Former Bantamweight champion, Dominick Cruz — who has just five fights in the past 8.5 years because of a litany of injuries — was somehow able to accept a short notice fight when Jose Aldo was trapped in Brazil, agreeing to challenge reigning 135-pound kingpin, Henry Cejudo, in the co-main event of UFC 249, which took place tonight (May 9, 2020) inside Vystar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida. For Cejudo, defeating Cruz — widely regarded as the best mixed martial arts (MMA) Bantamweight fighter ever — would be another huge feather in his cap. And he did just that, scoring a late — and perhaps controversial — second round stoppage and then, shockingly, retiring from the sport.
Cejudo — sporting a significant scar on his shoulder after recent surgery — came racing out to the center of the cage, hoping Cruz would meet him there. But, of course. Cruz and frenetic footwork would not be so easy to find; however, Cejudo was able to land four hard low kicks in the first two minutes, clearly a strategy to slow him down over the course of five rounds. Cruz eventually landed with a kick to the midsection, but Cejudo caught it and used it to take him down. Cruz popped up quick, then Cejudo went back to punishing his opponent’s legs. Cruz dove in with an occasional jab, but nothing of significance landed. Cejudo scored with a shot to the head, but Cruz circled away, angling for a shot. Cruz landed a low kick of his own, pairing it with a glancing blow across his brow. Cruz missed with a winging left at the bell.
Cruz came out for the second round a bit more aggressive, but Cejudo did a great job of reading the feints and punishing Cruz’s lower half. The exchanges began to heat up, with Cejudo just missing on a high kick. Cruz landed a hard right hand, and Cejudo responded in kind. Cruz attempted a take down with a minute remaining in the round, but Cejudo stuffed it. With just 23 seconds to go, the pair collided heads, splitting open Cejudo along his hairline. After a brief stoppage, the action resumed, with Cejudo landing a hard kick to Cruz’s face. Cruz was hurt, fell to his hands and knees, and Cejudo — knowing the clock was winding down — swarmed with punches in bunches. Cruz scrambled and turned away from the barrage of left hands, and just as he appeared to be trying to get to his feet, the referee intervened. Cruz was upset with the stoppage, but it was borderline. Nevertheless, Cejudo adds another impressive scalp to his collection. “Triple C” is carving out quite the resume lately, transforming from an Olympic wrestling champion to one of the most decorated mixed martial arts (MMA) fighters of all time.
Final Result: Cejudo defeats Cruz via technical knockout in round two
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