The youngest American Olympic Gold Medalist in freestyle wrestling, Henry Cejudo, made his official flyweight debut at UFC 185 on Saturday against tenth-ranked Chris Cariaso and dominated the former title contender.
Cariaso made the mistake of trying to clinch with the Olympian in the early going and found himself on his back. He worked his way back to his feet, but was in an equally bad spot. Cejudo hammered away with knees to the body and legs of Cariasso along the cage from the clinch position.
Cejudo secured an early takedown in the second frame. He kept a high pace as was relentless with pressure. Cariaso worked his way back to his feet and they battled for position against the fence.. Cariaso tried to get something going on his feet, but Cejudo ducked under his strikes and secured another takedown. After two rounds, Cariaso needed a finish to win.
Cariaso came out aggressive in the final round, but didn’t have an answer for Cejudo’s ability to get the fight to the ground. Cejudo caught a kick to the body and put Cariaso on his back. From there, he delivered ground and pound before letting Cariaso up. Late in the frame, Cejudo secured another takedown, but Cariasso didn’t give up. He desperately tried to isolate a leg during a scramble in the final seconds of the fight.
After fifteen minutes of dominance by Cejudo, he was awarded a unanimous decision victory.
It was Cejudo’s second fight in the UFC and his first in the 125-pound division. He failed to make weight in two previous attempts before signing with the organization. Following the fight, despite having doubled Cariaso’s output, the Olympian was critical about his performance.
“It was the first time I went to 125. It was fatigue a little bit,” he said. “I put myself at very high standards. It is what it is, but I want to knock some people out. I want to make that fight bonus.”
The 28-year-old wants to quickly move up the flyweight ladder and asked for a top five opponent in his next outing.
“I’m ready. If you want, give me a top five my next fight. I’m strong,” he said. “Chris Cariaso, he came ready. He fought for the title his last fight. The dude’s no joke. Give me a top five. I’m ready to prove myself. Just like I won the Olympic Gold in 2008, I’m here to win gold in the UFC.
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