Former two-time featherweight champion Jose Aldo dropped down to the bantamweight division in his last outing at UFC 245 in December losing a razor-close split decision to Marlon Moraes. On Saturday, Aldo had the opportunity to join the prestigious group of two-division UFC champions when he faced No. 3 ranked Petr Yan on the UFC 251 main card for the vacant bantamweight title.
Yan entered the bout as the favorite and riding a nine-fight winning streak. By the end of the night, he’d extend that to ten consecutive wins and walked away with the undisputed bantamweight title.
In the opening round, both fighters landed shots. Aldo targeted Yan’s legs with kicks while Yan connected with counter punches. Late in the frame, Aldo changed levels and went for a takedown but ended up on the bottom. Yan hurt the Brazilian with a punch to the body but Aldo made it out of the round.
In the third frame, the two stood toe-to-toe in the pocket and exchanged. Neither fighter backed down or moved backward. Yan began to put together combinations but it was anyone’s fight at the end of the third.
In the fourth round, Aldo began to slow. Yan began connecting at a higher rate. After landing an uppercut and a right hand, Yan took Aldo down. Once on the ground, Yan postured up and delivers a heavy dose of punches to the body and head.
In the final frame, Yan pressured Aldo. He landed a combination that staggered the former featherweight kingpin. He followed up with an uppercut that sent Aldo to the canvas. Yan followed Aldo to the ground and advanced to the mount. Aldo rolled and gave up his back and Yan hammered away with punches. Aldo covered up but offered little defense. Yan continued to pound away until the referee stepped in to stop it.
With the win, Yan became the bantamweight champion and said the fight went pretty much how he expected it to.
“I expected it to be a hard fight, but then he hit my leg and I was forced to change stances. It got me off a little bit,” said Yan after the championship win. “In the beginning we wanted to put pressure on him and make him tired and after the third round start attacking. And that’s exactly what happened.”