Cerrone to return to face Masvidal
Denver’s first MMA promo since 2012
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.