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Pena Battles Shevchenko as Underdog

Julianna Pena will have her sights set on a fifth straight victory since joining the UFC in 2013 when she takes on fellow bantamweight Valentina Shevchenko on Saturday in the main event of UFC on Fox 23 as a narrow +105 underdog on the betting lines.

Pena burst onto the UFC scene with a victory at The Ultimate Fighter 18 Finale, dominating Jessica Rakoczy with a first-round TKO victory as a -310 favorite. She takes an 8-2 professional MMA record into Saturday night’s matchup at the Pepsi Center in Denver.

Pena followed up by taking home Performance of the Night honors at UFC Fight Night 63 after ending Milana Dudieva’s night with another first-round TKO as heavy -450 chalk.

But Pena needed the judges’ nod in her past two clashes, claiming unanimous decisions over Jessica Eye at UFC 192 as a -270 favorite and Cat Zingano at UFC 200 as a +145 underdog.

Shevchenko enters the octagon on Saturday as the No. 1 challenger in the UFC women’s bantamweight division and as a -135 favorite on the betting lines. The Bullet is coming off a unanimous decision win over Holly Holm in the UFC on Fox 20 main event, rewarding bettors as a +175 underdog and lifting her pro MMA record to 13-2.

The win over Holm followed a three-round unanimous decision loss to current champion Amanda Nunes at UFC 196 in a spirited fight pegged as a virtual pick ’em at the sportsbooks.


Cerrone Set as Favorite Against Masvidal

In Saturday night’s co-main event, Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone aims for a fifth straight victory inside the distance as he takes on fellow welterweight Jorge Masvidal as -165 chalk.

Cerrone has recorded KO or TKO wins in each of his past three octagon appearances, including a third-round TKO by head kick over Matt Brown as a -285 favorite last month at UFC 206. He has claimed Performance of the Night honors on three occasions during his current win streak.

Masvidal faces Cerrone as a +135 underdog. The Miami native sits at No. 12 on the UFC rankings after posting wins in his last two fights, including an opening-round TKO of Jake Ellenberger at last month’s The Ultimate Fighter 24 Finale.

In other UFC on Fox 23 action, veteran Andrei Arlovski looks to end a three-fight losing streak when he enters the octagon as a +300 underdog against fellow heavyweight Francis Ngannou, who puts his eight-fight win streak on the line as a -400 favorite.

And featherweight action opens the main card, with Jason Knight pegged as -160 chalk against Alex Caceres, who sports +130 odds.

*Odds as of January 26, 2017

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