They played an equal game, but in the end, it was an ‘entrance cut (Munjeon Park Dae)’.
Sterling defeated Cejudo 2-1 (47-48, 48-47, 48-47) at UFC 288: Sterling vs. Reaped.
The 35-year-old, two-weight division champion Cehu, who is considered to have an ‘aging curve’ as a martial artist, also could not beat his age. In UFC title fights from flyweight to welterweight, the record of fighters over the age of 35 is 2 wins and 28 losses.
2008 Beijing Olympics freestyle wrestling gold medalist and former UFC flyweight and bantamweight champion Henry Cejudo (36, USA) had “leaved the UFC with a round of applause” three years ago, winning two weight classes. He said at the time, ‘There is no opponent. I’m so bored’ and left the UFC in a flashy way.
However, when the featherweight (65.5kg) champion Alexander Volkanovski (34, Australia) appeared, Shejudo began to show interest again. He returned to the ring, saying, “I’ll deal with Sterling-O’Malley (bantamweight) and aim for Volkanovski.”
Even after a hiatus of three years and at the age of 36, Cejudo was not easy. Cejudo, who claims to be the greatest fighter in history, showed off his strength by successfully performing an inside-trip takedown on Sterling in the first round.
However, the current champion, Sterling, did not fall down and succeeded in a takedown on the contrary, taking control of the back position.
Sterling, who allowed a ‘surprise raid’ once, was no longer involved in Cejudo. He calmly induces Cejudo to charge with an attack using the difference in reach, and successfully lands an effective hit on the charging Cejudo.
In the end, Sterling took a 186 to 143 effective stroke lead and took the win by 2-1 split decision. With this, Sterling recorded 23 wins and 3 losses (UFC, 14 wins and 3 losses) and ran 9 consecutive wins.
‘Sometimes Champion’ Sterling has accumulated a feat that no one has ever accomplished by defending the UFC bantamweight title for the third time. This ended the qualification controversy that had lasted since 2021 when then champion Pyotr Yan (30, Russia) became the champion by disqualification after being fouled by a knee kick.
In an interview after the match, Sterling provoked rising superstar Sean O’Malley (25, USA), No. 2 in the bantamweight rankings. He shouted, “Sugar Sean, coward. Where are you now? Your father, UFC president Dana White, won’t be able to help you anymore. Why do you keep running away? I’ll drag you around in the Octagon and beat you up.”
As a result, O’Malley, who was watching the match from the audience, entered the Octagon and faced Sterling and engaged in a war of nerves. O’Malley argued with Sterling, saying, “I’m going to have to do better than today. I was really bad today.” 먹튀검증
In the process, there was also an interesting uproar in which Sterling’s teammate Merab Devalishvili (32, Georgia) stole O’Malley’s jacket.
UFC president Dana White said in a post-fight press conference that a bantamweight title fight between Sterling and O’Malley could take place at UFC 292 on August 20 in Boston, Massachusetts.
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