Valentina Shevchenko vs. Julianna Pena Gets FOX Headlining Slot

December 6, 2016

An oft-rumored bout between top UFC bantamweight contenders Valentina Shevchenko and Julianna Pena is getting main-event treatment.

UFC officials made Shevchenko vs. Pena official on Tuesday, naming it as the headliner for UFC on FOX 23, which is slated for Jan. 28 at the Pepsi Center in Denver.

Valentina Shevchenko - Julianna PenaBoth fighters had been angling for a shot at the title for their next fight, but with Ronda Rousey returning to the Octagon at year’s end, UFC officials was steadfast in offering her an immediate title shot upon her return. Rousey will challenge current bantamweight titleholder Amanda Nunes on Friday, Dec. 30 in the UFC 207 main event in Las Vegas.

Shevchenko (13-2), a former world champion kickboxer, has fought three times in the Octagon. She defeated former Strikeforce champion Sarah Kaufman in her UFC debut, but lost to Nunes in her sophomore effort. After defeating former UFC champ Holly Holm in July, she had hoped for a rematch with Nunes, but she’ll first have to go through Pena to get a chance at the belt.

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Pena (8-2) made her way to the Octagon via the eighteenth season of The Ultimate Fighter. She was a member of Miesha Tate’s team, competing against a team of fighters coached by Rousey. She won the TUF tournament and hasn’t skipped a beat. Pena has since won three consecutive fights, including victories over Jessica Eye and Cat Zingano.

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