feet and several feet backwards against the fence. Cerrone stood, but Masvidal threw a barrage of of body punches. Ref Dean stepped in quickly and stopped the fight.

Result: Masvidal via TKO at 1:00 of round two.

Post-Fight: Masvidal had a few words of respect for Cerrone afterward after slapping his hand. He then cupped his ear to soak up the boos. Cerrone looked as if he wasn’t sure where he was or what hit him. Masvidal was carried around the Octagon on the shoulders of a trainer. Stann said Masvidal won’t be criticized for a lack of aggression in this fight as he had in previous fights. Stann said Masvidal will jump several spots in the rankings on Monday… In the post-fight interview, Masvidal said: “There’s a lot of fake media out there, a lot of b.s. I’m a real fighter. I don’t take social media pictures and all that, that’s why my name isn’t out there. But I kick ass. If you like people who kick ass, then tune in. There are a lot of dudes in this crowd that fight, but when my name gets brought up, they end the call.” He asked Dana White to give him a real fight. “Bring me somebody that can beat me. I’ve got 200K. You can’t find anybody who can beat me. Take me up on the bet, Dana. That’s all I have to say.” Really good post-fight promo from Masvidal to put his personality out there. I understand the importance of social media these days to market yourself, but I respect that he’s not playing that game and just wants to train and fight and live his life, too.

Analysis: That was decisive. Cerrone just looked less prepared and less intense… I’m not sure the fight should have continued after the first round as it was clear Dean was waving off the fight. Regardless of when the horn sounded, Cerrone was hurt and finished there…

-They showed NASCAR driver Kevin Karvick iin the crowd.

-They showed Shevchenko and Pena working out in their respective locker rooms. [c]

-Cruz and Cormier gave their keys to the fight for each of the main eventers. Then Stann and Anik talked about the money moving toward Shevchenko this week after it was a pick ’em before that. Then they threw to a video feature on both main eventers. Great Pena quote here – and take note she didn’t pause or take a breath: “I believe in myself and I believe my skillset is bigger and I’m going to put a bludgeoning on her, I’m going to take her down, and I’m going to have her fighting a brick wall until she gives up and gives me her back and I’m going to choke her unconscious and if I don’t then I’ll just  just beat the breaks (?) off of her with elbows and punches and mounts…

-Entrances: Pena came out to Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy.” No purple in her ring gear, though… Spann said “there is only on and off with her, there are no subtle levels.” He said that was the case in training footage he watched from 2010 and it’s still true. Anik talked about the devastating knee injury that took her out of competition for an extended period of time before her Cat Zigano victory to set up this fight with a title shot at stake… Sound Hound did not recognize Shevchenko’s entrance theme. Sorry… Stann said she is extremely disciplined in everything she does. He said she has a plan A, B, and C and there will never be any panic with her… Pena, the TUF season 18 winner, is a +140 underdog… Bruce Buffer’s full ring entrances aired. Pena got some spirited cheers. Shevchenko got a fair share, also, but not as many cheers from the Denver crowd…

(12) Valentina Shevchenko #2 (13-2) vs. Julianna Pena #3 (9-1) – Bantamweight 135 lbs.

ROUND ONE: The horn sounded 43 minutes into the second hour of the broadcast on Fox… Stann said Shevchenko is a “brilliant counter-striker.” They clinched seconds into the fight. Stann said this could decide who will the fight in terms of indicating who has the advantage in steering the fight her preferred direction. Pena threw some knees to the abdomen in the clinch. Stann said she doesn’t want to stand and strike with Shevchenko, but Shevchenko eventually swept Pena to the ground and gained side control. Stann said Shevchenko isn’t just a striker. Pena got back to her feet and went back to throwing some knees against the fence. Shevchenko against, out of nowhere, took Pena down. Stann said Pena “allowed that to happen” by not adjusting her leverage. A 3:00 Shevchenko threw some hammer fists that got Pena’s attention quickly. Pena went for a late armbar from her back. She flipped her over and was on the verge of maybe getting a better position when the round ended.

ROUND TWO: Anik said between rounds, Pena told her corner she hurt her right shoulder and “urgently told them” to massage it. They locked up and tried to take each other down. Pena tried to muscle Shevchenko down, but Shevchenko remained on her feet. Stann said Pena is dictating that this isn’t a fight where Shevchenko can land her strikes. Pena leveraged Shevchenko down for about one second, but Shevchenko powered back up, all while they were still in the clinch. Stann said judges consider your at a disadvantage if your back is against the fence. Pena finally took Shevchenko at 3:00. Stann said she expended a lot of energy in that round that could cost her later, but she did get Shevchenko where she wanted her. Shevchenko avoided too much damage from the guard. With 40 seconds left, Shevchenko maneuvered Pena into a right armbar attempt. She stretched her out and forced a tap. Anik said that likely assures her a shot at Nunes. Stann said he was speechless because “nobody picked Shevchenko to win the fight that way.” He said she continues to surprise people. Perhaps Pena’s right shoulder injury made her more vulnerable to that.


Result: Shevchenko via tapout at 4:29 of round two.

Post-Fight: They showed Nunes reacting with smiles at the impressive tapout finish by Shevchenko… Stann asked Shevchenko about how she always shows something new in her fight. Shevchenko said she said over and that she is a complete MMA fighter when people suggested Pena would have the wrestling advantage. Shevchenko said she was only focused on this fight in training and it paid off. She smiled and laughed as she said, “It was an amazing training camp and this is the result.” Nunes shook Nunes’s hand. Shevchenko said she is pretty sure that the next fight will be for the title. Nunes said she will finish her and keep her title. Shevchenko told her to be careful with her words because they could come back to haunt her. Nunes said she knows how to beat her. Shevchenko celebrated her win as Nunes walked away. Shevchenko went into a crazy frantic dance routine as her music played… Anik did a prompt sign-off just in time for the local news on the Fox affiliates. That couldn’t have been timed better…

Thanks for joining us for coverage tonight. Thanks to Michael Grocke’s prelims coverage. Check back the rest of the weekend and all week for analysis of this show and a look ahead to next weekend.






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