Johnson and Dillashaw? Henry Cejudo will fight either, but says 135 champ 'in for a treat' at 125

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After his unanimous-decision victory over Sergio Pettis on Saturday at UFC 218 in Detroit, Henry Cejudo is ready for something bigger.

Whether that’s a rematch with current UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson (27-2-1 MMA, 15-1-1 UFC) or a fight against UFC bantamweight titleholder T.J. Dillashaw (15-3 MMA, 11-3 UFC), who has teased the idea of coming down a weight class, Cejudo’s up for either, as he told reporters following UFC 218.

“From what I’ve heard, (Johnson) doesn’t really want to fight (Dillashaw) just yet, or he wants the right money,” Cejudo said. “And I said I’ll welcome T.J. to the weight class. If D.J. does not want to fight him, I’ll fight T.J. I know with him, he’s a former wrestler, it’s going to be a mixed fight. I like it at 125 pounds.”

What the Olympic gold medal-winning wrestler does not like, however, are Dillashaw’s chances of becoming a two-division champion if he meets Johnson at flyweight. In fact, Cejudo (12-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC) said, he thinks a Johnson-Dillashaw fight would be great for the 125-pound division, mostly because it would show people how good Johnson really is.

“I have no rivalry with T.J., but I can see Demetrious Johnson easily handling T.J.,” Cejudo said. “Because you lose an additional 10 pounds against the pound-for-pound king, going down to his weight class? Well-rounded, good wrestler, good striker, just a great mixed martial artist? Man, you’re in for a treat. He can say he’s light and everything, but when you get down to 125 pounds, you’re going to feel it the next day. And Demetrious is a cardio machine. I think that’s what’s going to make that fight dangerous.”

UFC President Dana White said on Saturday that the Johnson-Dillashaw fight is “going to happen,” even if it hasn’t been announced. But if it does, that leaves Cejudo with an uncertain immediate future.

The former title challenger is on a two-fight winning streak, with his only losses coming against Johnson and perennial flyweight contender Joseph Benavidez. Prior to UFC 218, Pettis’ (16-3 MMA, 7-3 UFC) name was thrown around as a possible challenger for Johnson’s title, but Cejudo’s UFC 218 win over Pettis (16-3 MMA, 7-3 UFC) would seem to remove him from that picture.

For his part, Cejudo said he still wants a rematch with Johnson, in part because “when you get rocked in front of 20,000 people, it’s personal.”

But then, he added, since the loss to Johnson was the first of his pro career, and his only defeat via stoppage, it was also an important learning experience that has served him well.

“I really did believe that I was going to beat up Demetrious Johnson when I fought him,” Cejudo said. “Like, deep down in my heart, in my mind, I thought I was going to beat this dude, like beat him up. And I was watching it, because sometimes I’ll get these Instagram alerts, and I was watching it and I remember watching when I lost. I was so sad and disappointed. I just kept looking down, like, ‘Did this just happen?’ But through that, it literally did, it made me respect him and everybody else in my weight class.”

For more on UFC 218, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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UFC 218 results: Henry Cejudo outwrestles Sergio Pettis for scorecard sweep

The promising run of potential title contender Sergio Pettis was brought to an unceremonious end by Henry Cejudo.

Cejudo (12-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC), a onetime title challenger, used his Olympic wrestling pedigree to deposit Pettis (16-3 MMA, 7-3 UFC) on the mat and control him there, resulting in a shutout on judges’ scorecards.

The flyweight bout was part of the main card of today’s UFC 218 event at the new Little Caesars Arena in downtown Detroit. It aired on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

The final scores were all 30-27 for Cejudo, who picked up his second straight win after a pair of setbacks to champ Demetrious Johnson and perennial contender Joseph Benavidez, respectively.

Just as significant was the cold water thrown on the idea of Pettis as fresh blood for champ Johnson. Had he defeated Cejudo, he would have picked up his fifth straight win and undoubtedly triggered calls for a title shot.

Instead, he was largely a sitting duck on the mat. And things didn’t go much better on the feet.

Cejudo gave Pettis just enough trouble in striking to catch his opponent off-guard at every shot. Even then, his technique was several notches above when it came to takedowns. Pettis’ efforts to set up submissions were shut down.

