A pivotal matchup of bantamweight contenders will top the UFC on Fox 23 bill in Denver when Julianna Pena meets Valentina Shevchenko on Jan. 28.
Promotion officials announced the 135-pound pairing on Tuesday. UFC on Fox 23 takes place at the Pepsi Center and also includes a middleweight showdown between Hector Lombard and Brad Tavares. The evening’s main card airs on the Fox Network.
Pena has won four straight bouts in the Octagon since emerging from Season 18 of “The Ultimate Fighter.” The 27-year-old Spokane, Wash., resident solidified herself as a top contender with a unanimous decision victory over former No. 1 contender Cat Zingano at UFC 200 on July 9.
Shevchenko has faced a tough road since signing with the Las Vegas-based promotion. She debuted with a split-decision over ex-Strikeforce titlist Sarah Kaufman at UFC on Fox 17 before dropping a three-round verdict to current UFC champ Amanda Nunes in her sophomore outing. “Bullet” got back on the winning path by outpointing former bantamweight queen Holly Holm at UFC on Fox 20 on July 23.