Henry Cejudo has considered himself the greatest combat sports athlete of all-time. He’s the current bantamweight champion but has yet to defend the belt, although he was expected to battle Jose Aldo at UFC 250.
When the UFC returns to normal Cejudo will have a tough road ahead to defend his strap. The bantamweight division has the likes of Aljamain Sterling, Petr Yan, and Cory Sandhagen among others. So, who has the best chance to end “Triple C’s” reign as champ?
Cejudo poses a lot of problems for fighters given his wrestling capabilities. He’s an Olympic champion and has averaged over two takedowns per 15 minutes. Yet, what has been more impressive for the champ is his improved striking. He showed his power in the knockout of T.J. Dillashaw and his cardio and durability against Marlon Moraes.
Yet, there is one person who poses a ton of problems for Henry Cejudo and that is Petr Yan. The Russian is currently undefeated in the UFC with a record of 6-0. He has four impressive wins over Urijah Faber, Jimmie Rivera, John Dodson, and Douglas Silva de Andrade. In his UFC tenure, he also has three stoppage wins including the brutal KO win over Faber at UFC 245.
Why Yan poses so many problems to Cejudo is due to his all-around skill set. Although the Russian has crisp boxing, his grappling is something that is often overlooked. He has an 83 percent takedown defense while also landing 50 percent of his takedowns where he averages 1.73 takedowns per 15 minutes.
Against the bantamweight champ, Yan would look to stand and stuff the takedowns and hurt Cejudo on the feet. The Russian lands an impressive 6.46 significant strikes per minute and goes to the body and head to hurt his foe. Where that will lead to success is the fact that Triple C has a 66 percent striking defense and we saw him get hit hard against Moraes.
If you look at that Moraes fight, where Cejudo had success was in the third round when the Brazilian started to gas. Against Yan, that will not happen as he is a former ACB champion. He went five rounds twice and even in the three-round fights he had in the UFC he never looked gassed and was always the one pushing the pace.
It would no doubt be a very interesting fight where Petr Yan would have the striking advantage. On the ground, there is no doubt Cejudo has the advantage. But, the champion has never won by submission so Yan wouldn’t be in huge trouble. Ultimately, Yan is a tough stylistic matchup for Cejudo and has the best chance to end his bantamweight reign.
Do you agree that Petr Yan has the best chance to end Henry Cejudo’s reign at bantamweight?
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This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 4/13/2020.