Cejudo 4th UFC fighter to hold 2 belts at once; Ferguson TKOs Cerrone

by Samuel Abasi Posted on June 9th, 2019

Chicago, Illinois: Just when it looked like Marlon Moraes may have found Henry Cejudo’s Kryptonite, Cejudo turned the tide and made UFC history.

Cejudo (15-2 MMA, 9-2 UFC), already the UFC’s flyweight champion, now is the bantamweight champ, as well, after a third-round TKO of Marlon Moraes (22-6-1 MMA, 4-2 UFC) in a fight for a belt vacated by the now drug-suspended T.J. Dillashaw.

Cejudo got the stoppage at the 4:51 mark of the middle frame after a barrage of punches and elbows on the canvas right in front of Moraes’ corner. Cejudo now is the fourth fighter in UFC history to hold two titles at the same time, joining Conor McGregor, Daniel Cormier and Amanda Nunes.

The vacant bantamweight title bout was the main event of Saturday’s UFC 238 show at United Center in Chicago. It aired on pay-per-view following prelims on ESPN and UFC Fight Pass/ESPN+.

Moraes kicked Cejudo’s left leg immediately, then went high with a kick moments later. Cejudo tried his own high kick, but Moraes easily slid out of the way. After a Cejudo kick, the two got into a brief firefight, then two more moments later. Moraes again went after Cejudo’s lead leg with a kick, but Cejudo stayed on his feet.

A little past two minutes in, Cejudo went for his first takedown and briefly had Moraes on the canvas. Back on the feet, Cejudo kicked high, then tried to follow it with several punches before Moraes countered. With a minute left, Moraes kicked to the body, then with 30 seconds left again attacked Cejudo’s down low.

The swinging continued from both fighters in the second. A spinning kick from Moraes was met with a right hand from Cejudo when he missed. But then Moraes went right back to attacking Cejudo’s legs. If Cejudo changed stances, Moraes just went after a different leg than the one he went after before.

Moraes briefly knocked Cejudo off his feet with two minutes left, and then the two started swinging again. They both landed and Cejudo tried to find some momentum with jabs. Moraes landed an uppercut, then ate a knee. But he answered with a head kick before backing up looking plenty wobbled. Cejudo continued to fire the jabs, and when Moraes clinched him up, Cejudo pounded his body.

With 30 seconds left Cejudo grabbed a Thai plum and landed three big knees. Somehow, Moraes stayed on his feet. They kept swinging down the stretch, but Cejudo rallied big time at the end of the frame with the knee onslaught.

Ninety seconds into the third, Cejudo tried to take Moraes down. When he popped back up, Cejudo again went after knees. When they tied up and went to the canvas again, Cejudo latched onto a choke that Moraes was able to roll out of. Moraes then kept himself grounded to avoid taking any knees to the head from Cejudo, but Cejudo instead pushed him to his back and landed several big punches.

Elbows followed with a minute left and Moraes in survival mode. Cejudo kept pounding away with punches and elbows, and did so more furiously when the 10-second clapper went off. With just a few seconds left, he got the TKO stoppage.

In a bout that seemed to live up to the fans’ expectations for a firefight, Tony Ferguson beat Donald Cerrone in what could have went down as an all-time classic – before it was halted for a cut.

Referee Dan Miragliotta waved off the fight between the second and third rounds after doctors looked at a massive cut near Cerrone’s right eye. Ferguson (25-3 MMA, 15-1 UFC) got the TKO win over Cerrone (36-12 MMA, 23-9 UFC), and the fans booed what they deemed a disappointing end to a thrilling slugfest.

In between rounds, Cerrone blew his nose – and it exacerbated the hematoma that already was under his right eye. And that led the doctors to shut things down.

“I just asked if they could push the air back down. That’s all I wanted,” Cerrone told Joe Rogan after the fight. “That was the fight I think everybody wanted. I’m so sorry. I don’t quit. I don’t back down. Man, I just wanted to keep fighting. I was just asking, ‘Can you just push the air back down?’ You’re right: I shouldn’t have blown my nose. I’m a veteran, I’m old school, and I should’ve known that. But I did, and I humbly couldn’t finish the fight, and I apologize.”

The lightweight bout was part of the main card of Saturday’s UFC 238 event at United Center in Chicago. It aired on pay-per-view following prelims on ESPN and UFC Fight Pass/ESPN+.

Cerrone kicked high right out of the gate, but Ferguson answered with one of the same. Cerrone tried to work a stiff jab when Ferguson tried to come inside, but Ferguson landed a jab of his own soon after. A strong left landed for Ferguson, but Cerrone worked through it and fired back. Cerrone pushed Ferguson back with a three-punch combo, then reset.

Just 100 seconds in, they started trading big bombs, then settled down for a few seconds of leg kicks. Cerrone landed, but Ferguson answered with a body kick. Then Cerrone just missed up high with a head kick and followed it with two punches to the chin. Ferguson was unfazed and fired back.

Ferguson nearly landed a spinning back elbow with 90 seconds left, and when they went back to the middle Ferguson was bleeding near his right eye. A big left landed for Cerrone with 25 seconds left near Ferguson’s cut, and when the 10-second clapper went off the two threw with gusto to the fans’ delight.

Cerrone fired a big head kick early in the second, then seemed to be wobbled briefly by a Ferguson punch. Ferguson looked like he was finding his range with kicks, then a big jab, and Cerrone seemed like he was slowing down a minute into the second. But the two kept trading. When Ferguson popped Cerrone’s head back, Cerrone just fired at him harder. Both were bloodied. Two minutes in, Ferguson threw a spinning elbow again, but Cerrone ducked under and landed a kick. Then Ferguson did land the spinning attack, but Cerrone stayed on his feet. They both kept landing, but neither went down.

With two minutes left, Cerrone changed things up and landed a driving takedown. But Ferguson was back up quickly and they went back to swinging. Cerrone had a big mouse under his right eye. They kept swinging and landing, but the biggest crowd response came when Ferguson landed a big right hand after the horn – though referee Dan Miragliotta hadn’t stepped in to break them yet.

With blood dripping down his chest from the massive cut under his eye, Miragliotta brought the cageside doctors in. They looked at his eye, and that wound up being all she wrote.

Image: Henry Cejudo celebrates after defeating Marlon Moraes.

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