— #UFCDenver (@ufc) January 28, 2017
On Saturday, the UFC returns to FOX with a pivotal women’s bantamweight fight between Valentina Shevchenko and Julianna Pena at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado.
Before a number one contender emerges in the women’s bantamweight division, the UFC provides a stacked undercard with many intriguing matchups. This afternoon, the preliminary action begins on UFC Fight Pass.
The UFC Fight Pass prelims wrap up with a flyweight fight between two contestants on season 24 of The Ultimate Fighter as Alexandre Pantoja fights Eric Shelton in their official UFC debuts.
Shelton landed a takedown in the first 30 seconds of the fight, but Pantoja quickly got back to his feet. Neither fighter was afraid to trade strikes with the other. Pantoja shot for a takedown and managed to take Shelton’s back. Pantoja fought for the rear-naked choke but Shelton successfully defended it. Shelton eventually fought his way to his feet and landed a takedown of his own. Pantoja once again quickly got back to his feet but was taken down again at the end of the round.
Shelton came out aggressive in the second and pushed Pantoja up against the fence. Pantoja fought his way free and began trading shots with Shelton. Pantoja attempted a guillotine choke but Shelton escaped. After failing to secure a second guillotine attempt, Pantoja managed to take Shelton down and took his back. Pantoja locked in a rear-naked choke but Shelton escaped and survived the round.
The third round started with both fighters being more tentative. Both fighters traded punches and kicks for the entirety of the round. Shelton seemed to be the more calm fighter and methodically landed his shots. While Pantoja seemed to throw more strikes overall.
Alexandre Pantoja def. Eric Shelton by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)