Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is back on free TV, as the world's largest mixed martial arts (MMA) organization is set to stage UFC on FOX 23, which is set to go down tonight (Sat., Jan. 28, 2017) live from inside Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado. Headlining the card will be an intriguing women’s Bantamweight bout, as Julianna Pena will battle it out against Valentina Shevchenko in what many perceive to be a No. 1 contender eliminator match, though it hasn’t exactly been given that official tag. In the co-main event of the evening, Donald Cerrone looks to stay perfect at Welterweight, as he battles Jorge Masvidal in what could prove to be an exciting stand up affair.
What UFC is on tonight? UFC on FOX 23: "Pena vs. Shevchenko"
Who is fighting tonight at UFC on FOX 23? Julianna Pena vs. Valentina Shevchenko is the headlining bout.
When does UFC on FOX 23 start? Tonight (Sat., Jan. 28, 2017) beginning at 4:00 p.m. ET on UFC Fight Pass.
Where will UFC on FOX 23 take place? Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado.
How can I watch UFC on FOX 23? Main card start time at 8 p.m. ET on FOX. "Prelims" undercard start time at 5 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1, and UFC Fight Pass early "Prelims" start time at 4 p.m. ET.
Where can I get live UFC on FOX 23 updates and results: Get full play-by-play coverage and live updates here!
It seems that every time Pena has a mic in front of her, she’s threatening to quit the promotion if she doesn’t get a title shot ... and soon. And with good reason, as "Venezuelan Vixen" has been on a tear, winning four straight since bursting onto the UFC scene in 2013. And since Ronda Rousey is out of the picture, possibly for good, Pena is in prime position to earn her shot at the strap if she can get past Shevchenko. It won’t be easy, as "Bullet" is on a championship mission, as well, previously taking out ex-division champion Holly Holm.
The Arlovski vs Ngannou Heavyweight match up kind of had me scratching my head for a bit. "The Pitbull" is currently on a three-fight skid, while Francis is riding high with an eight-fight win streak, including four straight finishes inside the Octagon. Form that perspective, it doesn’t make sense. Plus, Francis isn’t exactly a household name, so I would have much rather seen Arlovski — who could be fighting for his job with a loss — battle it out against a fellow long-time veteran, perhaps a Ben Rothwell rematch since they’re both coming off losses.
Original card vs. Actual Card:
A hard-hitting bout between Brad Tavares and Hector Lombard was briefly linked to this event, but the bout never saw the light of day. Lombard was eventually booked to face off against Johny Hendricks at UFC Fight Night 105 on Sun., Feb. 19, 2017, inside Scotiabank Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada (details)
None to really speak of, but Yancy Medeiros was forced to withdraw from his scheduled bout against Li Jingliang for undisclosed reasons and was ultimately replaced by Bobby Nash. John Phillips was pulled out of his Light Heavyweight fight against Marcos Rogerio de Lima and replaced by Jeremy Kimball.
The aforementioned Bobby Nash, Jordan Johnson, John Phillips, Jeremy Kimball Alexandre Pantoja and Eric Shelton will all be making their Octagon debuts on the Fox-televised event. Jordan Johnson brings with him a perfect 6-0 record as a pro, while Pantoja is riding high with an impressive nine-fight win streak.
How The Prelims Look:
Decent, even though they once again do not feature a semi-big name to carry them other than Nate Marquardt. But, his name hasn’t been enough to draw attention for quite some time. And it’s sad, really, as the former Strikeforce champion had the makings of a potential UFC title contender. But, if he can win against Sam Alvey, he could, at the very least, climb himself out of the "Prelims" portion of events. Baby steps. Aljamain Sterling will also return to face long-time veteran Raphael Assuncao in what should be an entertaining scrap.
Who Needs A Win Badly:
Arlovski started his UFC return in great fashion, winning four in a row and was seemingly on the cusp of yet another shot at claiming the 265-pound title. But, the long-time veteran has now dropped three straight, all finishes, to Stipe Miocic, Alistair Overeem and Josh Barnett. At 37 years of age, another loss could be detrimental to Arlovski’s run with the promotion, as four straight defeats won’t look good on the resume when it comes time to start trimming the roster.
Interest Level: 7/10
It’s a pretty good main card, actually. And while the main event should be great, the real fireworks will come in the co-headliner, as Donald Cerrone and Jorge Masvidal are primed to give fight fans one hell of a show. Both like to bang it out on the feet and both aren’t scared to take two to deliver one. On the flip side, it’s s sure-fire recipe for a quick bout, as the possibility of a knockout is around every strike. That said, if the bout manages to go a full three rounds, we could be in for some fireworks.
Also, it will be interesting to see how rising prospect Aljamain Sterling bounces back after having his perfect record snapped in his previous outing. And when you have two heavy hitters like Arlovksi and Ngannou banging it out, someone is more than likely going to sleep.
Full UFC on FOX 23 Card:
UFC on FOX 23 Main Event:
135 lbs.: Valentina Shevchenko vs. Julianna Pena
Other Scheduled Fights (FOX):
170 lbs.: Donald Cerrone vs. Jorge Masvidal
265 lbs.: Andrei Arlovski vs. Francis Ngannou
145 lbs.: Alex Caceres vs. Jason Knight
Prelims (FOX Sports 1)
185 lbs.: Sam Alvey vs. Nate Marquardt
135 lbs.: Raphael Assuncao vs. Aljamain Sterling
155 lbs.: Li Jingliang vs. Bobby Nash
205 lbs.: Henrique da Silva vs. Jordan Johnson
185 lbs.: Eric Spicely vs. Alessio Di Chirico
205 lbs.: Marcos Rogerio de Lima vs. Jeremy Kimball
Prelims (UFC Fight Pass)
125 lbs.: Alexandre Pantoja vs. Eric Shelton
155 lbs.: J.C. Cottrell vs. Jason Gonzalez
Fore more on UFC on FOX 23 click here.