Fighters make UFC on FOX 23 picks

Alex Caceres walks away after beating opponent.
Alex Caceres walks away after beating opponent. (Photo Credit: MMA Corner)


UFC on FOX 23 kicks off tonight at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado tonight.

The main event is a women’s bantamweight match-up between Velentina Shevenko and “The Ultimate Fighter,” season 18 winner Julianna Pena. The first female to win TUF, won her last seven bouts.

The winner of tonight’s main event will most likely be named the next challenger to face UFC Bantamweight Champion Amanda Nunez.

In a welterweight clash, Donald Cerrone will fight Jorge Masvidal. In the co-main event, these two former lightweights will look to crack a top five spot in the 170 lbs. division.

Cerrone enters the fight at (3-0) in the division. Masvidal is coming of a first-round TKO win against Jake Ellenberger at the TUF 24 Finale Dec. 3, 2016.

Andrei Arlovski will face Francis Ngannou in a heavyweight match-up.

In the first bout of the main cared, Alex Caceres will face Jason Knight in a featherweight contest.

NJ MMA News asked local and regional fighters from Cage Fury Fighting Championships, Ring of Combat, PA Cage Fight and the UFC about who they have winning in the main card tonight.

Ricky Bandejas (8-1 MMA, 0-0 ROC) ROC Bantamweight:

Valentina Shevchenko, Donald Cerrone, Francis Ngannou and Alex Caceres.

Sergio da Silva (5-8 MMA, 5-3 CFFC) CFFC Bantamweight

Pena by unanimous decision, Masvidal by TKO,  Ngannou by KO and Caceres by submission.

Bradley Desir (9-5 MMA, 3-0 ROC) ROC Lightweight Champion

I’m not a big fan of either Pena or Shevchenkovs, but I think Pena is more well rounded and is able to grind her out. Cerrone vs. Masvidal is a better fight on paper than in actuality. I think Cerrone slows down Masvidal with leg kicks and gets a submission in round two. Arlovski vs. Ngannou should be a quick one. Arlovski hasn’t had a chin in what feels like 10 years. Ngannou via strikes. Caceres vs Knight, Bruce Leeroy needs this one. I think he finds a way to win. Caceres via unanimous decision.

Joe Solecki (2-0 MMA, 2-0 CFFC) CFFC Lightweight

Shevchenko, Cerrone, Ngannou and Carcares.

Shane Burgos (8-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) UFC Featherweight

Gonna go with Pena by decision, love Cowboy, but I think Masvidal is gonna out point him with his boxing. Ngannou by TKO and Carceres by decision.

Brian Kelleher (16-7 MMA, 3-0) Former Ring of Combat Bantamweight Champion

 (Video Credit: Brian Kelleher via Youtube).

Jared Gordon (11-1 MMA, 7-1 CFFC) CFFC Featherweight Champion

Cerrone, Arlovski and Alex (Caceres).

Jimmie Rivera (20-1 MMA, 4-0 UFC) UFC Bantamweight

Pena, Cerrone, Francis (Ngannou) and Alex (Caceres).

Frankie Buenafuente (7-2 MMA, 5-1 ROC) Former ROC Featherweight Champion

Jason Knight via decision, Francis Ngannou via KO, Donald Cerrone via decision and Valentina Shevchenko via decision.

Writing for NJ MMA New since 2011, Connor is passionate about covering local mixed martial arts. He graduated from Temple University’s School of Media and Communications with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. His love for MMA stems from his past as a high school wrestler and jiu-jitsu blue belt. Former UFC fighter Kurt Pellegrino coached Connor in his senior year of high school. He worked as a Rally Sports Desk report for The Philadelphia Inquirer and interned as a sports reporter for the Philadelphia Daily News.