DENVER -- It appears UFC female bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes' next title defense will come against a familiar foe.
The defending champ was cageside at UFC Fight Night on Saturday inside the Pepsi Center to witness Peruvian bantamweight Valentina Shevchenko's second-round submission victory over Julianna Pena. The finish came via armbar at 4:29 of the round.
Shevchenko (14-2) suffered a decision loss to Nunes last March but has since rebounded with wins over former champion Holly Holm and Pena. Following Saturday's fight, Nunes entered the Octagon and briefly went back and forth with Shevchenko, who has promised a rematch will look very different than their first meeting.
"I'm sure this next will fight will be a title shot," Shevchenko said. "I'm very excited to take this rematch and take this belt."
A former professional kickboxer, Shevchenko matched up surprisingly well with Pena (8-3) on the floor. She scored several takedowns in the opening round, although Pena did threaten with an armbar at one point. Fighting out of Peru, Shevchenko entered the contest with five career wins by submission, but she is far more known for her technical striking.
Pena didn't give Shevchenko much of a chance to showcase that striking, as she consistently bullied her way into the clinch throughout the fight. She used the position to rack up a striking advantage of 78 to 46, but she struggled in her ultimate goal of taking Shevchenko to the mat.
"Many people before the fight said, 'You are a striker and Julianna is a wrestler -- how are you doing to deal with this?'" Shevchenko said. "Every time, I said, 'Yes, I am a striker but I am an MMA fighter. I am a complete fighter.'"
Pena stole back some momentum in the second round when she converted her first takedown. The 27-year-old got into top position with two minutes left in the round and looked to score points with punches and elbows. She was on her way to winning the round before Shevchenko attacked the arm and rolled Pena over for the finish.
Shevchenko's only loss in the UFC is the three-round decision to Nunes, who took her down and beat her on the floor before fading late. Like Shevchenko, she also has promised a different result in the rematch.
"We will do it again, and I will finish you this time," Nunes said.
Jorge Masvidal upsets Donald Cerrone's welterweight run
The finish came after some controversy in the opening frame. With just seconds remaining in the first round, Masvidal dropped Cerrone with a hard right hand. Cerrone flopped backward to the canvas, where Masvidal swarmed him with punches. Referee Herb Dean appeared to step in and wave the fight before the round ended but ultimately ruled Cerrone was saved by the bell and allowed the fight to continue.
Masvidal, who fights out of Coconut Creek, Florida, looked a little upset about the call, but he got right back to business in the second round. He landed a beautiful left hook to Cerrone's body, followed by a long series of knees from the clinch. Cerrone staggered backward, hurt, and Masvidal dropped him again with the right hand. Cerrone managed to stand back up but could only cover up, which prompted Dean to step in.
The loss snaps a four-fight win streak for Cerrone, a longtime lightweight who moved up to welterweight in 2016. He looked sharp in the first minutes of the fight, peppering Masvidal with kicks to the body and legs, but Masvidal quickly turned the tide behind an effective jab. He out-landed Cerrone in total strikes 54 to 36.
Masvidal, who also is a former lightweight, extends his win streak to three. It is the 13th knockout of his career.
Francis Ngannou makes quick work of Andrei Arlovski
Arlovski, who has now been finished in four consecutive fights, whiffed on an overhand right of his own, which left him vulnerable to Ngannou's counter right. Ngannou caught Arlovski with a grazing left hook first, and then the right hand landed flush. The force of the punch lifted Arlovski's entire body into the air and his eyes rolled back. The finish came at the 1:32 mark.
Ngannou, 30, is now 5-0 in the UFC. Fighting out of France, Ngannou has finished all five of his opponents in the UFC, including four by knockout.
Jason Knight submits Alex Caceres, calls out Korean Superboy
Knight, 24, nearly secured a choke late in the first round but ran out of time. He went right back to work in the second frame, taking Caceres' back in a scramble and locking in a tight body triangle. Caceres did well fighting off several submission attempts before eventually giving up the rear-naked finish.
The win improved Knight's UFC record to 3-1. The Mississippi native called for a fight against "Korean Superboy" Doo Ho Choi.
"I want Korean Superboy," Knight said. "No disrespect to him. That man goes out there and puts on a hell of a show. He's down to fight and I'm in there for the same thing. I'm not here to be the most popular or get paid the most. I'm here to throw down."