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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Source: MMA Junkie

Report: Henry Cejudo breaks ankle escaping fire; UFC 218 bout vs. Sergio Pettis in danger

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Deadly fires in Southern California caused mass evacuations on Monday, and it appears they may have seriously impacted one high-profile UFC fighter.

Henry Cejudo (11-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC), who is scheduled to fight Sergio Pettis (16-2 MMA, 7-2 UFC) at December’s UFC 218 event, reportedly suffered a broken ankle while jumping off a second-floor balcony during an evacuation. The news comes from sfchronicle.com.

“UFC fighter Henry Cejudo didn’t evacuate from the Fountaingrove Inn in Santa Rosa and broke his ankle jumping from a second-story balcony,” the report reads.

Cejudo and his manager, Ali Abdelaziz, did not immediately respond for comment today when contacted by MMAjunkie. UFC officials haven’t made a formal announcement regarding the the status of the bout.

Matheus Aquino, a manager to Bellator standouts and Cejudo training partners Patricio and Patricky Freire, wrote on Twitter that the report was accurate (via Twitter):

UFC 218 takes place Dec. 2 at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass, though the final bout order hasn’t been finalized.

If Cejudo, No. 3 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA flyweight rankings, did in fact suffer a broken ankle, it’s likely he wouldn’t be recovered in time to compete against No. 6-ranked Pettis in what many considered a title-eliminator in the UFC flyweight division.

“The Messenger” is coming off a second-round knockout of Wilson Reis at UFC 215 in September. The performance snapped a two-fight losing skid that included Cejudo’s title loss to 125-pound champ Demetrious Johnson.

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

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

And for his next trick, the great Demetrious Johnson will attempt … what, exactly?

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After submitting Ray Borg with something out of a Spiderman comic at UFC 216, the one thing Demetrious Johnson didn’t want to talk about was his immediate fighting future.

“Everyone is so quick to jump to the next one,” the UFC flyweight champ said. “It’s been 25 minutes since the fight.”

Fair enough, but now it’s been over 36 hours since the fight, so can we talk about it yet?

I only ask because it feels like Johnson (27-2-1 MMA, 15-1-1 UFC) is at a crossroads. His win over Borg (11-3 MMA, 5-3 UFC) on Saturday night in Las Vegas shattered the record for consecutive UFC title defenses. It also established him as a bonafide ninja, thanks to a transition from slam to armbar that most of us didn’t even know was possible.

So now Johnson has records and highlights that may never be topped. Who knows, he might even be on the verge of breaking through to another level of popularity with fans, since even the most curmudgeonly flyweight hater has to admit that he’s something special now.

Opportunity is in the air for the champ. But if he squanders it now, it may never come again.

Realistically, there are two options for Johnson’s next fight: 1) He can fight another flyweight, continuing his reign of terror over all 125-pound men, or 2) He can fight a bantamweight, essentially accepting a weight handicap as a means to test his skill.

If he goes with door No. 1, we’re probably looking at a fight against the winner of Henry Cejudo vs. Sergio Pettis, who are set to square off in December. The problem is, Johnson has already beaten Cejudo – easily – and he’d be a huge favorite to do the same to Pettis, who’s still a work in progress at 24.

This is a side effect of Johnson’s greatness. He’s dominated his own weight class so thoroughly that any fight in that division now comes with at least the perception of a low degree of difficulty. It feels like he’s walking a tightrope that’s six inches off the ground. He looks good doing it, and he manages to pull off some amazing tricks on his way across, but it never feels like he’s in any real danger.

That brings us to the second option. Johnson’s been reluctant to go back up to bantamweight without the promise of a big payday, and he balked at welcoming a bigger fighter to his division because he worried that a problem on the scales might prevent him from breaking the title-defense record.

Both those concerns seem less like dealbreakers now. Johnson already has the record, so a failed weight cut wouldn’t be such a big deal. And the UFC could sure use a champion-vs.-champion superfight right about now, since there aren’t too many marquee attractions on the calendar past early November.

