Everything you need to know about the UFC Denver card headlined by dynamic strikers Chan Sung-Jung and Yair Rodriguez.
The UFC’s entire history will begin to feel like a closed loop on Saturday at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado for UFC Fight Night 139. Almost 25 years to the day, a scrawny Royce Gracie recorded three submissions at UFC 1 in Denver to bring national attention to mixed martial arts.
The promotion is celebrating its quarter-century anniversary with fireworks, fronting the bill with Chan Sung Jung (-115) and Yair Rodriguez (-115). Both are whirling strikers. Expect punches and kicks to careen in from from every conceivable angle—and then some.
Following mandatory military service in South Korea and major knee surgery, Jung has competed just once since a losing effort to Jose Aldo in 2013. In February 2017, Jung headlined another show, Fight Night 104, cracking Dennis Bermudez in one round after walking through a handful of thudding overhands.
Rodriguez was met with stiffer competition after UFC brass tried making an example out of him for turning down fights and threatened to terminate his contract. The two parties finally came to terms two weeks ago when the Mexican stylist replaced an injured Frankie Edgar, set to end Rodriguez’s 18-month layoff.
Colorado’s own Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone (+175) joins the polarizing Mike Perry (-210) in chief support of the main event. Cerrone has seen it all in a career venerated for his wars in the WEC and plenty more action in the UFC. But now closer to 40 than 30, winning just once in his last five bouts, a 27-year-old slugger like Perry poses more of a threat than ever to the hometown fighter.
Despite seeing a matchup between flyweight bit players Joseph Benavidez and Ray Borg scrapped, fight freaks will still be treated to one-time women’s featherweight champion Germaine de Randamie (-190), who transitions to the 135-pound ranks against Raquel Pennington (+155). Pennington is returning to the cage for the first time since an unsuccessful bid for gold at UFC 224.
Maycee Barber (-450) and Hanna Cifers (+325) are on the hunt for a title shot of their own as both will make their promotional debut. Company interest is without a doubt in Barber’s corner. The 20-year-old Colorado native has the total package to one day move the proverbial needle after earning her way into the big leagues by way of Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series.
Beneil Dariush (-155) is also dealing with a Contender Series veteran in Thiago Moises (+125), who stepped in on short notice for Chris Gruetzemacher. This is the second fight in a row Dariush finds himself pitted against a UFC debutant. Last time out, it didn’t bode well for the grappling savant as he suffered a shocking KO loss to Alexander Hernandez.
Mike “The Lone Wolf” Trizano (+160) and Luis Pena (-200), otherwise known as “Violent Bob Ross,” kick off the main card on Fox Sports 1 at 10:00 p.m. ET.
Trizano may have won The Ultimate Fighter 27 but his split-decision verdict over Joe Giannetti didn’t win over the same support Pena did. Pena recovered from the foot injury that forced him off the show early and took apart Richie Smullen inside of Round 1, winning by guillotine choke.
FS1 will also be airing the prelims starting at 8:00 p.m. ET:
Amanda Cooper (+130) vs. Ashley Yoder (-160)
Chas Skelly (-115) vs. Bobby Moffett (-115)
Davi Ramos (-1000) vs. John Gunther (+600)
Julian Erosa (+190) vs. Devonte Smith (-240)
And the entire event begins at 7:00 p.m. ET on UFC Fight Pass:
Eric Shelton (-120) vs. Joseph Morales (-110)
Mark De La Rosa (-265) vs. Joby Sanchez (+205)
The flyweights, Shelton and Morales, find themselves in an awkward position after recent news that the UFC plans on folding the entire division.
*All betting lines provided by Bovada.com