#1 Valentina "The Bullet" Shevchenko vs #2 Julianna "The Venezuelan Vixen" Pena
The main event begins with the southpaw Shevchenko attempting a combination. She is immediately driven to the fence with a clinch as Pena unleashes knees to the body rather than force a taken down. The Bullet catches one of those knees and sweeps Pena and takes her down.
The two work back to their feet but remain in the clinch and exchange knees to the body, Pena continues landing painful knees continuously but Shevchenko takes her down right after. The Buller now moves to side control and unleashes hard hammer fists. Pena does a good job to pull her opponent back into her guard. Pena tries to stay active on the bottom and keeps hitting Shevchenko despite her position with one minute left on the clock.
Pena attempts an Armbar with seconds remaining and the two fighters are separated as the round finishes.
Pena immediately engages the clinch at the beginning of the second round. However, the Bullet seems to hold her own in the clinch despite it not being her forte. The two fighters continue to contest the fight in the clinch as Pena doesn't allow Shevchenko to use her striking.
The Vixen continues to land knees while pressuring Shevchenko to the fence. However, she isn't able to take her down. Pena continues to push for the takedown and does succeed for a second, but the Bullet gets backs to her feet soon.
Pena finally lands the takedown she has been pursuing in the second round and falls into Shevchenko's guard. With a minute remaining, Shevchenko tries to create distance and attempts to isolate Pena's arm.
She fails initially but finally gets the Vixen's arm and wrist control, which prevents Pena from rotating out as Shevchenko finishes the fight by employing a spectacular armbar from full guard, with 31 seconds remaining in the round.
No one expected the Bullet to book her date with Amanda Nunes like this!
Result: Shevchenko wins by submission via Armbar in Round 2.(4:29)
#5 Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone vs #12 Jorge "Gamebred" Masvidal Masvidal enters to a chorus of boos but seems completely unfazed and has a smile on his face. On the other hand, Cerrone who was born in Denver, Colorado, enters to rapturous cheers and applause as excepted. Cowboy looks like he's in the zone.
Cowboy begins with a feint, which he follows up with a kick to Masvidal's lead leg. Cerrone goes for another leg kick and completes it with a straight. Masvidal looks unfazed and lands a straight of his own. He then lands a counter left that slightly dazes Cowboy. Gamebred steps in again with a straight right that connects. Cerrone sticks to the leg kicks and tries to clinch as Masvidal steps in again.
Masvidal's thigh has begun to welt as Cerrone continues to punish his lead leg. Gamebred attempts a spinning heel kick and then sprawls Cowboy's takedown attempt.
Cowboy continues to employ hard kicks and capitalises on his reach advantage. Cowboy tries to land a combination but Masvidal's boxing seems to be a bit much for Cowboy.
Controversial end to the round as Masvidal catches Cerrone with a hard right that sends him crashing to the mat and Gamebread rains down some ground and pound. Cowboy is lucky that Herb Dean broke the fighters up as the round comes to an end.
Masvidal lands a hook to the body and keeps the pressure by beginning the round where he left off with stellar boxing and excellent angles. After an attempted body kick by Cerrone, Masvidal catches him once more with a hard right that sends Cowboy across the Octagon.
Gamebred finishes Cowboy with thunderous ground and pound.
Alex "Bruce Leeroy" Caceres vs Jason "The Kid" Night Round 1:
The main card kicks off with Caceres coming out aggressive. He attempts a kick to the body which Knight catches. Knight then drives him to the cage but Bruce Leeroy is able to break the subsequent clinch easily. Caceres stays loose and shows off his hand speed, while Knight tries to catch him with a leg kick. The American in the red corner uses his diversity to keep his opponent guessing and constantly uses his reach advantage to stay out of the way. Caceres continues to employ excellent head movement to avoid damage and is eventually driven to the cage.
The clinch is easily defended by the favourite Caceres and the two men continue to test each other on the feet. Jason Knight seems to have a small cut on his forehead but he catches a leg kick and returns with a huge right. Knight sends Caceres flying with a big takedown and ends the round on his back.
Caceres begins where he left off with a teep. Knight continues to catch Caceres' kicks and counters with a big right hand.
