The UFC goes to Denver Saturday night for its first UFC on FOX event of 2017. Other than it being live and free, here are five reasons you might want to check out this exciting night:
1. Next shot at Women’s bantamweight title
The winner of the main event bout between Valentina Shevchenko and Julianna Pena will have more than just a win on their record. They could earn the next shot the women’s bantamweight title too.
Both Shevchenko and Pena are coming off strong wins, and they will duke it out for a chance to face current champion Amanda Nunes.
2. Aljamain Sterling may bounce back
Aljamain Sterling was about to enter the men’s bantamweight title conversation. That is until he ran into the stifling grappling of Bryan Caraway and suffered the first loss of his professional career.
Sterling has a chance to get back in the win and back in the title conversation with a strong win over veteran Raphael Assuncao on Saturday night. We’ll still have to see how the 27-year-old fighter will bounce back from his first career setback.
He’ll either use it to get better or let the loss define him.
3. Jorge Masdival vs. “cowboy” Cerrone
Former Strikeforce title challenger Jorge Masvidal was very vocal about his desire to fight Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone and will get his wish in front of a hostile crowd in Denver on Saturday.
Masvidal enters the bout ranked seven spots lower than Cerrone but will be the first legit striker “Cowboy” has faced in the division. If “Gamebred” can back up all his talk against the hugely talented and streaking Cerrone, it should serve as a huge boost to not only his standings in the rankings but his career.
4. Heavyweight Contender
Heavyweight prospect Francis Ngannou has a huge opportunity on Saturday night. After winning his first four UFC fights by stoppage, including a kimura lock in his last fight, the UFC has matched the Cameroonian up with former champion Andrei Arlovski.
Arlovski is just outside the heavyweight top five despite three straight losses and his weathered chin leaves him susceptible to Ngannou’s heavy hands. But “The Pit Bull” will, by and large, be the most experienced and decorated fighter Ngannou has faced inside the Octagon and will make “The Predator” prove he’s ready for the best heavyweights in the world.
5. Featherweight Division as hot as it’s ever been
The UFC featherweight division is as hot as it’s ever been. Up-and-comers Alex Caceres and Jason Knight only add to the allure.
Caceres lasted five rounds with Yair Rodriguez before losing a split decision to the top prospect. Caceres proved he could be just as dynamic and high flying as anyone on the roster and deserved to taken seriously in the division.
Just like against Rodriguez, he won’t have to go looking for a fight against Knight. Knight is an aggressive striker with the ground game to match. A ll three of his UFC fights have been very exciting and his style coupled with Caceres’ should make this an interesting fight.