The highly anticipated bantamweight title fight at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, ended with Aljamain Sterling emerging victorious over former champion Henry Cejudo. The fight headlined the pay-per-view card and was highly competitive, with both fighters showcasing their skills and techniques.
Sterling managed to land crucial takedowns and was more active in striking, ultimately securing a split decision win (47-48, 48-47, 48-47) in his third title defense. Despite the close nature of the fight, Sterling’s victory was disputed, with many fans and experts arguing that Cejudo deserved the win.
Cejudo’s Return to the Octagon
The fight was Cejudo’s first since his abrupt retirement following a May 2020 title defense against Dominick Cruz. Despite being away from the sport for three years, Cejudo showed no signs of ring rust and gave Sterling a tough challenge throughout the fight. Although he could not keep Sterling down or make him pay, Cejudo managed to take him down and excelled in striking during the championship rounds.
As per the UFC main card betting odds, the fight was expected to be a close one, and both fighters lived up to the expectations. Despite the loss, Cejudo was gracious in defeat, acknowledging Sterling’s toughness and admitting that the fight was closer than he initially thought.
Sterling’s Impressive Victory
Sterling’s victory was another example of the odd results that have prevented him from being considered the best fighter in the sport’s most talented division. Nevertheless, his performance was equally impressive, like his victory over Petr Yan in 2022, as he employed movement and kicks to keep Cejudo guessing throughout the fight.
Sterling’s success in striking led him to win the fight, and he was able to persistently execute takedowns despite Cejudo’s impressive takedown defense.
Sterling’s Challenge to O’Malley
During the post-fight interview, Sterling began promoting a potential autumn clash with Sean O’Malley, the leading contender, which resulted in both fighters being separated inside the ring. O’Malley had joined the fray and provoked Sterling, resulting in a strained altercation between the two fighters.
Sterling dared O’Malley to a bout in September, and since then, the two have been trading barbs on various social media platforms.
Muhammad’s Impressive Win
Belal Muhammad secured his place in a title fight with a five-round decision win over Gilbert Burns on the UFC 288 card. Despite accepting the fight on three weeks’ notice and while observing Ramadan, Muhammad controlled the fight’s pace and was able to outstrike and out-grapple Burns.
Burns also sustained an injury to his left arm in the middle of the fight, which limited his effectiveness. Muhammad is now expected to face the winner of the current champion Leon Edwards and the former two-time title challenger Colby Covington.
The bantamweight title fight between Sterling and Cejudo was highly competitive, with both fighters showcasing their skills and techniques. Although Sterling emerged victorious, many fans and experts disputed the decision, arguing that Cejudo deserved the win.
Sterling’s victory marked his 14th win at 135 pounds, making him the most successful bantamweight fighter in UFC history. Meanwhile, Muhammad’s impressive win over Burns has secured his place in a title fight and cemented his status as a top contender in the welterweight division.
The UFC continues to provide fans with thrilling fights and exciting matchups, and what the future holds for Sterling, Cejudo, and Muhammad remains to be seen.