Aljamain Sterling spoils Henry Cejudo octagon return in split decision win
Former two division UFC champion and Olympic gold medalist Henry Cejudo made his UFC return on Saturday after a 3 year hiatus (16-3 MMA, 10-3 UFC). Cejudo challenged current Bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling (23-3 MMA, 15-3 UFC). Sterling entered the octagon on a 9 fight winning streak which is UFCs highest active bantamweight streak.
The fight was fought at a back and forth pace. Round 1, Cejudo took Sterling down. Sterling returned to his feet and took Cejudo down after a few exchanges. Sterling worked for his signature back position and landed a pair of big strikes as the round ended. Round 2 was the closest round of the fight as both men fought at a tit for tat pace as neither man was able to gain any round separation. As the remaining rounds waned Sterling’s striking was able to take over and it seemed as if he was able to take the next two rounds.
Cejudo’s corner of Eddie Cha, Santino Defranco, and Eric Albarracin told their fighter before the final round that it was either tied or he was down 3-1. Cejudo came out far more aggressive in round 5 and was able to land a very nice takedown and he did enough to take that round. The fight was close, however Sterling was able to win in a split decision.
After the fight both fighters showed respect to one another the path of Cejudo seemed a lot less clear as he quoted Ricky Bobby if you're not first you're last. He didn’t seem too excited about the idea of not fighting for gold. As for the champion Sterling, after the fight, Sean O’Malley (16-1 MMA, 8-1) entered the cage and exchanged words with Sterling. Things turned borderline physical when Sterling’s teammate and cornerman, Merab Dvalishvili, sneakily stole O’Malley’s coat that he tossed off during his faceoff with Sterling. Sterling yelled “September” so it seems like the two fighters will be squaring off in September.