Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) was back on free television again, as the world's largest mixed martial arts (MMA) organization staged UFC on FOX 23 last night (Sat., Jan. 28, 2017) live from inside Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado on FOX.
In the headlining act, Valentina Shevchenko earned herself a shot at the women’s Bantamweight title by submitting Julianna Pena in the second round of their 135-pound bout (see it again here).
In the co-main event of the evening, Jorge Masvidal shocked the "Mile High" crowd by knocking out Donald Cerrone in round number two of their welterweight scrap, picking up the biggest win of her pro career (video highlights here). Plus, hard-hitting Heavyweight Francis Ngannou put himself on the map by knocking out longtime veteran Andrei Arlovski in the very first round, picking up his ninth straight win in a row in the process (recap).
Winner: Valentin Shevchenko
Who She Should Face Next: Amanda Nunes
"Bullet" secured herself her first-ever UFC title fight as she will rematch current division queenpin, Amanda Nunes, in the near future. The fearsome striker will now have the chance to get revenge and prove she’s much-improved fighter from their first meeting, which saw "Lioness" hand Shevchenko her first and only loss inside the Octagon. On the flip side, Nunes has improved, as well, so the do-over should be interesting and entertaining.
Winner: Jorge Masvidal
Who He Should Fight Next: Dong Hyun Kim
Masvidal picked up a huge win by taking out fan-favorite Donald Cerrone in the co-main event, as "Cowboy" was ranked" No. 4, while "Gamebred" was sitting at No. 12. While Masvidal can expect to leap into the top 10. But, finding a suitable bout for him could prove difficult. With Carlos Condit still undecided if he’ll fight again and Masvidal having ties with Robbie Lawler at ATT, and Demian Maia waiting in the wings for a title shot, the only fight that remotely makes sense for Jorge would be a matchup against Dong Hyun Kim. Kim is currently riding a three-fight win streak and once the new rankings are released, should be neck-and in the standings.
Winner: Francis Ngannou
Who He Should Fight Next: Ben Rothwell
After beating the breaks off Andrei Arlovski, Ngannou called for a fight against Junior dos Santos. "JDS," however, has bigger fish to fry, as he will be fighting to reclaim the Heavyweight title against current division champion, Stipe Miocic, in the near future. That said, a big man showdown against Ben Rothwell sounds about right. "Big Ben" is sitting comfy at the No. spot, and though he’s coming off a loss, he could provide a stiff test for Francis, and would be a good gauge to let us know just where the big man stands. They both like to bang on the feet, and Ben has proven to be a tough nut to crack via strikes. Ngannou, though, would be more than up for the challenge.
Winner: Jason Knight
Who He Should Face Next: Doo Hoo Choi
Knight asked for the fight after taking out Alex Caceres, and if there is something the promotion likes, it’s fighters speaking up. That said, the fight has all the makings of another barn-burner ala Choi vs. Cub Swanson. Still, it’s a tough and risky matchup for Knight, as he’s on a three-fight win streak while Choi is fresh off a loss. The reward, though, definitely outweighs the risk, as a win for Knight against Choi could catapult him to the next level and into a top 10 ranking.
For complete UFC on FOX 23 results and coverage click here.