Pettis did his best work in the third round, which his corner told him in no uncertain terms was his final change to right the scales. In extended exchanges, he snuck in several crisp shots. And after an inevitable trip to the mat, he got back to his feet with 90 seconds to work.

But rather than let it hang out, Pettis waited for the perfect opportunity that never came. And for some reason, he decided a takedown attempt would be his final statement.

Cejudo stuffed that, too.

Up-to-the-minute UFC 218 results include:

For complete coverage of UFC 218, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

(MMAjunkie’s Matt Erickson and Mike Bohn contributed to this report on site in Detroit.)

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Sergio Pettis would give up title shot if UFC wants Demetrious Johnson vs. T.J. Dillashaw

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DETROIT – Sergio Pettis is all about this potential champion vs. champion fight between Demetrious Johnson and T.J. Dillashaw, even if it hinders his own career in the short-term.

Pettis (16-2 MMA, 7-2 UFC), who meets Henry Cejudo (11-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC) in a potential flyweight title eliminator on Saturday’s UFC 218 pay-per-view main card following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, would likely be viewed as the obvious next contender for Johnson (27-2-1 MMA, 15-1-1 UFC) should he emerge victorious.

The problem, however, is that the UFC has expressed interest in having bantamweight champ Dillashaw (15-3 MMA, 11-3 UFC) drop down a weight class to fight Johnson in what would have to be considered the most significant matchup in 125-pound history. Pettis would be the odd man out if the promotion moves forward with those plans, but surprisingly, he said he’s OK with that.

“I’m 24 years old, I’m getting better and better, and if they want me to fight again before a title, I’m good with that,” Pettis told MMAjunkie at Thursday’s UFC 218 media day. “I’m building my resume, getting some money on top of it and getting some experience. T.J. vs. DJ, that’s an interesting fight, even for me. I’m a fan of the sport. It’s entertainment and it makes sense. It’s part of the business. I have no hatred towards that. I understand it. If they want me to build my resume and get to that DJ shot, I will. If I have a great performance against Henry Cejudo, maybe I can get there.”

Although Pettis’ title aspirations are strong, he knows his youth puts him at an advantage. Whether it’s one fight or 10 fights, “The Phenom” promises to flourish with every performance the same way he has to this point in his career.

He has a gargantuan task ahead at UFC 218, though, because outside “Mighty Mouse,” Cejudo is as good as it gets in the flyweight division. Cejudo said his power will be the difference in the fight, and brings that confidence following a knockout of Wilson Reis at UFC 215 in September. Pettis, however, said he’s not buying it.

“Most of his wins are by decision, besides his last fight,” Pettis said. “Wilson was there to get hit by that power. I’ve got five inches of reach on this guy. I’ve got movement. He doesn’t have that power there. He’s going to fall onto my sword and he’s going to fall into my striking.”

If all goes according to plan, Pettis said he hopes to be the one scoring the knockout win. He believes his style meshes well with Cejudo and insists he’s going to send a message to “The Messenger” on fight night.

“I want to get a knockout on my belt,” Pettis said. “First win by not decision. Whatever happens, happens. I’m going to go out there and push the pace. I believe my style is different now. I’m not longer a little boy. I’m a grown man. My style is going to make him come in and think he has the power. I’m going to hit him with something hard and he’s not going to expect it. If not, I’m going to pick that face away all night.”

For more on UFC 218, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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UFC 218's Henry Cejudo warns T.J. Dillashaw about dropping to flyweight

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DETROIT – It wasn’t long ago that the MMA world was close to writing off Olympic gold medalist Henry Cejudo as a flyweight phenom.

Two misses on the scale with the now-defunct Legacy FC made the UFC antsy about promoting him as the next big threat to champ Demetrious Johnson.

Cejudo turned things around, though he wasn’t able to best Johnson when his title shot came. But he emerged from the experience with a great respect for demands of moving between weight classes.

That’s why when Cejudo (11-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC) hears about UFC bantamweight T.J. Dillashaw’s (15-3 MMA, 11-3 UFC) plans of gunning for Johnson’s title, he is a bit skeptical.

