The first UFC On Fox event of 2017 is upon us and for the second straight event on the network, the women will be taking center stage. The main event is a women’s bantamweight division bout as Valentina Shevchenko faces Julianna Pena. Also, Donald Cerrone will be fighting Jorge Masvidal and former UFC Heavyweight Champion Andrei Arlovski is in action.
UFC Women’s Bantamweight Division Fight
Valentina Shevchenko (13-2-0) vs. Julianna Pena (8-2-0)
Shevchenko has won two of three fights under the UFC banner, defeating Sarah Kaufman and Holly Holm, while suffering a defeat to Amanda Nunes. Pena is currently undefeated in UFC competition, with notable wins coming over Jessica Eye and Cat Zingano. All three of Shevchenko’s fights in the UFC have come over past or current champions, as Nunes is the current UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion, Holm is a former UFC Women’s Bantamwieght Champion and Kaufman is a former Strikeforce Women’s Bantamweight Champion. Pena was the winner of Season 18 of The Ultimate Fighter, where she defeated Jessica Rakoczy in the finals.
Prediction: Pena will come forward and throw or bring the fight to the ground, but Shevchenko is a patient counter striker. Shevchenko picks apart Pena like she did Holm to get another decision win.
UFC Welterweight Division Fight
Donald Cerrone (32-7-0-1 NC) vs. Jorge Masvidal (31-11-0)
Cerrone has been undefeated since moving to the welterweight division, defeating Alex Oliveira, Patrick Cote, Matt Brown and Rick Story. Masvidal will be entering the fight riding a two-fight winning streak, defeating both Jake Ellenberger and Ross Pearson. Cerrone has challenged for the UFC Lightweight Title, losing to then-champion Rafael Dos Anjos at UFC On Fox 17. Masvidal has won three of five fights since moving to welterweight; his other win came over Cezar Ferreira at the Ultimate Fighter 21 Finale.
Prediction: Masvidal has a great boxing game, but Cerrone has great boxing and his kicks have been out of this world lately. Cerrone wins a razor-thin decision in this one.
UFC Heavyweight Division Fight
Andrei Arlovski (25-13-0-1 NC) vs. Francis Ngannou (9-1-0)
Arlovski enters on a three-fight losing streak, dropping fights to Stipe Miocic, Josh Barnett and Alistair Overeem. Ngannou has been undefeated thus far under the UFC banner, defeating Anthony Hamilton, Luis Henrique, Curtis Blaydes and Bojan Mihajlovic. While Arlovski is a former UFC Heavyweight Champion, defeated Tim Sylvia at UFC 51 to win the title, Ngannou has yet to go past the second round as a professional MMA fighter, including two first round finishes in the UFC.
Prediction: Arlovski and Ngannou love to strike, but Ngannou has a huge reach advantage. Ngannou knocks out Arlovski early in the first round.
UFC Featherweight Division Fight
Alex Caceres (12-9-0-1 NC) vs. Jason Knight (15-2-0)
Caceres has only won two of his last six fights under the UFC banner, with those victories coming over Cole Miller and Masio Fullen. Knight will be entering the fight on the strength of a two-fight winning streak, defeating Jim Alers and Dan Hooker. Caceres is coming off of his first main event fight in the UFC, where he dropped a decision to Yair Rodriguez at UFC Fight Night 92. Knight is a former Atlas Fights Featherweight Champion, he defeated Michael Roberts to win the title in 2014.
Prediction: Caceres brings a decent striking game to the octagon, but Knight has a suffocating ground game. Knight gets the decision win here.
Preliminary Card Quick Picks
Sam Alvey over Nate Marquardt
Aljamain Sterling over Raphael Assuncao
Li Jingliang over Bobby Nash
Luis Henrique Da Silva over Jordan Johnson
Alessio Di Chirico over Eric Spicely
Marcos Rogerio De Lima over Jeremy Kimball
Alexandre Pantoja over Eric Shelton
JC Cottrell over Jason Gonzalez