A beautiful trip sees Bruce Leeroy on the mat as Knight tightens a body lock and attempts a Rear Naked Choke. Caceres works out of it but cannot escape the tight body lock that Knight has locked in. He continues to rain down huge elbows and attempts the choke once again. This time, however, he gets it far tighter and cranks hard enough to get Caceres to tap.
Result: Jason Knight wins via submission due to a Rare Naked Choke in Round 2. (4:16)
Nate "The Great" Marquardt vs "Smil'N" Sam Alvey Round 1:
The last bout in the UFC FS1 Prelims begins with both fighters very tentative. Alvey lands two leg kicks in quick succession. Marquardt lunges into the clinch and forces Smile'N to the cage. The Great one continues to knee his opponent in the clinch and applies a lot of pressure to the back of Alvey's neck.
Herb Dean steps in and separates the two with 2 minutes remaining in the round. Alvey seems to be content just sitting back and waiting for the ideal counter. He then lunges into no real effect as Marquardt catches him with a leg kick. The American in the blue corner continues to lunge forward and eventually works his way into the clinch as he forces Marquardt onto the cage. Alvey ends the round with a flurry of knees and punches in the clinch.
Alvey feints constantly and begins the round with more offence. Marquardt catches his opponent as he rushes in with a left but continues to remain wary of Alvey's power. The Great one attempts a kick followed by a huge swing and forces Alvey to the cage with a clinch.
The fighters separate and both men seem to rely on single shots instead of combinations. Alvey lands a jab down the middle which his corner applauds.
With 90 seconds to go Alvey has the advantage when it comes to significant strikes. No takedown attempts from Marquardt, who seems happy on his feet waiting for the counter whenever Alvey rushes in. The American in the blue corner does rush in and catches Marquardt with a combination before the round comes to a close.
Marquardt comes out aggressive and swings his right hand, pushing Alvey towards the fence. Alvey attempts another combination as he lunges forward but Marquardt steps out of the way. Nate finally takes Alvey down after the latter lands a few upper cuts. The Great one gets a hold of his opponent's back following a takedown and rains down punches as Marquardt attempts the choke.
Alvey explodes up to his feet as his corner urges him to press. Smili'N forces Marquardt to the cage and punishes him with knees in the clinch. With less than a minute to go the two break the clinch and return to the centre of the Octagon. The round and the fight ends with Alvey landing a straight.
The fighters return to their corners and we go to the judges yet again. Looks like a close fight to score.
Result: Sam Alvey wins by Unanimous Decision. (29-28)
Assuncao starts with leg kicks which are replied immediately by Sterling. The Brazillian lunges in with a big right hand but the American sways away with ease. Leg kicks continue to be the theme of the fight, with Assuncao attempting to launch his big right hand to no avail. Sterling continues to circle with his hands down and gets hit to the groin as the Brazillian goes for an inside leg kick.
The American takes his time to recover and the referee warns Assuncao. The Brazillian restarts the fight with a counter right as Sterling continues to chew away at his opponent's lead leg. Sterling attempts a kick to the body which Assuncao catches. The Brazillian seems to want to attack only on the counter and continues to attempt to close the distance. The round comes to an end after the Brazillian catches Sterling's leg after yet another attempt at a teep and forces him to the cage.
The round starts off with inside leg kicks from both fighters, which leads to Assuncao hitting his opponent's groin again, however, the fight continues with no interruption. Sterling continues to circle and target the Brazilian's lead leg until Assuncao hits him with a counter right that sends the American to the mat momentarily.
Assuncao is slowly beginning to find his range and Sterling seems to be content with pot-shotting from range. The Brazillian continues to catch Sterling's kicks and is yet to be really troubled.
Sterling gets hit with a hard left as he continues to look for a takedown. The American now has a sense of urgency as the clock ticks down and attempts more combination. The Brazillian, on the other hand, seems content to sit back and wait for the ideal counter.
Assuncao attempts an overhand right that grazes Sterling as the third and final round comes to an end.
We go to the judges once more.
