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FOX MAIN CARD
Valentina Shevchenko vs Julianna Pena
Donald Cerrone vs Jorge Masvidal
Andrei Arlovski vs Francis Ngannou
Alex Caceres vs Jason Knight
FOX SPORTS 1 PRELIMS
Nate Marquardt vs Sam Alvey
Raphael Assuncao vs Aljamain Sterling
Li Jingliang vs Bobby Nash
Luis Henrique da Silva vs Jordan Johnson
Eric Spicely vs Alessio Di Chirico
Marcos Rogerio de Lima vs John Phillips
FIGHT PASS PRELIMS
Eric Shelton vs Alexandre Pantoja
Jason Gonzalez vs JC Cottrell
There's been stronger FOX cards but this one ain't bad at all. Some really good stuff on there.
Shevchenko vs Pena is most likely a number one contenders match. I'm very interested to see how this one goes.
Shevchenko is 13-2 in MMA and she's coming off the biggest win of her career against Holly Holm in July. She looked great in that fight as well. A lot of people were sleeping on Shevchenko going into that fight and writing her off as a stepping stone fight to build Holm for something bigger. She came in and beat Holm at her own game - counter striking, timing and precision striking. It shouldn't have been a huge shock either. She's got an extensive background as a striker. From Kickboxing to Muay Thai to Taekwondo to Boxing. And she's a black belt in Judo on top of that. Her only UFC loss is to Amanda Nunes but she took Nunes to a decision, which is almost a moral victory in itself. She's nobody to overlook.
Pena is 8-2 and is also coming off her biggest career victory over Cat Zingano at UFC 200. Before that she outpointed Jessica Eye who's also a solid fighter despite her crap UFC record. Where Pena's excelled most in her fights is her takedowns and top game.
So on paper, you'd think there's a clear strategy for both here. It looks like a typical striker vs grappler matchup. Pena will throw on the feet but she's very sloppy in the standup. If she stands with Shevchenko she's going to be outgunned big time. And who knows? With Shevchenko's Judo background maybe she can hang with, or at least nullify, Pena in grappling exchanges. Good fight this, I'm leaning towards Shevchenko.
Cerrone vs Masvidal is this card's ***WAND'S ONE TO WATCH***. Can't really go wrong. Masvidal has been much better to watch since going up to welterweight and Cowboy's Cowboy. Cerrone lobbied hard to get on this card and Masvidal had called him out. Masvidal is coming in off back to back wins over Ross Pearson and Jake Ellenberger. And Cerrone just kicked Matt Brown's head off at UFC 206 in an incredible fight. Can't see any way this doesn't deliver. Both are on top form and both want to fight each other.
Over/under on Arlovski vs Ngannou going past a round? This is the litmus test for Ngannou. Say what you want about Arlovski and he's had some bad losses recently but he's still handy and his striking is always dangerous. I've got a good feeling about Ngannou though. He hasn't fought anyone good yet but he's done what he was supposed to do to the level of guys he has been in with. There's good reason to be optimistic about him, IMO. If Ngannou can beat Arlovski who's a former UFC champion, a big name and a bit of a legend then he's arrived and it's time to pull the trigger and start putting him in big fights. I love Arlovski but I actually hope Ngannou shines here. I like the big lump and fuck knows the Heavyweight division needs him!
Marquardt vs Alvey is a fun fight. Not really sure what Marquardt has left at this stage. If fighter years were measured like dog years, Marquardt would be about 325 now. He's 37 so he's not really that old but he's been around forever. He's had a long ass career. Patchy win one, lose one recent record but he stopped Tamdan McCrory last time out. There's some fight in the old dog yet. And Alvey was mega active in the second half of last year and won his last 3 fights. Could go a few ways with this but I could see it potentially stealing the show.
Assuncao vs Sterling is a cracking fight. It was originally scheduled for the Black Beast Fight Night in December but injuries ballsed it up. I'm glad they rescheduled it though. Although they're both coming off losses this feels like a relevant fight in the bantamweight division to me. I think the winner could get themselves back in the mix pretty quickly if they have an impressive showing here.
Lombard vs Tavares is another good one. Tavares is a tough Hawaiian scrapper but I can't really see him holding up too long to Lombard's firepower. We'll see though. Lombard has been more beatable since USADA came in and he failed that test. Still fun to watch but he doesn't look an unstoppable now. I still think he probably wins this one though. In violent fashion.
Looking forward to this show a lot.
Edited by wandshogun09, 13 January 2017 - 14:04.