Cer­rone to re­turn to face Masvi­dal

Den­ver’s first MMA promo since 2012

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Nick Groke Nick Groke: ngroke@den­ver­post.com or @nick­groke

Don­ald “Cow­boy” Cer­rone, one of the most ac­tive play­ers in the Ul­ti­mate Fight­ing Cham­pi­onship, got his wish Wed­nes­day when match­mak­ers said he will fight a home­com­ing bout in Den­ver next month for the UFC’s na­tion­ally tele­vised card at the Pepsi Cen­ter.

The Colorado na­tive will take on Mi­ami’s Jorge “Game­bred” Masvi­dal on Jan. 28 as part of the UFC on Fox card, the first ma­jor mixed mar­tial arts pro­mo­tion in Den­ver since 2012.

Cer­rone, who fights out of Al­bu­querque but of­ten trains in Den­ver, is on an im­pres­sive streak since mov­ing up to the 170-pound wel­ter­weight division. He is 4-0 since, in­clud­ing a knock­out vic­tory over Den­ver’s Matt Brown on Satur­day at UFC 206 in Toronto. Cer­rone’s whiplash head kick to Brown’s face in the third round led the ref­eree to stop the fight im­me­di­ately with 34 sec­onds re­main­ing.

Cer­rone quickly shot up the wel­ter­weight rank­ings, mov­ing into the UFC’s No. 5 spot among con­tenders be­hind champion Ty­ron Wood­ley. Cer­rone has fought four fights in a calendar year in each of the last four years.

Af­ter his vic­tory Satur­day, Cer­rone im­me­di­ately lob­bied hard for a Den­ver fight, even though it gives him just seven weeks be­tween bouts to pre­pare.

“If I had to hurry up and choose some­one for Den­ver, it’s who­ever they want to give me,” Cer­rone said Satur­day. “That doesn’t mat­ter to me at all.”

Cer­rone (32-7) last fought in Den­ver in 2012, when he knocked out Melvin Guil­lard with kicks and punches just 76 sec­onds into the match. Cer­rone has lost just four bouts in the more than four years since. And he has won 12 of his past 13 fights.

Masvi­dal (32-11) is com­ing off a TKO vic­tory over Jake El­len­berger on Dec. 3 in Las Ve­gas.

The UFC also added a heavy­weight bout to the Den­ver card: Fran­cis Ngan­nou will take on An­drei Arlovski. The main event, an­nounced last week, will pit Ju­lianna Peña against Valentina Shevchenko in a ban­tamweight bout. Den­ver’s Nate Mar­quardt also will be on the card, fac­ing Sam Alvey at mid­dleweight.

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