Welcome to F4WOnline.com's live coverage of UFC On FOX 23: Shevchenko vs. Pena, emanating from the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado.
The event is headlined by a five-round bout in the women's bantamweight division, which could be a title eliminator bout, as first-ranked Valentina Shevchenko takes on second-ranked Julianna Pena. Shevchenko comes into the fight after winning a convincing decision over former champion Holly Holm in July. Shevchenko's only UFC loss came to current champion Amanda Nunes, a bout in which she was winning late. Pena is undefeated in the UFC, having won four straight, and is coming off a win over former title challenger Cat Zingano.
The co-main event is a welterweight bout that has fireworks written all over it as Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone will square off against Jorge Masvidal. Cerrone has been on fire since moving up to the welterweight division as he has won four straight fights. Masvidal has been calling out Cerrone for a long time, and now he looks to add to his two-fight win streak by derailing Cerrone's quest for a title shot.
Also on the main card is a heavyweight slugfest as former UFC Heavyweight Champion Andrei Arlovski looks to end a three-fight losing skid when he takes on rising heavyweight prospect Francis Ngannou, winner of eight straight fights.
Follow along with our live coverage of the event beginning at 4 p.m. eastern time with preliminary action all the way through the main card.
UFC FIGHT PASS PRELIMS | 4 PM ET/1 PM PT
> Jason Gonzalez (10-3, 0-1 UFC) vs. JC Cottrell (17-4, 0-1 UFC)
Gonzalez rocked Cottrell early but Cottell gained the momentum by scoring a takedown. Cottrell was landing from the top before Gonzalez was able to reverse position and get to the feet. Gonzalez grabbed the neck of Cottrell and was able to lock in a D'arce choke and that was it as he forced Cottrell to tap out! Submission win in the opening bout for Jason Gonzalez. After the bout, Gonzalez called out Drew Dober as he wants to avenge the loss he suffered to Dober in his UFC debut.
Official Result- Jason Gonzalez def. JC Cottrell by submission (D'arce choke) at 3:54 of Round 1
> Alexandre Pantoja (16-2, 0-0 UFC) vs. Eric Shelton (10-2, 0-0 UFC)
They traded early in the round with Pantoja getting the better of it with body kicks. Pantoja was able to take the fight to the mat and worked for the choke from the back before Shelton was able to spin free and get on top. They got to the feet and Pantoja landed a big kick but Shelton got a takedown close to the end of the round. A close first round but I score it 10-9 for Pantoja.
Pantoja was getting the better of the striking but Shelton was always able to reverse into takedowns. Pantoja went for a guillotine at one point but it didn't come close to submitting Shelton. Shelton was able to land a flying knee before Pantoja score a takedown and took over the end of the round as he threatened with submissions from the back. They were pretty even on the striking this round but Pantoja's ground control scored this round 10-9 for him, and I have Pantoja up 20-18 heading into the final round.
The pace slowed down in the third round considerably. That might be a common theme with the Denver altitude tonight. They stood on the feet and were just trading single punches. Neither man was doing much as the cardio was slowing them down. Pantoja was getting the better of the striking though Shelton stood toe-to-toe with him. This was Pantoja's round 10-9 as he was the more effective striker. I have the fight 30-27 for Pantoja. This was a very good fight despite the slower-paced third round. Big mix of scores all over the place in this fight, and Pantoja took the fight on two of the three scorecards to get a split decision. It was definitely a close fight and one that could have gone either way.
Official Result- Alexandre Pantoja def. Eric Shelton by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
FOX SPORTS 1 PRELIMS | 5 PM ET/2 PM PT
> Marcos Rogerio de Lima (14-4-1, 3-2 UFC) vs. Jeremy Kimball (14-5, 0-0 UFC)
Light Heavyweights (de Lima missed weight, coming in at 209.6 pounds)
de Lima landed some big punches early but Kimball was firing back. Kimball tripped inside the Octagon and fell to the mat and de Lima capitalized and started landing monstorous punches from the top before the referee stepped in and stopped the fight. Unfortunate end for Kimball as de Lima gets the early stoppage win.
