Pena vs. Shevchenko Headlines UFC Denver
The next contender in the women’s bantamweight division may be decided on Jan. 28.
Julianna Pena and Valentina Shevchenko will fight in the main event of the UFC Fight Night event at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado. FOXSports.com first reported the news.
Shevchenko (15-2) last fought in July, when she upset former bantamweight champion Holly Holm in a five-round main event in Chicago. That brought her overall UFC record to 2-1, with her only loss coming to current champion Amanda Nunes. Shevchenko lost to Nunes at UFC 196 in March, but battled back late in the fight to put Nunes in trouble in the final round.
Pena (8-2) won The Ultimate Fighter 18, becoming the first woman to win the long-running tournament. She has been undefeated in the UFC since then, winning all four of her UFC bouts including a UFC 200 victory over Cat Zingano.
After her UFC 200 victory, Pena called for the next title shot at new champion Amanda Nunes. She had been reportedly offered a fight with Shevchenko at UFC 205 in November, but chose rather to continue lobbying for a shot at the championship. To Pena’s frustration, former champion Ronda Rousey was given the next title shot.
If Pena can get past Shevchenko, she will cement her status as the most worthy challenger to whoever emerges victorious from UFC 207’s main event between Nunes and Rousey.