“If Demetrious doesn’t fight T.J., I’ll welcome T.J. to the flyweight division,” Cejudo told MMAjunkie in advance of his meeting with Sergio Pettis (16-2 MMA, 7-2 UFC) on Saturday at UFC 218, which takes place at Litle Caesars Arena in Detroit and airs on pay-per-view. “Because I know what it’s like to cut 10 pounds, and I know how much that stuff hurts.

“I know if he’s going to take a crack at DJ, it’s a whole new ball game at 125. You’re not going to feel the same as at 135, and DJ seems to do very, very well at 125 pounds. So I wouldn’t mind welcoming him to the weight class as a home sweet homecoming for Dillashaw.”

But first, Cejudo has his eye on Pettis, who’s won his past four at flyweight and could be a title contender with a win. Another shot at Johnson (27-2-1 MMA, 15-1-1 UFC) is Cejudo’s ultimate goal.

If he has to detour for another champ, however, all the better.

For more from Cejudo, check out the video above.

And for more on UFC 218, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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UFC 218 staff picks: Does anyone think Jose Aldo can get the belt back from Max Holloway?

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Holloway
vs.
Aldo
Ngannou
vs.
Overeem
Cejudo
vs.
Pettis
Alvarez
vs.
Gaethje
Torres
vs.
Waterson
MMAjunkie readers’
consensus picks
2017: 117-79
holloway2017
Holloway
(70%)
ngannou2017
Ngannou
(69%)
cejudo2017
Cejudo
(73%)
gaethje2017
Gaethje
(75%)
waterson2017
Waterson
(61%)
Brian Garcia
@thegoze
2017: 123-73
holloway2017
Holloway
ngannou2017
Ngannou
cejudo2017
Cejudo
gaethje2017
Gaethje
torres2017
Torres
Dann Stupp
@DannStupp
2017: 122-74
trophy copy 2015 Champion
holloway2017
Holloway
ngannou2017
Ngannou
cejudo2017
Cejudo
gaethje2017
Gaethje
torres2017
Torres
Simon Samano
@SJSamano
2017: 122-74
holloway2017
Holloway
ngannou2017
Ngannou
cejudo2017
Cejudo
gaethje2017
Gaethje
torres2017
Torres
Steven Marrocco @MMAjunkieSteven
2017: 121-75
holloway2017
Holloway
ngannou2017
Ngannou
cejudo2017
Cejudo
gaethje2017
Gaethje
waterson2017
Waterson
Ben Fowlkes @BenFowlkesMMA
2017: 121-75
trophy copy 2016 Champion
holloway2017
Holloway
ngannou2017
Ngannou
cejudo2017
Cejudo
gaethje2017
Gaethje
torres2017
Torres
John Morgan @MMAjunkieJohn
2017: 115-81
holloway2017
Holloway
ngannou2017
Ngannou
cejudo2017
Cejudo
gaethje2017
Gaethje
torres2017
Torres
Fernanda Prates @nandaprates_
2017: 115-81
holloway2017
Holloway
ngannou2017
Ngannou
cejudo2017
Cejudo
gaethje2017
Gaethje
waterson2017
Waterson
George Garcia @MMAjunkieGeorge
2017: 114-82
holloway2017
Holloway
overeem2017
Overeem
cejudo2017
Cejudo
gaethje2017
Gaethje
torres2017
Torres
Mike Bohn @MikeBohnMMA
2017: 113-83
trophy copy 2014 Champion
holloway2017
Holloway
ngannou2017
Ngannou
cejudo2017
Cejudo
gaethje2017
Gaethje
torres2017
Torres
Matt Erickson @MMAjunkieMatt
2017: 112-84
holloway2017
Holloway
ngannou2017
Ngannou
spettis2017
Pettis
alvarez2017
Alvarez
waterson2017
Waterson

The UFC finally has returned to Michigan, and the featherweight title is on the line in the main event rematch.

UFC 218 takes place Saturday at the new Little Caesars Arena in downtown Detroit. It’s the promotion’s first event in Michigan since UFC 123 in 2010. The main card airs live on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

(Click here to open a PDF of the staff picks grid in a separate window.)