Result: Raphael Assuncao wins via split decision. (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Bobby "Nashty" Nash vs Li "The Leech" Jingliang Round 1:
Nash begins the more active fighter with a combination of jabs and leg kicks. Jingliang feigns to the body and then goes for the leg kick. Nash lunges into a clinch and his left hook seems to be getting through. Nash attempts a head kick right after Jingliang attempts a combination.
The Chinese fighter unleashes another combination and a right hand stuns Nash who attempts a takedown in desperation but is stopped from doing so. Nash catches Jingliang with a hard left hook that drives him to the floor and then tries to lock in a rear naked choke. Nash moves to mount as Jingliang tries to defend the choke with 30 seconds left in the round. The American then transitions to mount. Just before the round comes to a close Nash is forced back into half-guard.
Nash begins the round by letting his hands fly and catches Jingliang with a hard punch. The American now looks in control of the fight and continues his crisp striking that seems to be posing Jingliang a lot of problems.
Nash shoots for a takedown as the Chinese fighter swings but they works their way back to their feet and the Leech has his back to the cage. He continues to mount the pressure and plants knees to Jingliang's legs and body. Exhausting work as Nash plants an upper cut before the two men separate.
Nash continues to check leg kicks and counters with his right. Jingliang shoots for a takedown but is easily sprawled and the American lands a combination again when the two men separate. The Leech seems to be on the back foot, however, he plants a crisp right hand and follows it with a left hook that sends Nash crashing to the mat.
Result: Li Jingliang wins via KO in Round 2. (4:45)
Henrique "Frankenstein" da Silva vs Jordan Johnson
Da Silva starts with a leg kick and then works into a clinch, which he completes with knees to the body. The two men separate for a second and clinch again, followed by which the American trips his opponent and takes the fight to the ground. Johnson moves to side control and attempts as Annaconda choke, which he eventually lets go, as the two men are back to their feet.
Johnson feigns jabs to establish his range and weaves under a lazy right to counter with an upper-cut. Da Silva keeps chopping the Americans lead leg down and looks calm despite his opponent's barrage of jabs. Johnson then uses a combination that he works into a takedown and falls into Da Silva's guard. Strong first round for Johnson as the horn blows. Round 2:
The Brazillian starts with a huge overhand right and attempts a kick to the body but is taken down immediately as the American jostles into half-guard. Johnson continues to be heavy on top and rains down punches. The American attempts a Guillotine which he abandons soon and continues to stay heavy as he forced back into full guard.
Da Silva decides to stay with an open guard and attempts a knee bar to create space, which is easily defended by Johnson. The American stomps on his opponent's leg in an effort to take him down again after the Brazillian works his way to his feet. Johnson continues to keep the pressure and the Brazillian and keep him against the cage.
The two separate and Johnson ends the round with a jab.
Johnson starts the round with a takedown and immediately has his opponents back. Johnson stands up as Da Silva seems content to stay on the ground with his hands behind his head. The American jumps into side control and tries to isolate an arm but lets it go. Johnson continues to find his opponent with his fist as he stays heavy on top in side control. Da Silva tries to get to his feet but is taken down yet again but the American, who is displaying great control on top. Johnson postures up and rains down hammer fists to soften the Brazillian. He works back into side control and lands giant elbows. The round ends as Johnson postures up and lands a few last punches in the midst of punches from da Silva.
We go to the judges for this one.
Result: Jordan Johnson wins by unanimous decision. (30-27)
Eric "Zebrinha" Spicely vs Alessio "Manzo" Di Chirico Round 1:
The fighters touch gloves and the fight is underway. Spicely attempts a clinch but is thwarted. He then feigns a punch and attempts a takedown but Di Chirico remains on his feet.
The American continues to pursue the takedown, attempting to trip the Italian. However, Di Chirico gets on top and into full guard. Spicely then works his opponent into a triangle and tightens it by moving his shoulder blades back. This proves far too tight for the Italian who taps almost immediately.
Result: Eric Spicely wins via submission due to a Triangle choke in Round 1. (2:14)
Marcos Rogerio De Lima vs Jeremy "Grizzly" Kimball Round 1:
Kimball begins with a kick and De Lima replies with a leg kick of his own. Kimball rushes in with a one-two and then lands another that forces De Lima to the ground, although it doesn't land clean.
