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Sports

Shevchenko eyes Nunes

THE WANDERING I - Associated Press

DENVER – Valentina Shevchenko stopped Julianna Peña with an armbar late in the second round Saturday night, establishing herself as the top contender for the UFC bantamweight title.

Welterweight Jorge Masvidal also stopped Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone with strikes early in the second round of their fight at a UFC show in Denver.

Shevchenko (14-2) likely earned a rematch with 135-pound champion Amanda Nunes by beating Pena (10-2), who appeared to win a competitive first round with a few extra strikes.

Shevchenko dramatically ended the fight a few minutes later with an armbar, once the submission move of choice for Ronda Rousey.

Rousey, the formerly dominant bantamweight champion, lost to Nunes in Las Vegas last month. Nunes attended Shevchenko’s victory over Pena, and the champion stepped into the cage afterward to trade barbs with Shevchenko.

“I’m very excited to take (Nunes’) belt, ” Shevchenko said.

Nunes beat Shevchenko by unanimous decision last March at UFC 196, but a rematch seems likely.               

VALENTINA SHEVCHENKO

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