We're just under two weeks away from Fight Night: Denver, also known as UFC on FOX 23, but the buzz doesn't seem to be there — yet. Somehow, this damn good free card with a potential women's bantamweight no. 1 contender bout, a top ten heavyweight fight and possibly a top 5 welterweight battle is flying completely under the radar.
Thankfully, we have the Road to the Octagon to catch us up with the fighters on the card.
Let's break down some of the action here, with an easy to digest bullet point list.
- Valentina Shevchenko vs. Julianna Pena: Realistically, the winner of this fight will take on Amanda Nunes for the bantamweight title sometime this spring or summer. Shevchenko is ranked no. 1 in the official UFC rankings, and Pena is no. 2, so this fight has a lot riding on it.
- Donald Cerrone vs. Jorge Masvidal: Cerrone is ranked no. 5 while Masvidal is ranked no. 12 with a 2-2 record in his last 4. That said, Masivdal's last two losses come via split-decision to Lorenz Larkin and Benson Henderson. Not bad opponents, and the fight could've gone either way. Cerrone has his hands full.
- Andrei Arlovski vs. Francis Ngannou: This is a new guard/old guard fight. Ngannou is 9-1 with five knockouts and four submissions to his name. He's a monster of a man, and AA has lost his last three fights. Granted, he's lost to Stipe Miocic, Alistair Overeem and Josh Barnett, but he's lost nonetheless. Is his job on the line?
- Alex Caceres vs. Jason Knight: Caceres lost "almost every round" to BJ Penn as his training partner.
Fox Sports 1 Prelims
- Nate Marquardt vs. Sam Alvey: This is Alvey's fourth fight since June of last year!
- Raphael Assunção vs. Aljamain Sterling
- Bobby Nash vs. Li Jingliang
- Luis Henrique da Silva vs. Jordan Johnson
- Eric Spicely vs. Alessio Di Chirico
- Jason Gonzalez vs. J.C. Cottrell
Fight Pass Prelims
- Marcos Rogério de Lima vs. Jeremy Kimball
- Alexandre Pantoja vs. Eric Shelton
So there are a lot of storylines to keep an eye on. This is definitely a show worth watching.