In the main event earlier tonight (Sat., Jan. 28, 2017) at UFC on FOX 23 live on FOX from inside Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado, surging women’s bantamweight contenders Valentina Shevchenko and Julianna Pena battled it out for the right to challenge current champion Amanda Nunes sometime in 2017. Both fighters represent the future class of elite title threats in the 135-pound division and were looking to separate from the rest of the pack.
As many expected, Pena looked to tie it up early, taking Shevchenko’s elite striking away and forcing her to fight dirty. However, “Bullet” waited for Pena to throw knees inside and took “The Venezuelan Vixen” down on multiple occasions. Once there, Shevchenko was able to land reasonable ground-and-pound and give Pena a taste of her own medicine. Pena would throw up an arm bar attempt but the Russian defended nicely.
It was much of the same in Round 2 as Pena pressed the action along the cage, but she was finally able to land a takedown and score some points from top position. But after giving up her arm, Pena found herself defending a tight arm bar attempt by Shevchenko. Once Shevchenko stretched out and cranked Pena’s arm, there was nothing left to do but tap.
The full video highlights can be seen above courtesy of UFC.
With this win, Shevchenko surely locks up a title shot opposite Nunes. The two fought before early last year, but both fighters have evolved immensely since that meeting. Nobody thought Shevchenko would win this bout via submission, seeing that Pena is a stud on the ground, but the Russian striker continues to show improvements as she gets more comfortable inside of the Octagon.
For complete UFC on FOX 23 results and coverage click here.