In the main event, featherweight champion Max Holloway (18-3 MMA, 14-3 UFC) takes on former champ Jose Aldo (26-3 MMA, 8-2 UFC), the man he took the belt from earlier this year with a third-round TKO. Despite Aldo’s reputation as the most dominant 145-pound champion in history, none of our 10 MMAjunkie editors, writers and radio hosts are picking him to get his title back. It’s Holloway with the unanimous nod.

In the co-feature, heavyewight contender Francis Ngannou (10-1 MMA, 5-0 UFC) meets former Strikeforce champion Alistair Overeem (43-15 MMA, 8-4 UFC). The winner could go on to a title shot. But only one of our 10 pickers is taking Overeem in an upset.

Also on the main card, former flyweight title challenger Henry Cejudo (11-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC) is a 9-1 pick over Sergio Pettis (16-2 MMA, 7-2 UFC) in their battle to weed out contenders for Demetrious Johnson’s 125-pound title.

Former UFC and Bellator lightweight champ Eddie Alvarez (28-5 MMA, 3-2 UFC) takes on former WSOF champ Justin Gaethje (18-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) in a battle of coaches from “TUF 26.” Only one picker is taking Alvarez to win in an upset.

And to open the main card, Tecia Torres (9-1 MMA, 5-1 UFC) battles Michelle Waterson (14-5 MMA, 2-1 UFC) in a women’s strawweight bout that is our most competitive on the card – but still a virtual blowout with Torres taking a 7-3 edge.

In the MMAjunkie reader consensus picks, Holloway, Ngannou, Cejudo, Gaethje and Waterson are the choices.

Check out all the picks above.

For more on UFC 218, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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UFC 218 main-card breakdown: Cejudo-Pettis, Alvarez-Gaethje and Torres-Waterson

MMAjunkie Radio cohost and MMAjunkie contributor Dan Tom provides an in-depth breakdown of all of UFC 218’s main-card bouts. Today, we look at the first three pay-per-view bouts.

UFC 218 takes place Saturday at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit. The main card airs on PPV following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

ALSO SEE:

* * * *

Henry Cejudo (11-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC)

Henry Cejudo

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’4″ Age: 30 Weight: 125 lbs. Reach: 64″
  • Last fight: TKO win over Wilson Reis (Sept. 9, 2017)
  • Camp: Fight Ready MMA (Arizona)
  • Stance/striking style: Orthodox/kickboxing
  • Risk management: Good

Supplemental info:
+ Olympic wrestling gold medalist (U.S.)
+ Multiple wrestling accolades
+ Bronze Gloves boxing champion
+ 4 KO victories
+ 1 submission win
+ 4 first-round finishes
+ Solid footwork
+ Improved overall striking
^ Offensively and off of the counter
+ Hard kicks and knees
+ Strong clinch game
^ Solid grips/hand-fighting
+ Excellent wrestling ability
^ 100 percent takedown defense rate

Sergio Pettis (16-2 MMA, 7-2 UFC)

Sergio Pettis

Staple info:

  • Height: 5’6″ Age: 25 Weight: 125 lbs. Reach: 69″
  • Last fight: Decision win over Brandon Moreno (Aug. 5, 2017)
  • Camp: Roufusport (Milwaukee, WI)
  • Stance/striking style: Switch-stance/kickboxing
  • Risk management: Good

Supplemental info:
+ RFA flyweight title
+ Taekwondo black belt (2nd degree)
+ Brazilian jiu-jitsu blue belt
+ 3 KO victories
+ 3 submission wins
+ 5 first-round finishes
+ Excellent footwork
+ Accurate jab and cross
^ Pulls and returns well
+ Dangerous head kicks
^ Strikes well off of the breaks
+ Improved wrestling ability
^ Good hips and wrist controls
+ Accurate and attacking guard

Summary:

In a fight of importance at flyweight, Henry Cejudo take on Sergio Pettis.

Cejudo, one of the most decorated wrestlers to step foot into the cage, is still looking to score championship glory in MMA. Coming off an impressive win over recent title challenger Wilson Reis, Cejudo will seek to state his case for a second chance at the belt.

