The 28-year-old Shevchenko kept her claim as the No. 1 contender for the UFC women’s bantamweight title, as she submitted “The Ultimate Fighter” 18 winner with a second-round armbar in the headliner on Saturday at the Pepsi Center in Denver. Pena (8-3, 4-1 UFC) conceded defeat 4:29 into Round 2.
Valentina, the Kyrgyzstani kickboxer surprised Pena with a pair of takedowns in the first round, with ground-and-pound before evading an attempted armbar. “The Venezuelan Vixen” turned the tables in the second, where she executed a takedown of her own. Pena was happy to strike from there, even as her opponent moved herself into position for the armbar. Shevchenko maintained her grip on the maneuver through a desperate scramble and forced the tapout, likely securing a rematch with reigning UFC women’s bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes.
Jorge Masvidal took care of Donald Cerrone with second-round punches in their welterweight co-main event. Masvidal brought it to a close 1:00 into Round 2, which was probably the most significant victory of his 43-fight career.Neither was afraid of contact, as expected. Masvidal threw a nasty three-punch combination, leveling “Cowboy” in the waning seconds of the first round. He went for the finish, but Cerrone was saved by the bell. Masvidal went after his clearly compromised counterpart at the start of the second, dropped him with an overhand right and met Cerrone with a destructive volley of body blows against the fence after he returned to his feet. That brought it to a close.
Francis Ngannou has continued his ascent on the divisional ladder, as he wiped out Andrei Arlovski with first-round punches in their featured heavyweight pairing. Arlovski, now with a four-fight losing streak, was done 92 seconds into Round 1.
Ngannou stalked and struck. He countered a right hand from Arlovski with a clubbing overhand left and followed it with a short right uppercut. The Belarusian went stiff momentarily and hit the deck with Ngannou in close pursuit. A series of unanswered rights on the turtled Arlovski forced the stoppage.
The 30-year-old Ngannou has won nine fights in a row, all of which were finishes.
Jason Knight submitted “The Ultimate Fighter 12” quarterfinalist Alex Caceres with a rear-naked choke in the second round of their featherweight showcase. Caceres bowed out 4:21 into Round 2, making this his fifth loss in seven appearances.Knight was the aggressor from start to finish. However, Caceres outstruck him for much of the first round, until a high-amplitude takedown, immediate back take and the threat of a rear-naked choke just before the bell changed the outcome of the fight. He ultimately wore down Caceres, snaked his arms in place and coaxed the tapout.