It was a back and forth battle between Julianna Pena and Valentina Shevchenko in what many people expect was a title eliminator fight for the women’s bantamweight title, currently held by Brazilian slugger and most recent Rousey killer Amanda Nunes. At the start of the fight, Shevchenko seemed to have the edge with crisp striking and several great takedowns. But at the end of the round Pena showed her gumption by nearly locking in an armbar on her opponent.
The second round continued to see the fight turn Pena’s way, with Julianna muscling Valentina against the cage and taking her down to work her ground and pound. But Shevchenko used that aggression to her advantage, catching Pena in an armbar that she just couldn’t escape from, forcing a tap at 4:29 of round 2.
Valentina Shevchenko defeats Julianna Pena via submission (armbar) at 4:29 of round 2
Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone came into his fight with Jorge Masvidal on a four fight winning streak and talking a big game about a welterweight title shot in 2017. Considering the number of fights he takes every year, he still may earn himself one. But Masvidal set him back a ways tonight, basically beating Cowboy twice in one fight. While Cerrone is far from a wild brawler, Masvidal made him look that way with surgical counter striking that punished Cerrone every time he attacked.
At the end of the first round he caught Cowboy with a combo that dropped him to the canvas. The bell sounded as Jorge swarmed his downed opponent, and there was some serious confusion as to whether the fight had been stopped or time was over. In the end the fight continued for a second round, but Cerrone never managed to recover and just took more damage from Masvidal at distance and in the clinch.
You gotta hand it to Cowboy for toughness — he got dropped again but managed to get back to his feet. Masvidal pinned him up against the cage and unleashed with endless shots to Cerrone’s body until the referee stepped in to stop the fight.
Jorge Masvidal defeats Donald Cerrone via TKO (punches) at 1:00 of round 2
Francis Ngannou proved he’s the real deal by starching Andrei Arlovski effortlessly in just over a minute. While Arlovski has been on a slump he’s still a dangerous opponent for anyone to face. But Ngannou hits so hard that he managed to knock Andrei out moving backwards, an impressive feat regardless of what you think of Arlovski’s chin these days. This fight was a platform to show the world that Francis Ngannou is someone to pay attention to. It will be exciting to see where he stands in the heavyweight rankings a year from now.
Francis Ngannou defeats Andrei Arlovski via TKO (punches) at 1:32 of round 1
You get the feeling that Alex Caceres was set up to be fed to Jason Knight, who looked impressive as he threw Caceres around and effortlessly took his back again and again. Knight threatened with chokes throughout the entire fight, and in the end Caceres wasn’t able to keep fending them off. We’ll have to wait until he faces some tougher competition, but I’m looking forward to seeing Knight fight again.