The UFC is in Denver and the Pepsi Center as women’s bantamweights No.1 Valentina Shevchenko (13-2-0) and No.2 Julianna Pena (8-2-0) grab the spotlight. It’s being billed as the striker against the grappler and the winner will likely remain a big voice in the title shot conversation with champion Amanda Nunes.
The two have combined to lose only one fight in their last eight contests. “The Venezuelan Vixen” will be looking to take a page from the “Bullet’s” loss to Nunes. But does Shevchenko have some new tricks up her sleeve?
— Valentina Shevchenko (@BulletValentina) January 28, 2017
— Julianna Peña (@VenezuelanVixen) January 23, 2017
Kenai Andrews checks in with his thoughts on the main card.
MAIN CARD 8PM ET/5PM PT
ALEX CACERES (12-9-0, 1NC) VS JASON KNIGHT (18-2-0)
Andrews: Knight has improved since that loss to Kawajiri, but Caceres is his most difficult opponent yet. Bruce Leeroy has lost only against the best, and I think he has the skills to avoid being taken to the mat for the submission.
Andrews Prediction: Alex Caceres via unanimous decision
#7 ANDERI ARLOVSKI (25-13-0, 1NC) VS #10 FRANCIS NGANNOU (9-1-0)
Andrews: Ngannou is a steamroller in the heavyweight division and I don’t see the wiley veteran Arlovski stopping him. This could be the fight that retires “The Pitbull” from the UFC.
Andrews Prediction: Francis Ngannou via TKO
#5 DONALD CERRONE (32-7-0, 1NC) VS #12 JORGE MASVIDAL (31-11-0)
Andrews: Cerrone is on a major beer run and although I love Masvidal, I think the aggressiveness of Cerrone will be the deciding factor. Jorge needs to capitalize off the counters, or it will be a decision win for “Cowboy.”
Andrews Prediction: Donald Cerrone via unanimous decision
#1 VALENTINA SHEVCHENKO (13-2-0) VS #2 JULIANNA PENA (8-2-0)
Andrews: Pena has the aggressiveness and striking to challenge Shevchenko’s Muay Thai and get the fight to the ground. Amanda Nunes has shown that Shevchenko is vulnerable to pressure and Pena will look to do the same, after taking a few initial shots.
Andrews Prediction: Julianna Pena via submission