The point is, now feels like the time for something special. And since Johnson’s record is a testament to his consistency and longevity when it comes to the task of beating up flyweights, watching him beat up one more probably isn’t going to feel all that novel.

Now’s the time for a new challenge, one he might actually fail at.

If not, he risks letting his success become so common that we take it – and him – for granted.

For more on UFC 216, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

If successful at UFC 216, UFC champ Demetrious Johnson explains who's next

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If victorious on Saturday at UFC 216, Demetrious Johnson will have sole possession of the UFC title-defense record with 11. He’ll also have his eye on which opponents could bring him his 12th and 13th title defenses.

In UFC 216’s pay-per-view co-headliner at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, flyweight champ Johnson (26-2-1 MMA, 14-1-1 UFC) looks for the record when he meets Ray Borg (11-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC).

The bout, which was rescheduled after Borg fell ill during his UFC 215 weigh cut, could allow Johnson to move past Anderson Silva and set a new record for perhaps MMA’s most prestigious record.

“It would mean the world (to get the title defense record),” Johnson said during a media luncheon on Monday (watch it above). “Obviously there hasn’t been another champion out there to have this many consecutive title defenses year after year.

“It’s not just that; it’s always staying healthy, always improving and trying to go out there and finish my opponents. I’m passing all my drug tests. If I get past this, No. 11, and I’m healthy, I can do another one – maybe 12 or 13 – then we’ll go from there.”

Johnson, who’s No. 1 in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA flyweight rankings (and No. 2 pound-for-pound), will have cleaned out most of the division if he gets by No. 5-ranked Borg. But before a possible move up to 135 pounds – he’s thus far put it off because he’s focused on 125 pounds, and because he wants bigger paydays if he moves up – “Mighty Mouse” said his current division has some worth challengers.

Take for instance an upcoming bout between No. 3 Henry Cejudo (11-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC) and No. 6 Sergio Pettis (16-2 MMA, 7-2 UFC), who fight on Dec. 2 at UFC 218. Johnson has a previous win over Cejudo, but Pettis represents a potential fresh challenge.

“I think Sergio Pettis has more of style that will give Henry Cejudo fits because he’s been around the block a little more,” Johnson said. “It’ll be a good fight. I think (the winner is next in line). Obviously Henry Cejudo just came back and got in the winner column. Pettis, he’s on a three-fight win streak, and if he wins this fight, I think he’s the No. 1 contender in the flyweight division. He has four fights in a row.”

And after that? A move to bantamweight is possible, though Johnson eventually realized there could be one more 125-pound opponent: unranked and undefeated Magomed Bibulatov (14-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC), who meets former title challenger and No. 11-ranked John Moraga (17-6 MMA, 6-5 UFC) on Saturday’s UFC 216 early prelims on UFC Fight Pass prelims.

“I can’t think of another athlete – maybe Magomed Bibulatov,” Johnson said. “I can’t think of how many he has in a row, but we’ll see what happens.”

For more on UFC 216, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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

Sergio Pettis wastes no time, kindly asks UFC 215 winner Henry Cejudo to meet him in Detroit

Sergio Pettis is sure not messing around.

Fellow flyweight Henry Cejudo (11-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC) had barely cooled off from his assertive UFC 215 display over Wilson Reis when Pettis (16-2 MMA, 7-2 UFC), fresh off a big win of his own, took to Instagram to issue a polite but clear callout to the ex-title-challenger.

“Congrats Henry Cejudo on the performance,” Pettis posted on Saturday. “I recall you saying you owe me for the last time we were scheduled. Detroit (UFC 218) in December?”

Instagram Photo

As Pettis said, the two were set to meet before, but a hand injury forced Cejudo to withdraw from last May’s UFC 211 during fight week. Since then, Pettis has added a fourth win to his current streak with a UFC Fight Night 114 decision over Brandon Moreno. Cejudo, in turn, snapped a two-fight skid with his second-round knockout of Reis.

Pettis had also taken other opportunities to make it known – albeit less kindly – that his interest in Cejudo stands.

