Valentina Shevchekno made a big statement for title contention at UFC on FOX 23, submitting Julianna Pena in the second round in the event’s featured bout on Saturday in Denver.
Shevchenko applied a firm armbar in Round 2, forcing her opponent to tap at the 4:29 mark of the second frame.
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Pena closed in early to secure a clinch. While there, she landed several knees to the body, but she twice got caught and taken down. With her opponent under her, Shevchenko worked from side control and guard, attempting to land short strikes. Near the end of the round, Pena reversed position and applied rear-naked choke for the near finish before the round’s time expired.
Pena again went to the clinch in the second round, continuing to apply the knee strikes to her opponent’s mid section. But instead of being taken down like she was in the opening round, Pena applied a trip takedown of her own and put Shevchenko on the floor. Working from guard, Pena stayed active with the ground and pound. Shevchenko, however, later transitioned and swung the fight’s momentum in her favor.
Trapping Pena’s arm, Shevchenko shifted her hips and secured an armbar from her back. Pena attempted to step over her opponent and release the hold, but Shevchenko rolled with her and continued applying the grip until her opponent tapped out and brought an end to the contest.
With the win at UFC on FOX 23, Shevchenko puts herself in prime position to get the next shot at UFC bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes. The two have history together, fighting last March at UFC 196 when their bout ended in a unanimous decision. Nunes got the nod and eventually stopped Miesha Tate to gain the 135-pound title.
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