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Petr Yan crushes broken and bloody Jose Aldo late, wins Bantamweight belt

When Bantamweight Henry Cejudo decided to abruptly retire from mixed martial arts (MMA) earlier this year, it opened up the door for former Featherweight deity, Jose Aldo, to join the short — but growing — list of fighters to hold belts in two different divisions. To carve his name into the history books, “Scarface” had to topple Petr Yan, the No. 3-ranked 135-pound fighter who was perfect (6-0) since making his Octagon debut just two years ago.

Aldo and Yan collided tonight at UFC 251, which took place inside Flash Forum on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. It was competitive for 3.5 rounds before Yan put his foot on the gas pedal, surging late with a brutal attack that left Aldo a bloody, beaten mess in the fifth round (watch it).

Yan scored first with a leg kick, taking a page out of Aldo’s legendary playbook early. He missed with a high kick, but then connected with a nice hard jab down the middle. Yan missed with a hard right hand, but then connected with one moments later, but it didn’t appear to faze Aldo. In fact, he responded with a low kick that took Yan off his feet then followed it up with a monster body shot. Aldo was the busier of the two as the round winded down, but didn’t really land anything super effective. He scored with his legs, while Yan landed a hard right hand. Aldo attempted to take the fight to the ground in the final minute, but it was a major mistake — Yan drilled him with a body shot from the top position that appeared to really hurt Aldo. He landed some shots upstairs as Aldo covered up ... eventually he was saved by the bell.

Aldo appeared to recover between rounds, but he did have a huge red welt in the location of his liver. He adopted a Muay Thai stance early in the second frame, unleashing those terrifying leg kicks. Yan clearly didn’t like them, so he closed the distance to get out of range. Aldo then started to target Yan’s midsection, ripping punches on either side. The pair flurried at the end, but it was a solid comeback round for Aldo.

Aldo continued his assault on Yan’s body with a hard kick to the stomach to start the third round. Yan fired back with a kick of his own, then a sidekick down the middle. Yan connected with a hard left hand, but Aldo walked right through it. Aldo caught him along the cage and once again went after Yan’s ribcage with a monster hook that connected. Aldo snapped Yan’s head back with a hard right hand, while the Russian countered with a multi-punch combination that just missed its mark. Uppercut from Aldo, followed by a knee, but Yan made him pay moments later with hard counter shots upstairs. Aldo hit a spinning back elbow at the buzzer, but Yan didn’t even flinch.

Headed into the championship rounds, the fight was super close — it could go either way. Yan started the fourth round with a purpose, going after the Brazilian and forcing the action. He was out-landing Aldo with significant strikes at a considerable clip. He appeared to be the fresher fighter, too, as Aldo circled away from the action and was taking some deep breaths. He landed two huge uppercuts and a right hand to the temple that really seemed to take the life out of Aldo. He pulled guard to avoid the abuse, but Yan just laid it on thick from top position, bouncing Aldo’s head off the canvas until the fourth round ended. Aldo needed a finish or a huge fifth and final round to be victorious.

But, Yan dropped him seconds into the final frame, caught him in a crucifix along the fence and beat the crap out of him. Aldo squirmed and rolled, but Yan continued his brutal assault. Aldo — a bloody mess — rolled to his belly, but Yan boxed his ears. The referee pleaded with him to “fight back,” but Aldo could do nothing but cover up. If the referee wasn’t going to stop it, his corner should have — Aldo sustained major, unnecessary damage for several minutes. Once the referee did finally intervene, Aldo couldn’t even move from the spot where Yan beat the hell out of him.

The good news for the future hall of famer is that he is, somehow, still just 33 years old. He put up a brave fight, but Yan was just way too much down the stretch to handle.

And new! is delivering LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 251 PPV main card RIGHT HERE, right now.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC 251: “Usman vs. Masvidal” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.

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