UFC on Fox 23: Shevchenko vs. Pena
January 28, 2017
Pepsi Center, Denver, Colorado, USA
The UFC women’s bantamweight division has seen its share of champions over the last year. From its inaugural champion and seemingly unstoppable former champion Ronda Rousey to the champions that followed—Holly Holm, Miesha Tate and now reigning champion Amanda Nunes—it’s time to get ready for a new title contender in that division. Enter Valentina Shevchenko and Julianna Pena at UFC on Fox 23 on January 28.
Shevchenko has held several Muay Thai and kickboxing championship titles and comes to the fight with a 56-2 record in Muay Thai and K-1 fighting as well as a 13-2 professional record in mixed martial arts. Shevchenko, who is currently the ranked at No. 1 in the UFC women’s bantamweight division, defeated former kickboxing and UFC champion Holly Holm via unanimous decision at UFC on Fox 20. Prior to that Shevcheko ended a five-fight winning streak via a unanimous decision loss to current champion Amanda Nunes at UFC 196. The fact that she went toe-to-toe with Nunes for three full rounds and survived is a testament to her talent and fortitude and will serve well as a backdrop if she gets past Pena for a possible title shot at Nunes.
Pena, for her part, comes to the match-up as the No. 2-ranked women’s bantamweight and as the first female winner of The Ultimate Fighter 18. Pena enters the bout against Shevchenko on a four-fight winning streak against opponents Cat Zingano, Jessica Eye, Jessica Rakoczy and Melina Dudieva. Pena is poised for a striking battle with a two-inch reach advantage over her Russian opponent.
Shevchenko’s striking accuracy, at 50%, is a great match for Pena’s 49% accuracy rate. Shevchenko has the edge with striking defense at 64% as compared to Pena’s 48%. In the area of takedowns, Shevchenko’s 47% accuracy rate is lower than Pena’s impressive 67%, but her defense is a striking 70% as compared to Pena’s 29% takedown defense rate. Shevchenko’s KO/TKO rate is nearly even to Pena’s 31% and Pena has a slight edge with wins by submission (48% to Shevchenko’s 38%). With wins by decision, Shevchenko leads 31% to Pena’s 22%.
With skills sets that are so closely matched and both women with a burning desire to catapult themselves to the top of the women’s bantamweight division with the reward being a possible shot at the championship title on the line, you can be sure this fight may just live up to top-billing status.
Main Card Betting Odds:
Julianna Pena (2), 9-2-0, -105
Valentina Shevchenko (1), 13-2-0, -115
Women’s bantamweight title challenger eliminator fight
Donald Cerrone (5), 32-7-0, -155
Jorge Masvidal (12), 31-11-0, +135
Francis Ngannou (10), 9-1-0, -440
Andrei Arlovski (7), 25-13-0, 1 NC, +350
Jason Knight, 18-2-0, -160
Alex Caceres, 12-9-0, 1 NC, +140
Preliminary Card Betting Odds:
Sam Alvey, 29-8-0, -150
Nate Marquardt, 38-16-2, +130
Raphael Assuncao (4), 23-5-0, -140
Aljamain Sterling (7), 12-1-0, +120
Bobby Nash, 8-1-0
Li Jingliang, 11-4-0
Henrique da Silva, 12-1-0
Jordan Johnson, 6-0-0
Light heavyweight bout
Eric Spicely, 9-2-0
Alessio DiChirico, 10-1-0
Jason Gonzalez, 10-3-0
Early Preliminary Card Betting Odds:
Marcos Rogerio de Lima, 14-5-1
Light heavyweight bout
Alexandre Pantoja, 16-2-0
Eric Shelton, 10-2-0
DISCLAIMER: Betting lines documented in this post may be taken from more than one source and may change prior to the fight. As always, know your local, state and national laws before placing any type of bet. MixFighter.com makes no specific recommendations or endorsements toward betting or sites which offer betting or real money fantasy style betting that are mentioned in this article or otherwise. MixFighter.com assumes no legal responsibility for a reader’s interpretation of odds or bets placed as a result of this article. Fighter averages per UFC.com rounded to the nearest whole percentage. Betting lines per 5dimes.eu as of 01/24/17.