It’s convenient, then, that Cejudo is also interested in the matchup. While he did express his desire for another stab at champ Demetrious Johnson, who knocked him out at UFC 197 in April 2016, the Olympic champ also knows that’s probably not next in the cards for him.

In comes Pettis.

“I like that fight,” Cejudo said at the post-fight conference. “I know he’s one guy that wants me, and so do I. I’ve just got to sit down with my team. I don’t make decisions on my own, but absolutely, I want to fight the best guys out there.”

Of course, we know better than trusting matchups to happen before both players are in the cage. But, all in all, it seems like the UFC matchmakers are not going to have a problem with this one.

For more on UFC 215, visit the UFC Events section of the site.

The Blue Corner is MMAjunkie‘s official blog and is edited by Mike Bohn.

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Source: MMA Junkie

After UFC 215 KO, Henry Cejudo declares 'I'm the one to beat Demetrious Johnson'

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EDMONTON – Henry Cejudo is gunning for a rematch with UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson, and he believes his knockout of Wilson Reis at UFC 215 went a long way toward helping him get that opportunity.

Cejudo (11-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC), who entered the fight with back-to-back losses against Johnson and Joseph Benavidez, rebounded in a big way with a near-flawless performance against Reis (22-8 MMA, 6-4 UFC) that ended in a second-round knockout.

“The Messenger” may have suffered a first-round TKO to Johnson (26-2-1 MMA, 14-1-1 UFC) at UFC 197 in April 2016, but the Olympic gold medalist in wrestling still believes he has the necessary skillset to dethrone one of the sport’s all-time great champions.

However, he said he’s not rushing to get there.

“I’m the one,” Cejudo said at UFC 215’s post-fight news conference, which MMAjunkie attended. “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.”

UFC 215 took place Saturday at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Cejudo’s bout with Reis aired on the pay-per-view main card following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

Cejudo said he would like to challenge Johnson again for the title as soon as possible but is also being realistic about his position. As someone who only turned professional in March 2013, Cejudo is making tremendous strides with each performance but said there is still large room for improvements.

In Cejudo’s mind it’s not a matter of if, but when he has another clash with “Mighty Mouse.” When that time does come, he wants to be 100 percent sure of his chances for victory.

“Emotionally, I do want to fight him right away,” Cejudo said. “Technically, am I going to be ready for this guy? I don’t want to just fight Demetrious; I want to beat him. He’s been on my mind since he beat me. I’m a competitor, man. To get stopped in front of 20,000 people, that (expletive) hurts. I think about it a lot. There’s a reason why he’s the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world. That’s who I have to beat – not just fight, beat.”

Johnson was originally meant to headline UFC 215 with what would have been a record-breaking 11th consecutive title defense. Unfortunately, scheduled opponent Ray Borg succumbed to a “viral illness” which forced him to withdraw from the event on two days’ notice.

According to Johnson, the current plan is to attempt to reschedule the fight for UFC 216 on Oct. 7. The matchup is not official, but regardless it appears Borg is still next in line. That means Cejudo will have to look at other fighters in the division for his next opponent.

One name who stands out to Cejudo, he said, is Sergio Pettis (16-2 MMA, 7-2 UFC). The pair were scheduled to fight at UFC 211 in May, but Cejudo was forced to withdraw during fight week due to a hand injury. Pettis is coming off a decision win over Brandon Moreno at UFC Fight Night 114 in August, and Cejudo said he would be very interested in booking that fight again to further strength his title-shot argument.

“I like that fight,” Cejudo said. “I know he’s one guy that wants me, and so do I. I’ve just got to sit down with my team. I don’t make decisions on my own, but absolutely, I want to fight the best guys out there.”

For complete coverage of UFC 215, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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

MMAjunkie's 'Fight of the Month' for August: Flyweights shine in rare non-title headliner

With another action-packed month of MMA in the books, MMAjunkie looks at the best fights from August. Here are the five nominees, listed in chronological order, and winner of MMAjunkie’s “Fight of the Month” award for August.

At the bottom of the post, let us know if we got it right by voting on your choice.

* * * *

The Nominees

Alejandro Perez def. Andre Soukhamthath at UFC Fight Night 114

Andre Soukhamthath (11-5 MMA, 0-2 UFC) put Alejandro Perez (18-6-1 MMA, 4-1-1 UFC) down three times with his left hand and somehow still came out the loser.

A late rally by Perez was enough to overcome some solid early work by Soukhamthath, resulting in a split-decision win for Perez in a closely contested fight that remained fiercely competitive until the final seconds.

Alexa Grasso def. Randa Markos at UFC Fight Night 114

Alexa Grasso (10-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC) had to dig deep to give the fans in Mexico City the win they hoped for against Randa Markos (7-5 MMA, 3-4 UFC), but she got it done by the slimmest of margins in a spirited battle that went the distance.

Thanks largely to her work in the first and the third rounds, Grasso narrowly outpointed a game Markos to win a split-decision victory with scores of 28-29, 29-28, and 29-28.

Sergio Pettis def. Brandon Moreno at UFC Fight Night 114

A new contender in the UFC flyweight division was decided when Sergio Pettis (16-2 MMA, 7-2 UFC) defeated Brandon Moreno (14-4 MMA, 3-1 UFC) in the organization’s first 125-pound headliner not to feature champion Demetrious Johnson.

Pettis earned his fourth consecutive victory at 125 pounds when he defeated Moreno by unanimous decision in an exciting five-round affair.

Fernando Gonzalez def. Brennan Ward at Bellator 182

Fernando Gonzalez (27-14 MMA, 7-1 BMMA) continued to rebound from his lone Bellator loss this past year when he rallied to submit Brennan Ward (14-6 MMA, 9-6 BMMA) in the third round of their catchweight bout.

After having his offense largely thwarted over the first two rounds by Ward’s mixed game, Gonzalez capitalized on a error by his opponent that allowed him to lock in a guillotine choke for the come-from-behind victory.

Kali Robbins def. Sharon Jacobson at Invicta FC 25

Kali Robbins (5-0) was in all sorts of trouble against Sharon Jacobson (4-2). And then suddenly, it was all over.

Robbins took a barrage of punches from Jacobson before she was hip-tossed to the mat. Once there Robbins immediately went into jiu-jitsu mode, climbing her legs and grabbing a hold of an arm until she was belly down and submitted Jacobson with an armbar just 42 seconds into the first round.

* * * *

The Winner: Pettis vs. Moreno

After getting dominated in the first round, Pettis shut down Moreno’s takedown game and took over on his feet.

Pettis soundly outstruck Moreno from the second frame into championship rounds to take home a unanimous decision via scores of 49-46 and 48-46 twice.

“I definitely had to face some adversity,” Pettis said afterward. “He came out there and put me in a very dangerous position. I had four rounds to prove I was a better man, and I did it.”

Moreno came in hoping to get a big win in front of his native Mexico and gave the crowd high hopes early. A kick from Pettis allowed him to take the fight to the mat, and he quickly scrambled to back control, where he set up a choke. Unable to free himself, Pettis spent the opening frame fighting Moreno’s hands and biding his time.

Pettis had the opportunity to give Moreno the same treatment in the second round when he caught a kick. Instead, he stood back and settled in with striking. Moreno took him back down but was forced to retreat after Pettis used a triangle choke to initiate a scramble.

A little too loose for his own good, Moreno took several hard right hands as he channeled martial arts movies with his movement and left his head blatantly exposed. Pettis figured out he could land kicks as Moreno circled away, and head kicks started to land.

Pettis did his best work in the third frame, picking apart Moreno on the feet and opening a cut with a head kick. Gone was the smile on Moreno’s face as he bled and met diminishing returns with takedown attempts.

“His standup surprised me a lot,” Pettis said. “He gave me a different look. Kind of made me question my look, like an open style I had to adjust to.”

By the fourth round, Pettis no longer needed to fear the takedown. Moreno tried to make up some ground on the feet and instead caught more shots to the dome as sharp combinations cut off his wide attacks.