Both men get back to their feet almost immediately as Kimball continues to lunge in. However, DeLima clips him behind the ear as Grizzly rushes in with a body kick and the Brazillian finishes the fight as his opponent goes down, with ground and pound to a chorus of boos.
Result: Marcos Rogerio De Lima wins by TKO in Round 1 (2:27)
Alexandre "The Cannibal" Pantoya vs Eric "Showtime" Shelton
Shelton looks excited and ready for his first bout in the UFC as he makes his way to the Octagon. His opponent, Pantoja walks to the cage with his TUF coach Henry Cejudo by his side and intensity etched on his face. Round 1:
Shelton shoots for a takedown immediately and tests Pantoja's guard. Big statement from the American to begin with. The Cannibal tries to close distance by bull rushing and finishes it with kicks. Meanwhile, Shelton waits for the counter and even connect with a spinning back fist.
Pantoja finally takes him down and now has his back with both hooks in. The cannibal is trying to lock in the Rear Naked Choke as Showtime tries to keep his chin tucked to survive.
Shelton escapes and then goes on to take the Brazillian down with a double-leg of his own. Pantoja kicks the American back to his feet from full guard and the round comes to and end. Round 2:
The TUF contestants pick up where they left off as Shelton puts pressure on the Brazillian, whose back is against the cage. However, Pantoja does a good job and fights off Shelton, who seems to have spent a lot of energy with that. The American lands an uppercut and then a counter left hook.
Pantoja attempts a sloppy takedown and forces Showtime to the cage. Shelton eventually lands a takedown of his own but the two eventually work their way back to their feet. Pantoja shows great defence as Shelton attempts a takedown and pulls guard into a Guillotine. Pantoja lands a combination and follows it with a takedown.
The Brazillian now has Shelton's back and continues to pound away as he works for the choke. Pantoja almost flattens his opponent out, however, Showtime almost fights out. Shelton continues to show heart as the Cannibal ends the round raining shots from above as he switches from his opponents back into mount. Round 3:
The third round begins a little slower as both men look exhausted after two intense rounds. Neither fighter seems to want to take the initiative and the Brazillian tries to cut distance and find range with slightly slower jabs when compared to the first round.
Shelton seems content with hanging back and waiting for the ideal counter as he attempts a spinning back fist that grazes his opponent. With 2 minutes left in the round, both men seem to be content with attempting single punches and the occasional combination.
The American seems to be getting off the quicker counters, however, and repeatedly gets out of harm's way just in time. Shelton shoots for the takedown but he is sprawled. With five seconds remaining the American lands a kick and the round comes to an end.
After a very close fight, we go to the judges for a decision.
Result: Alexandro Pantoja wins via split decision. (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Jason "Nicoya" Gonzales vs J.C "Superstar" Cottrell J.C. Cottrell looks calm, loose and has a smile on his face as he walks out to start off the night. Gonzalez, on the other hand, is the picture of focus as he makes the walk to the cage. Both men look ready to make the most of this opportunity.
Both men start off tentatively, trying to find their range with feigns. Gonzalez begins strong, using his reach advantage with kicks to the body and the head, followed by an uppercut that catches the Superstar. However, Cotrell immediately takes him down and asserts his dominance on the ground.
The Superstar pounds away at his opponent in side-guard as he tries to improve his position. He eventually works his way to an arm triangle, however, Nicoya works his way out to his feet and finally locks in a tight D'arce choke to end the fight.
Result: Gonzalez wins via D'arce Choke in Round 1 (3:54)
Gonzalez says he wants a rematch of his first loss against Drew Dober in his post-match interview.
The UFC returns to The Mile High City, Denver, Colorado on Saturday night for its third event in the city’s Pepsi Centre after UFC 135 and UFC 150.
Valentina Shevchenko and Julianna Pena will meet in the main event with the winner likely to be next in line to challenge Women’s bantamweight champion, Amanda Nunes.
Also on the main card, Donald Cerrone will take on Jorge Masvidal at welterweight and in the heavyweight division, Francis Ngannou and Andrei Arlovski will do battle.
