UFC 251: Petr Yan defeats Jose Aldo via TKO (punches)

After champ Henry Cejudo vacated the belt earlier this year, Yan and Aldo compete for the title. Yan most recently stopped Urijah Faber at UFC 245 to climb into contention, while Aldo lost a hotly contested decision to Marlon Moraes on the same card.

Round 1:
The fight began with an exchange of leg kicks and Yan scored with a huge right hand. Aldo was unfazed and he knocked Yan down with a powerful leg kick. Yan stood and Aldo punched to the body. He blocked a head kick, then landed an overhand right and more jabs. Yan connected with an overhand right and Aldo attacked his lead leg with another hard leg kick. Yan landed a right hand and a body kick in the final minute and Aldo shot in for a takedown. Yan reversed it and he dropped punches while standing over Aldo. A punch to the ribs hurt Aldo and he turtled as Yan landed more punches until the bell. 10-9 Yan.

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Round 2:
Both fighters landed leg kicks and right hands in the second round. Yan rushed forward with lunging punches that came up short and Aldo attacked with a leg kick. Yan switched stances to protect his left leg and Aldo kicked to the body. The fighters traded kicks and Aldo punched to the body again. Two left hooks to the liver landed for Aldo and Yan closed out the round with a combination. 10-9 Aldo.

Round 3:
Yan maintained a southpaw stance in round three and he mixed things up with kick-punch combos. A left hand scored for Yan and Aldo responded with two right hooks to the body. He chased after Yan and landed a left hook to the liver and a quick flurry of punches. Yan covered up as he retreated to the cage, but he recovered quickly and both men landed punches in close. Aldo chopped away at Yan’s left leg with kicks and Yan aggressively pressed forward with flurries of punches. Aldo landed a hard left hook to the liver and Yan immediately answered with a one-two to the face. The fighters battled in close and Aldo landed a spinning back elbow late in the close round. 10-9 Aldo.

Round 4:
After a body kick from Yan, the fighters exchanged punches in the fourth round and Aldo landed a hard right hand to the ribs. Yan responded with a quick flurry and both men landed short hooks and uppercuts in close. Aldo avoided a takedown attempt, but he appeared to slow down slightly and Yan kept the pressure on with lunging left hooks and a flurry to the body. He backed Aldo up with a combination to the head and body, then dumped him to the mat. From the top, Yan postured up with punches to Aldo’s face until the bell. 10-9 Yan.

Round 5:
Yan dropped Aldo early in the final round with a left hook and a knee to the body, and he trapped Aldo in a top-side crucifix on the ground. Aldo freed his right arm, but not before eating elbows to the face as Yan looked for the finish. He moved to S-mount and blasted Aldo with hammerfists, then looked to take Aldo’s back. More hammerfists landed for Yan and the fight was almost stopped. A bloodied Aldo rolled over and tried to cover up, but Yan punished him with punches to the face and body. He continued to punch the sides of Aldo’s head until the fight was finally stopped.

Winner: Petr Yan by TKO (Punches) at 3:24 of round five. He improves to 15-1-0 and becomes the new UFC Bantamweight Champion.

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