Official Result- Marcos Rogerio de Lima def. Jeremy Kimball by TKO (punches) at 2:21 of Round 1
> Eric Spicely (9-1, 1-1 UFC) vs. Alessio Di Chirico (10-1, 1-1 UFC)
They traded early on before Di Chirico got a takedown. Spicely locked in a triangle choke and started squeezing tighter and got Di Chirico to tap out. Slick submission win for Spicely in the opening round as he makes quick work. Spicely called out Dan Kelly for a fight in his post-fight interview.
Official Result- Eric Spicely def. Alessio Di Chirico by submission (triangle choke) at 2:14 of Round 1
> Henrique da Silva (12-1, 2-1 UFC) vs. Jordan Johnson (6-0, 0-0 UFC)
Johnson got a big takedown early on and locked in an anaconda choke and had it on deep. Johnson let it go, though. da Silva was looking gassed out early after the choke. Johnson was controlling the pace and landing some big punches as da Silva was missing, and the first round definitely belonged to him after a late takedown. 10-9 first round for Johnson.
Johnson got a huge takedown at the start of the second round. Johnson was completely dominant from the top position landing lots of ground-and-pound. They got to their feet but Johnson was doubling up on his punches as da Silva just looked exhausted. Big round for Johnson as I had it 10-9, and Johnson up 20-18.
Johnson got another takedown at the start of the third. Johnson would get to his feet and the crowd would boo da Silva staying on the mat. da Silva was extremely gassed out. Johnson was landing big from the top and in complete control as the fight went the distance. The most dominant round of the fight for Johnson as that was a 10-8 final round. I have it 30-26 for Johnson. Johnson had a clean sweep on the scorecards, but no 10-8 scores from any of the judges in any round.
Official Result- Jordan Johnson def. Henrique da Silva by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
> Bobby Nash (8-1, 0-0 UFC) vs. Li Jingliang (11-4, 3-2 UFC)
They were trading back and forth and Jingliang rocked Nash with some big punches. Nash had some takedowns defended but he dropped Jingliang with a big left hook and Nash had a rear-naked choke locked in. Jingliang survived to the end of the round but took a beating late. 10-9 Nash in the first round.
Nash rocked Jingliang with a nice combination and went to the grappling and had Jingliang clinched up against the fence. Jingliang got a brief takedown but Nash scrambled up. Jingliang then dropped Nash with a big right hand and one more punch on the ground ended the fight. This was a great fight and a big knockout win for Jingliang.
Official Result- Li Jingliang def. Bobby Nash by knockout (punches) at 4:45 of Round 2
> Raphael Assuncao (#4, 23-5, 7-2 UFC) vs. Aljamain Sterling (#7, 12-1, 4-1 UFC)
There were a lot of feints from Sterling as he was dodging punches from Assuncao. Sterling was keeping Assuncao at a distance with his long reach but Assuncao was able to land some punches. This was a close round as neither did a ton to win the round, but Sterling landing a lot of kicks may have gotten him the round. I have it 10-9 for Sterling.
Strange moment early in the second with a low blow from Assuncao that wasn't called, but he didn't jump on a hurt Sterling. Fans were booing the action in the round as not much was happening. Sterling wasn't throwing any punches in the round and Assuncao was far more active. They went back to trading kicks and the fans were growing restless with the action in this round. They traded leg kicks late. I have round two 10-9 for Assuncao, and it tied up at 19-19.
They were trading and the pace was picking up. Sterling was landing more and keeping Assuncao at good range. The fans were still booing because while the activity picked up a little, it wasn't all that exciting. Sterling started landing more late and threatened with takedowns in the round. Assuncao was missing more. This is a close fight overall. I have round three 10-9 for Sterling, and Sterling winning 29-28 overall, but this one will be interesting on the scorecards. Assuncao took the fight on two scorecards, which seemed like a good call as it was real close.
Official Result- Raphael Assuncao def. Aljamain Sterling by split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
> Nate Marquardt (35-16-2, 13-9 UFC) vs. Sam Alvey (29-8 1 NC, 6-3 UFC)
They had a grueling clinch battle against the fence. Both were switching positions but neither was able to get a distinct advantage. Not a whole lot of action went on and then when the ten-second block sounded, Alvey landed a big knee and came on with a late flurry that likely got him the round. It was really a nothing round for the first 98 percent of it. I have it 10-9 for Alvey.
