Shevchenko Submits Pena, Title Shot Likely
It was perhaps the finish few expected, but the result that ultimately happened — Valentina Shevchenko scored a submission.
And as a result of her submission win, which came over Julianna Pena in the last minute of the second round at the UFC Fight Night event — held at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado — Shevchenko looks to be next in line for UFC women’s bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes.
The fight was primarily a grapplefest, with a lot of focus on the clinch and ground games. While Shevchenko had a good opening round performance, Pena was the one who had an armbar locked in towards the end. Shevchenko, however, managed to survive and get to the second round. Pena got a takedown during the second round, but once Shevchenko saw the opportunity, she scored the transition to counter and lock Pena in an armbar, scoring the tapout.
Following the contest, Nunes entered the Octagon and the two had what appeared to be an amicable, but serious staredown and verbal war. Shevchenko warned Nunes to be careful what she said in case it came back to bite her, but Nunes reminded her she’s the one with the title belt.
Elsewhere on the main card, Jorge Masvidal scored probably the biggest win of his career, earning a TKO win over Donald Cerrone one minute into the second round. Masvidal looked to have gotten the TKO at the end of the first round, but referee Herb Dean ruled that Cerrone was saved by the bell. With Cerrone already looking out of it, Masvidal needed little more time to earn his win.
Francis Ngannou may have scored an early contender for Knockout of the Year, as he finished former heavyweight champion Andrei Arlvoski in just 1:32.
And in the opener, Jason Knight got a rear-naked choke in on Alex Caceres to score a second-round submission win of his own. Following the bout, Knight called out "The Korean Superboy" Doo Ho Choi.
Main Card (FOX, 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT)
Valentina Shevchenko def. Julianna Pena via submission (armbar) (Rd. 2, 4:29)
Jorge Masvidal def. Donald Cerrone via TKO (Rd. 2, 1:00)
Francis Ngannou def. Andrei Arlovski via TKO (Rd. 1, 1:32)
Jason Knight def. Alex Caceres via submission (rear-naked choke) (Rd. 2, 4:21)
Prelims (Fox Sports 1, 5 p.m. ET / 2 p.m. PT)
Sam Alvey def. Nate Marquardt via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Raphael Assunção def. Aljamain Sterling via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
Li Jingliang def. Bobby Nash via KO (Rd. 2, 4:45)
Jordan Johnson def. Luis Henrique da Silva via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Eric Spicely def. Alessio Di Chirico via submission (triangle choke) (Rd. 1, 2:14)
Marcos Rogerio de Lima def. Jeremy Kimball via TKO (Rd. 1, 2:27)
Early Prelims (UFC Fight Pass, 4 p.m. ET / 1 p.m. PT)
Alexandre Pantoja def. Eric Shelton via split decision (29-28. 28-29, 29-28)
Jason Gonzalez def. J.C. Cottrell via submission (d’arce choke) (Rd. 1, 3:54)