Headlined by a women’s bantamweight bout between Valentina Shevchenko and Julianna Peña , UFC On Fox23 featured a four fight main card with a co-main event of Donald Cerrone versus Jorge Masvidal at welterweight from the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado

Kicking off in the featherweight division, the main card began with Alex Caceres(12-9-1NC) taking on Jason Knight(18-2), with the latter entering the bout as betting favourite

Knight was able to assert his dominance early in the first round, getting the upper hand in the striking exchanges as the fight took place mostly on the feet punctuated by a big slam takedown by Knight as he took round one 10-9, even managing to almost get a rear-naked choke submission but the end of the round saved Caceres

The fight came to an end in the second round though, as after securing a takedown Knight was able to get another rear-naked choke and this time Caceres had no choice but to tap as Knight picked up the submission win at 4:21 of the second round

Focus then shifted to the heavyweight division, as former divisional champion and veteran Andrei Arlovski(25-13-1NC, #7HW) took fast-rising and much-hyped Francis Ngannou(9-1, #10HW)

As expected, the fight took place entirely on the feet and didn’t last long, as after a minute of tentativeness on both fighters part, Ngannou landed a big left hook counter that dropped Arlovski after which Ngannou landed a few more ground and pound punches before the referee stepped in and stopped the bout at 1:32 of the first round as the African fighter bagged the TKO win and extended his winning streak to nine

In the welterweight co-main event, Donald Cerrone(32-7-1NC, #5WW) was looking to edge closer to a championship fight as he took on Jorge Masvidal(31-11, #12WW)), with Cerrone the better favourite heading into the fight

Masvidal was able to utilise his superior boxing in the first round, particularly his jab, while Cerrone was able to effectively counter with multiple leg kicks, however with just a few seconds left in the round Masvidal landed a great right and left hook combination that dropped Cerrone who appeared to have suffered a flash knockout, though the end of the round saved him

Cerrone couldn’t survive long in the second round though, as just one minute into the round Masvidal caught a body-kick by Cerrone and landed a big counter overhand right that dropped Cerrone and despite being able to get back to his feet Cerrone took some brutal body punches before referee Herb Dean stepped in and waved off the fight for what is Masvidal’s biggest win of his career

A five round women’s bantamweight bout headlined the event, as Julianna Peña(9-2, #2WBW) took on Valentina Shevchenko(13-2-#1WBW) with the winner likely being next in line for a championship fight next time out

Securing two takedowns within the first three minutes, Shevchenko was able to dominate early and control Peña on the ground with the first round taking place in the clinch against the fence and on the ground, as Shevchenko took the first round 10-9

Peña was able to have more success in the second round, as after getting the advantage in the clinch against the fence she was able to complete two takedowns, however it was all for nothing as after securing the second takedown and after spending several minutes trying to land ground and pound shots Peña left herself open to an armbar which Shevchenko was able to full apply and got the tap out from Peña at 4:29 of the round

With the win Shevchenko bagged a bantamweight championship bout next time out against reigning champion Amanda Nunes sometime later this year, possibly in the summer

By Matthew Singh-Dosanjh