Main Event: Shevchenko vs Pena Shevchenko is an experienced striker, having competed in Muay Thai and Kickboxing at a very high level. Her first MMA fight was all the way back in 2003 but she began taking the sport more seriously in 2013. In her first fight in the UFC she took on Sarah Kaufman on short notice and got the victory.
She then faced current champion Amanda Nunes and lost a decision, although Shevchenko won the third and final round after Nunes began to tire. Last July on Fox, Shevchenko scored the biggest victory of her career when she cruised to a decision win against Holly Holm, countering the former champion consistently with shots as Holm tried to close the distance. Pena won The Ultimate Fighter Season 18 and has compiled a perfect 4-0 record inside the octagon.
She is a suffocating pressure fighter who likes to put her opponents on their backs and throw heavy ground and pound shots while advancing position. Pena will need to get Shevchenko to the ground if she is to pick up the victory. Her aggressive striking game is perfect to be picked apart by Shevchenko’s patient counter striking. If she can get on top of Shevchenko and hurt her with strikes, that could turn the tide in her favour though.
Shevchenko proved she could go for all five rounds against Holm while Pena has never been scheduled for five rounds before. So she is an unknown in that department, making it slightly easier to lean towards Valentina in this one.
Prediction: Valentina Shevchenko via Decision
Co-Main Event: Donald Cerrone vs. Jorge Masvidal
Fan favourite Donald Cerrone is one of the most active fighters in the UFC, fighting as often as 5-6 times in a year. He has also been racking up victories since moving up in weight to welterweight. He has finished Alex Oliveira, Patrick Cote, Rick Story and Matt Brown at this weight class and is quickly soaring towards the top of the division.
Masvidal is an incredibly experienced fighter who fought in Sengoku, Bellator and Strikeforce before making his UFC debut. He is currently on a two-fight winning streak after out pointing Ross Pearson and then stopping Jake Ellenberger in strange circumstances as Ellenberger got his foot caught in the cage fence. Masvidal can do everything well but his best quality is his boxing game.
He is especially adept at landing clean counter shots as his opponent comes forward. This should suit Cerrone, who prefers kicking range. Both men are good grapplers and may cancel each other out in that department so it will come down to who can win the striking battle.
Masvidal will have to work out how to close the distance and stop Cerrone from landing hard kicks from range but Cerrone’s punches have looked much improved in recent outings, especially against Rick Story.
Prediction: Donald Cerrone via Decision
Andrei Arlovski vs. Francis Ngannou
Arlovski is a former UFC champion but his prime was a long time ago. He has a lot of mileage on the clock and it is starting to tell as he is currently on a three-fight losing run.
Even now though, Arlovski is quick and he has a great right hand. It is his main offensive weapon and it packs a lot of power so he is still very dangerous. His chin has deteriorated and now any shot that lands clean to the head has the potential to be a knockout blow, which is not ideal when fighting Ngannou.
Ngannou is a huge athletic heavyweight, he weighs 260 pounds and he looks every bit of it. He burst into the UFC with a scintillating knockout of Luis Henrique and has finished three more fights since then to go 4-0 in the UFC. Although, in all fairness, this will be a huge step up in competition for him.
Ngannou is a striker who moves incredibly well for his size and hits very hard although we are yet to see him tested by someone of Arlovski’s calibre. In his last fight he pulled off a submission over Anthony Hamilton which highlighted his freakish strength and showed that his grappling is improving.
He will need to sharp in the clinch against someone of Arlovski’s experience. While Arlovski certainly has the skills to beat Ngannou, I just don’t trust his durability at this stage of his career and I think Ngannou will land a big shot and take him out.
Prediction: Francis Ngannou via Knockout
Alex Caceres vs. Jason Knight
This should be an exciting featherweight fight. Caceres has a deceptive amount of UFC experience and is a solid fighter. He has a flashy arsenal of kicks from the outside and a good volume punching game based on his movement and speed.
Knight is a great submission fighter with an excellent guard game but he has improved the other aspects of his game tremendously and is on a two-fight winning streak.
These improvements revolve around building a pressure based striking game and he has looked very good in those two wins. I think Knight’s volume will cause problems for Caceres and Knight is too dangerous on the ground for Caceres to want to take him down.
This is going to be a fun and interesting fight either way.