Brother to former UFC champ Anthony Pettis, Sergio is paving a path of his own, and he too would like to capture UFC gold. And if Pettis means to get himself into the conversation at 125 pounds, he will first need to make good on the main-stage against the dangerous contender that is before him.

Coming from a traditional taekwondo base, Pettis has arguably done a better job than his brother in regards to translating this style to the cage. Although Pettis is not as flashy as his brother (nor does he have the highlight reel to compare), there is an economical flow to the way in which he mixes his punches and kicks, and he also works at a much more consistent pace.

Not only does Pettis work in his kicking attacks seamlessly, but his point-fighting style of footwork has complemented his boxing nicely, utilizing his heightened sense of range to fuel his pulls and returns. Still, despite having accurate jab-cross continuums he works well from, Pettis will need to respect the power that Cejudo will be firing back at him.

Consistently demonstrating a stick-and-move curriculum, the former freestyle wrestler displays a surprising fluidity, seldom throwing himself out of position. Favoring cross-hook combinations, he often punctuates his presence with hard kicks to the body.

Recently, we have seen Cejudo only improve. In his bout against Joseph Benavidez last year, the Olympic champion displayed an upgraded muay Thai arsenal from his time spent at CSA in Northern California.

When watching him against Reis a few months ago, Cejudo took things to a different level, coming out in a sharp karate stance that he picked up while working with the Pitbull brothers (Bellator’s Patricio and Patricky) in Brazil. Showing off an improved sense of range, Cejudo was able to time and counter his opponent precisely with palpable speed and power.

Regardless of Cejudo’s confidence in his striking, it is inside the clinch where he is most comfortable, and I will be interested to see how much he forces the issue in this fight.

Utilizing fundamental hand-fighting, Cejudo will subtly stifle his opponent’s offense inside as he delivers a healthy dose of hard knees whenever in close. When able to establish a body lock, the former freestyle wrestler is quick to hit his inside trips.

That said, Pettis can be difficult to pin down due to his footwork and spatial awareness of when to leave and when to stay.

Demonstrating good posture to go along with a consistent hand-fighting and underhook awareness of his own, I think that Pettis could surprise Cejudo if he stays disciplined in defense.

Working with Izzy Martinez for his past few camps, we have seen steady improvements to Pettis’ wrestling, especially in the transitional phases of his grappling.

Already possessing crafty leg dexterity and wrist controls, Pettis now shows more process and understanding to his actions, and he was able to successfully navigate out of some tight spots in his last couple of outings. Should these two end up exchanging inside of grappling stanzas, I will be intrigued to see how each fighter has progressed.

The oddsmakers and public feel pretty confident in the former Olympian, currently listing Cejudo -280 and Pettis +240 as of this writing.

As someone who felt good about Pettis’ chances when the matchup was attempted the first time around – my opinion has admittedly changed since, primarily off of the strength of Cejudo’s last performance.

Don’t get me wrong: This is a winnable fighter for Pettis, who I could see sneaking his savvy kicking attacks over or under the shoulders of Cejudo. And if younger Pettis brother had five rounds to work within, then perhaps he could pull away on the scorecards.

But ultimately, I see Cejudo landing the more meaningful blows and likely hitting opportunistic takedowns along the way to a competitive but clear decision.

Official pick: Cejudo by decision

Filed under: Featured, News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Video: UFC 218 media day face-offs in Detroit are intense, but civil

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DETROIT – For the first time this week, Max Holloway and Jose Aldo got together once again.

Holloway (18-3 MMA, 14-3 UFC) and Aldo (26-3 MMA, 8-2 UFC) rematch on Saturday in the UFC 218 main event for Holloway’s featherweight title – the title he took from Aldo earlier this year. Aldo took the fight on short notice after Holloway’s original opponent, former lightweight champion Frankie Edgar, pulled out with an injury.

Today at a media day in support of UFC 218, the fighters on the main card got together to meet the press and face off with each other before Friday’s weigh-ins and Saturday’s fights. Holloway and Aldo were intense, but civil.

