The UFC returned to Denver, the city where they held their first ever event
The main event matched up two of the top women in the UFC’s women’s bantamweight contenders, Valentina Shevchenko and Julianna Pena against each other. In the opening round, Pena, who is known for her grappling, got to the clinch on the striker Shevchenko. Pena controlled the position with knees, but was taking down twice with sweeps by the Russian fighter. Shevchenko landed some hammerfists from in top, but Pena almost locked in a deep armbar as the round ended. Really close round, which Keith Shillan scored 10-9 for Shevchenko.
Pena began the second round with the same strategy that she had in the first round. Pena immediately got to the clinch and landed several knees. She eventually got a takedown on Shevchenko and was controlling her for most of the round, until Shevchenko threw up and armbar attempt and locked Pena’s arm. Pena attempted to scramble out of it, but was forced to tape out, given Shevchenko the second round submission.
UFC women’s bantamweight champion, Amanda Nunes was brought into the cage and had a brief trash talk showdown with Shevchenko as Brian Stann asked both questions. It is expected that Shevchenko will be next to face Nunes for the belt.
In one of the most surprising and weird moments of the night was the matchup between Donald Cerrone and Jorge Masvidal. In a back and forth opening round, Masvidal dropped Cerrone as the round was ending. Cerrone was hurt very bad and looked to be done, but referee Herb Dean jumped in as the bell rang, which saved Cerrone. Cerrone got to his feet, but stumbled back to his corner. The second round began, and Masvidal finished him off by landing a right hand that stumbled Cerrone. Masvidal unloaded a large series of hooks to Cerrone’s body, as he just covered up. While Cerrone was still standing, referee Herb Dean stepped in an stopped the fight. Cerrone did not protest the stoppage.
A very fired up Masvidal offered to bet UFC President Dana White $200,000 that he couldn’t find a welterweight that could beat him during his post fight in the cage interview.
Francis Ngannou entered his contest as the hottest heavyweight prospect, and faced the toughest test of his career, going against former heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski. Ngannou passed the test with flying colors. He landed a right hand early in the fight that sent Arlovski crashing to the floor. As Arlovski was curled up trying to cover up, Ngannou finished him off with punches.
The opening fight of the main card was Jason Knight vs Alex Caceras and it was the break out part for Knight. Knight was able to get multiple takedowns on Caceras, until he was able to lock in a rear naked choke in the second round.
- Rafael Assuncao over Aljamain Sterling by split decision
- Jingling Li over Bobby Nash by 2rd KO
- Jordan Johnson over Eric Spicely over Alessio Di Chirico 1st round submission (Triangle choke)
- Marcos Rogerio de Lima over Jeremy Kimball by 1st round TKO
- Alexdandre Pantoja over Eric Shelton by split decision
- Jason Gonzalez over J.C. Cottrell by 1st round submission (D’Arce choke)