Marquardt came on with a flurry as Alvey was clearing looking to set up a counter punch, but it was costing him early in this round. Alvey knocked Marquardt down at one point but did nothing to capitalize on it. Marquardt was bleeding from his cheek. Neither man was doing much and the crowd began booing. Alvey landed a good combination at the end of the round. This one was more clear for him. 10-9 Alvey in the second round and I have him up 20-18.
Marquardt got a takedown in the third round and had Alvey planted against the fence in the clinch. He took Alvey down again and was working for the choke. Alvey was able to work back to his feet and was starting to get the edge on the feet with just over a minute left. Neither man did a lot in the last minute before Marquardt landed a combo in the closing seconds. I have round three 10-9 for Marquardt. I have the fight 29-28 Alvey overall. It will come down to how the first round was scored in my eyes. All three judges had the fight for Alvey. Alvey called for a fight against Jack Marshman in his post-fight interview.
Official Result- Sam Alvey def. Nate Marquardt by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
FOX MAIN CARD | 8 PM ET/5 PM PT
> Alex Caceres (12-9 1 NC, 7-7 1 NC UFC) vs. Jason Knight (15-2, 2-1 UFC)
They spent most of the round on the feet and exchanging. Caceres showed good head movement and good overall footwork to keep away from Knight and was more accurate with his strikes. Caceres was winning the round until very late when Knight got a big takedown and had Caceres locked in a rear-naked choke, but the round ended before he could finish. A 10-9 round for Knight.
They were trading back-and-forth again before Knight got a takedown again. Knight was threatening from the back with a choke and punches and had Caceres planted firmly on the mat. Knight got the choke locked in and he forced Caceres to tap! Knight with a big submission win in the second round and he has now won three straight fights. Knight called for a fight against Doo Ho Choi for his next fight.
Official Result- Jason Knight def. Alex Caceres by submission (rear-naked choke) at 4:21 of Round 2
> Andrei Arlovski (#7, 25-13 1 NC, 14-7 UFC) vs. Francis Ngannou (#10, 9-1, 4-0 UFC)
They were trading back-and-forth and then Ngannou landed a big right uppercut that sent Arlovski airborne and down and then Ngannou finished him off with some more punches. A very violent finish by Ngannou, who has shown to be a legitimate threat in the heavyweight division.
Official Result- Francis Ngannou def. Andrei Arlovski by TKO (punches) at 1:32 of Round 1
> Donald Cerrone (#5, #11 LW, 32-7 1 NC, 19-4 UFC) vs. Jorge Masvidal (#12, 31-11, 8-4 UFC)
They were standing and trading early on. Cerrone was landing kicks but Masvidal was landing some punches. Cerrone went for a takedown but it was defended, though he landed a head kick. Masvidal's lead leg was all red from eating the leg kicks from Cerrone. Masvidal landed a big right hand that dropped Cerrone and he landed some punches. Herb Dean stepped in but it happened to be right at the end of the round. Dean said the fight wasn't over and it was the end of the round. Masvidal stole it at the end. 10-9 Masvidal.
Masvidal knocked Cerrone down again and Cerrone got up but Masvidal was landing to the body and Herb Dean stepped in and stopped the fight. Masvidal with the biggest win of his career and that ends Cerrone's undefeated run at welterweight.
Official Result- Jorge Masvidal def. Donald Cerrone by TKO (punches) at 1:00 of Round 2
> Valentina Shevchenko (#1, 13-2, 2-1 UFC) vs. Julianna Pena (#2, 8-2, 4-0 UFC)
Pena got an early clinch and pushed Shevchenko to the fence. Shevchenko swept to a takedown but Pena was able to scramble up and they were back in the clinch. Shevchenko got another takedown into side control. Shevchenko got into the guard and ended the round on top. First round was for Shevchenko 10-9.
It was another clinch battle with Pena having Shevchenko pressed against the fence. Pena got a takedown and was in the full guard of Shevchenko. Pena was doing enough to keep the fight on the mat but Shevchenko was active on the bottom with good defense. Shevchenko got an armbar in from bottom and Pena tapped out! That armbar came out of nowhere and Pena was in all sorts of trouble. Shevchenko likely secured herself the next title shot at Amanda Nunes. Nunes came into the Octagon after the fight and they exchanged words post-fight.
Official Result- Valentina Shevcheko def. Julianna Pena by submission (armbar) at 4:29 of Round 2