Also on the main card, Francis Ngannou (10-1 MMA, 5-0 UFC) meets Alistair Overeem (43-15 MMA, 8-4 UFC) in a heavyweight co-main event; Henry Cejudo (11-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC) takes on Sergio Pettis (16-2 MMA, 7-2 UFC) in a critical flyweight contenders fight; Eddie Alvarez (28-5 MMA, 3-2 UFC) fights fellow “TUF 26” coach Justin Gaethje (18-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) at lightweight; and Tecia Torres (9-1 MMA, 5-1 UFC) opens the main card against Michelle Waterson (14-5 MMA, 2-1 UFC) in a women’s strawweeight bout.

UFC 218 takes place Saturday at the new Little Caesars Arena in downtown Detroit. It’s the promotion’s first event in Michigan since UFC 123 in 2010. The main card airs live on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

Check out the face-offs from today’s media day in the video above.

And for more on UFC 218, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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MMAjunkie reader predictions: Make your picks for UFC 218 in Detroit

We want your predictions for Saturday’s UFC 218 event in Detroit.

Our staff picks feature includes the consensus picks from MMAjunkie readers. Simply cast your vote for each bout below, and we’ll use the official tallies that are registered by Thursday at noon ET (9 a.m. PT).

Those MMAjunkie MMA reader consensus picks will be part of the UFC 218 staff picks we release Friday ahead of the event. UFC 218 takes place at the new Little Caesars Arena in downtown Detroit, and it’s the promotion’s first event in Michigan since UFC 123 in 2010. The main card airs live on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

* * * *

Max Holloway vs. Jose Aldo

Records: Max Holloway (18-3 MMA, 14-3 UFC), Jose Aldo (26-3 MMA, 8-2 UFC)
Past five: Holloway 5-0, Aldo 3-2
Division: Featherweight
Rankings: Holloway No. 1, No. 6 pound-for-pound; Aldo No. 2, No. 13 pound-for-pound
Odds (as of 11/26/17): Holloway -305, Aldo +235

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Francis Ngannou vs. Alistair Overeem

Records: Francis Ngannou (10-1 MMA, 5-0 UFC), Alistair Overeem (43-15 MMA, 8-4 UFC)
Past five: Ngannou 5-0, Overeem 4-1
Division: Heavyweight
Rankings: Overeem No. 2, Ngannou No. 9
Odds (as of 11/26/17): N/A

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Henry Cejudo vs. Sergio Pettis

Records: Henry Cejudo (11-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC), Sergio Pettis (16-2 MMA, 7-2 UFC)
Past five: Cejudo 3-2, Pettis 4-1
Division: Flyweight
Rankings: Cejudo No. 3, Pettis No. 6
Odds (as of 11/26/17): N/A

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Eddie Alvarez vs. Justin Gaethje

Records: Eddie Alvarez (28-5 MMA, 3-2 UFC), Justin Gaethje (18-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC)
Past five: Alvarez 3-2, Gaethje 5-0
Division: Lightweight
Rankings: Gaethje No. 3, Alvarez No. 5
Odds (as of 11/26/17): N/A

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Tecia Torres vs. Michelle Waterson

Records: Tecia Torres (9-1 MMA, 5-1 UFC), Michelle Waterson (14-5 MMA, 2-1 UFC)
Past five: Torres 4-1, Waterson 3-2
Division: Strawweight
Rankings: Torres No. 7
Odds (as of 11/26/17): N/A

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For more on UFC 218, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

UFC's Henry Cejudo details escape from California wildfires: I was 'literally in a ring of fire'

Henry Cejudo heard his hotel’s fire alarm go off at 2 a.m., woke up, checked out the hallway, but saw nothing to make him think he was in danger.

So he went back to sleep.

What the UFC flyweight contender endured after that, though, sounds like something from a post-apocalyptic movie.

Cejudo was in Santa Rosa, Calif., for a charity event earlier this week when wildfires engulfed Northern California’s wine country. As a result of the blazes, 35 people have died, with thousands of homes and businesses destroyed.

Cejudo is grateful to be alive, but it easily could’ve been different.

In a harrowing account of his experience to ESPN.com, Cejudo said he woke up again hours later to a smoke-filled room. He could tell from his second-floor room that the hotel lobby was on fire and decided his best way to escape was by jumping out of his window.

“I pulled the curtain on the window, and it felt like daylight. It was so bright,” Cejudo said. “There were houses on fire. The hotel was on fire. I could feel the heat.

“I saw the lobby was on fire and knew there was a stairwell to get down there. I thought, ‘If I go out into the hallway and lock myself out, then I really am dead.’ There was only one way out.”

Cejudo jumped to a grassy area down below and injured his foot from landing on a branch on fire. Luckily, he wasn’t immobile. He walked away.

But Cejudo couldn’t believe his eyes as he escaped.

“I was deserted,” he said. “I didn’t see one human being. I didn’t see one cat, dog – nothing. The only noise I heard was the fire.

“As I’m walking up this hill to get a bird’s-eye view of everything, I see two-story mansions on fire. I saw buildings and cars on fire. It was surreal, like a dream. I had no shoes, no time to grab anything but my slacks. I’m walking, barefoot, thinking, ‘Damn, I’m literally in a ring of fire.’”

Cejudo eventually made it up the hill and was picked up by a fire truck, thankful to have been rescued.

Cejudo (11-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC), who’s already training for his Dec. 2 pay-per-view fight against Sergio Pettis (16-2 MMA, 7-2 UFC) at UFC 218, left behind his 2008 Olympic wrestling gold medal. While he’s hopeful firefighters will recover it from the wreckage, he’s OK if they don’t.

After all, he still has his life.

“People ask me if I’m sad about it. Nah, I’m happy, bro,” Cejudo said. “It’s weird because that type of adrenaline, you’re scared, but you’re challenged, too. You become courageous in something like that. It’s a crazy feeling knowing you may die.”

For more on UFC 218, visit the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Filed under: Featured, News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Manager: Henry Cejudo will fight Sergio Pettis at UFC 218 despite injuries, lost Olympic medal in fire

Henry Cejudo is somewhat distraught after losing several important personal items and suffering a burn to his foot while escaping the deadly Northern California wildfires. However, it won’t stop him from fighting Sergio Pettis at UFC 218.

MMAjunkie today spoke with Cejudo’s (11-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC) manager, Ali Abdelaziz of Dominance MMA, and confirmed Cejudo evacuated from the fire and still intends on fighting Pettis (16-2 MMA, 7-2 UFC) at UFC 218, which takes place Dec. 2 at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit. The card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

“He woke up to the fire alarm, but he thought it was just a false alarm so he went back to sleep,” Abdelaziz told MMAjunkie. “He woke up at 4 a.m. to his room being filled with smoke. He had no choice but to jump (from the balcony) on the second floor. He landed on some fire and burned his foot. He’s safe.”

Abdelaziz said the damage to Cejudo’s foot isn’t overly severe. He confirmed there was no broken ankle, as sfchronicle.com first reported, instead described the damage as “scabbing and blisters.” The physical injuries will heal, but the disappointment of losing some significant personal items is likely to last much longer.

Cejudo was in the area to attend Ronnie Lott’s celebrity fundraiser at Mayacama Golf Club in Santa Rosa, Calif. Abdelaziz said “The Messenger” was able to escape the hotel room with only his cell phone and was forced to leave behind the gold medal he won in the 2008 Olympic games, other awards from his wrestling career, an iPad, clothing and more.

After going through the experience, Abdelaziz said Cejudo, No. 3 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA flyweight rankings, leaves today for Brazil to begin his training camp for No. 6-ranked Pettis alongside Bellator standouts Patricio and Patricky Freire.

Many consider the UFC 218 fight between Cejudo and Pettis as a title-eliminator in the 125-pound division. Cejudo said following his second-round knockout of Wilson Reis at UFC 215 in September that he’s gunning for a rematch with champ Demetrious Johnson, who handed him a first-round TKO loss at UFC 197 in April 2016.

“I’m the one (to defeat Johnson),” Cejudo said. “I know I’m the one. I have the style, I have the wrestling. I know I’m the one to beat Demetrious Johnson. No disrespect to these fighters, no disrespect to any of them. Anybody has that fighter’s chance, but I believe I have the style to eventually beat him, and I truly do believe that.”

For more on UFC 218, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site

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Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie