Top-ranked Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Flyweight contenders Henry Cejudo and Jussier Formiga collided in a likely title eliminator last night (Nov. 21, 2015) at UFC Fight Night 78 inside Monterrey Arena in Monterrey, Mexico.
Though he struggled initially with his weight cuts, Cejudo has since been rather consistent inside the Octagon. The Olympian may have been less than two full years into his professional career, but he was nonetheless looking to earn a title shot here.
Formiga had a rough start to his UFC career, but he nonetheless rebounded with some strong wins prior to this bout. A massive underdog, Formiga had an opportunity to steal all of his opponent's momentum and make it his own.
Instead, neither fighter was all that impressive.
Both fighters were a bit slow to start the bout, but the two established their roles quickly. Cejudo looked to bounce in with big punches, while Formiga looked to counter his opponent coming in.
Overall, the round was pretty close, as the fighters largely traded evenly. However, Cejudo shifted the advantage towards his favor by following his combinations with successful clinch strikes. Plus, he scored a single leg takedown with just seconds remaining, which helped solidify his control of the round.
Formiga definitely needed to step it up, heading into the second round.
To his credit, Formiga definitely got a bit more aggressive. He began to initiate more exchanges rather than just counter punching, and that allowed him to land a few nice right hands.
While it was close -- and some will surely disagree with me -- I think Formiga got the better of his opponent overall. He simply landed the harder strikes. However, Cejudo was controlling the center of the Octagon and did throw a bit more, so it was far from a clear-cut round for either fighter.
The third round was more of the same, but this time Cejudo shifted the momentum back towards his corner. Early on, Cejudo simply threw more than his opponent, and Formiga shelled up a bit. Then, he scored with a big -- but brief -- takedown that definitely scored him some points.
Additionally, Cejudo made it even more clear by staying in the clinch for longer periods of time. This helped Cejudo control his opponent against the fence as well as land some knees and elbows.
In the end, Cejudo controlled enough of the fight to earn the victory.
This was another fairly standard Cejudo performance. Despite his Olympic success, he's not an incredibly dominant wrestling inside the Octagon. He'll score an occasional takedown, but he has struggled to hold his opponents down or create offense from his takedown.
However, Cejudo's wrestling allows him to be fearless with his forward movement. Since his opponent cannot counter Cejudo's bursts with a reactive takedown -- at least, no one has been able to yet -- they're forced to trade punches with him. Cejudo is a solid combination boxer with good power, so those exchanges suit him and allow him to control the fight.
Will it be enough to dethrone "Mighty Mouse?" Personally, I doubt it, but Cejudo has definitely earned his opportunity to face off with the champion.
Formiga had the ability to potentially win this fight -- and he did on one judge's scorecard -- but his lack of confidence in his stand up got the better of him. Formiga's hesitance to throw when he's not in control has plagued his UFC career, and this fight was no different.
In this bout, there were moments were Formiga would simply do nothing. Meanwhile, Cejudo would be feinting and moving forward. Not only was Cejudo setting up his next attack, but in the eyes of the judges, he was the active fighter leading the dance and working.
That's why he won.
It's tough to see where Formiga goes from here. He's been fighting for a fairly long time, and while he has improved quite a bit, the same flaws are holding him back. At this point, he has no other option but to take a step back in competition and face off with someone like Dustin Ortiz.
Last night, Henry Cejudo out-boxed Jussier Formiga en route to a decision victory. Can Cejudo win the Flyweight title?
For complete UFC Fight Night 78 "Gastelum vs Magny" results and play-by-play click HERE!