Told the fight was even by his corner, Moreno charged into a takedown in the final frame. He had his moment, yet he was unable to land any significant offense, and Pettis escaped to his feet, where he continued to control the stand-up action.

“I noticed he had his left hand down a lot, so I kept poking him with that jab,” Pettis said afterward. “He kept circling toward my left low kick, and I’ve got a funky switch-kick that I was catching him with. I just had to adjust my style, and it all worked out.”

Asked whom he’d like to take on next after taking out a fellow up-and-comer, Pettis deferred to the UFC in lieu of a title shot.

“I’ve got to wait for the higher powers to tell me what I want,” he said. “Obviously, I’d like a title shot, but there’s a lot of things I need to polish up to get there.”

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USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie rankings, Aug. 8: Sergio Pettis making run to the top

While his older brother is a former UFC champion, 23-year-old flyweight contender Sergio Pettis may soon find himself with a chance to wrap a UFC belt around his waist.

Pettis was victorious at this past weekend’s UFC Fight Night 114 event and now finds himself in the No. 6 position in the latest edition of the USA Today Sports/MMAjunkie MMA flyweight rankings.

Pettis (16-2 MMA, 7-2 UFC) survived a tough opening round against a game Brandon Moreno (14-4 MMA, 3-1 UFC) and battled back to dominate the final four frames in the altitude of Mexico City. With current UFC flyweight champ Demetrious Johnson set to face Ray Borg in September, Pettis believes a fight with Henry Cejudo, who currently sits at No. 3, makes the most sense for his next move.

Check out the updated flyweight rankings following this past weekend’s UFC Fight Night 114 event, which also Dustin Ortiz secure an impressive 15-second victory.

Filed under: Bellator, MMA Rankings, News, PFL, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

UFC Fight Night 114's Sergio Pettis calls for rebooking with Henry Cejudo, not title shot

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Filed under: Featured, News, UFC

MEXICO CITY – UFC flyweight Sergio Pettis won’t say he’s the No. 2 contender in the 125-pound division, even after stopping Brandon Moreno.

Despite an emphatic win over the red-hot prospect, Pettis is more interested in putting a would-be opponent on his win list rather than facing the winner of Demetrious Johnson’s (26-2-1 MMA, 14-1-1 UFC) possible record-setting title defense at UFC 215 against Ray Borg (11-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC).

“I’d like to fight again,” Pettis (16-2 MMA, 7-2 UFC) told MMAjunkie after his unanimous decision over Moreno (14-4 MMA, 3-1 UFC), which headlined the FS1-televised UFC Fight Night 114 at Mexico City Arena in Mexico. “I feel like me and Cejudo should go at it again.”

The thing is, Pettis and Henry Cejudo haven’t gone at it. They were booked to fight at UFC 211 in May, but Cejudo withdrew due to a hand injury.

It seems when you agree to fight Pettis, you never escape the target on your head.

“He kind of pulled out two days before, and I want to still touch that face,” said the No. 8 in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA flyweight rankings.

If anything, a win over a onetime title challenger would be a good resume boost. And it presumably keeps the winner of Johnson vs. Borg, which takes place Sept. 9 at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, on a parallel schedule.

Pettis has won four straight, making him just as good a candidate as any to fight for the title in a division cleared out by Johnson. But smartly, he wants to give himself the best chance to actually win the belt.

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 114, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

UFC Fight Night 114 video highlights: Sergio Pettis vs. Brandon Moreno

Filed under: News, UFC, Videos

After getting dominated in the first round, Sergio Pettis shut down Brandon Moreno’s takedown and took over on his feet.

Pettis (16-2 MMA, 7-2 UFC) soundly outstruck Moreno (14-4 MMA, 3-1 UFC) from the second frame into championship rounds to take home a unanimous decision via scores of 49-46 and 48-46 twice.

The flyweight bout was the main event of today’s UFC Fight Night 114 event at Mexico City Arena in Mexico. It aired on FS1 following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

Check out the highlights above.

Also see:

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 114, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie