The vacant UFC bantamweight title will be up for grabs when former featherweight champion Jose Aldo faces Petr Yan on ‘Fight Island’ on July 11, but who will leave UFC 251 as the new king of the 145lb division.
Petr Yan v Jose Aldo: Where is UFC 251 Being Held?
‘Fight Island’ sounds like something you would have seen in a Jean Claude Van Damme movie in the 80s/90s, but it is a real thing and UFC president Dana White has now confirmed that it is Yas Island in Abu Dhabi.
The UFC will host four events at this venue in July, starting with the huge UFC 251 card featuring three title fights on July 11. One of those bouts sees Jose Aldo and Petr Yan fight for the bantamweight belt recently vacated by Henry Cejudo.
Road To UFC 251: Petr Yan v Jose Aldo
The bantamweight division needs a new champion after Henry Cejudo made the shock decision to hang up his gloves in May. Moments after stopping former champion Dominick Cruz in the second round of their contest, ‘Triple C’ revealed to Joe Rogan that his days as an MMA fighter were over, although he later walked that back a little by suggesting he could be tempted to return to competition if the right monetary offer was made.
No monetary offer has been made by White or the UFC, instead they will look to crown a new champion in the bantamweight division on July 11. The choice of fighters for the bout will be questioned though, with third-ranked Petr Yan facing sixth-ranked Jose Aldo.
Aldo’s CV speaks for itself – he is one of the greatest fighters in the history of the sport, a man who enjoyed an incredible run atop the featherweight division. Then WEC-champion Aldo was promoted to being UFC bantamweight champion when the WEC was absorbed into the UFC back in 2011, and he made a string of defences against the best the division had to offer before seeing his reign and decade-long unbeaten streak come to an end at the hands of Conor McGregor in just 13 seconds.
The 33-year-old Brazilian made a swift return to the mountain top as he won the interim belt in his next outing and was then promoted to undisputed champion, but his reign proved to be brief as Max Holloway stopped him in the third round of their June 2017 contest before again halting them in the third round in their rematch several months later.
Aldo rebounded with back-to-back wins over Jeremy Stephens and Renato Moicano, but after losing to Alexander Volkanovski he made the move to bantamweight and his debut in the 145lb division was ruined by a split decision defeat at the hands of Marlon Moraes. However, despite that defeat he will now get a title shot!
Looking to prevent Aldo from becoming a two-weight champion is Petr Yan. The 27-year-old has enjoyed a fairly rapid rise up the rankings since arriving in the UFC back in 2018, reeling off six straight victories to surge up the pecking order. His most recent victory came back in December of last year when he took out Urijah Faber with a head-kick in the third round, and if he can now knock another legendary name then he will complete his rise to the very top of the bantamweight division.
So can Aldo turn back the clock to become the latest UFC fighter to have won titles in two different weight classes, or will Yan complete his rise to stardom by inflicting a third straight defeat on the former featherweight kingpin? Read on for our Petr Yan v Jose Aldo UFC 251 predictions and tips…
Petr Yan v Jose Aldo UFC 251 Predictions & Tips
There is no doubting that Jose Aldo is one of all-time greats in the lighter weight classes, but that air of invincibility he once had surrounding him is long gone with five of his last eight fights ending in defeat, including each of the last two. His first outing at bantamweight ended in defeat and while he was hardly taken apart by Marlon Moraes over three rounds, the once feared striker was beaten to the punch and could match the number of significant strikes landed by his fellow countryman.
No in Petr Yan he is coming up against a man who is on the rise in the bantamweight division. The 27-year-old Russian has caught the eye with a string of impressive performances since inking a deal with the UFC, and his mix of high-level striking and wrestling will be too much for Aldo to cope with. The former featherweight champion is much more ‘hittable’ than he once was – Yan will outstrike him, then turn to his wrestling to wear down and beat up Aldo for the finish inside five rounds. Then Bruce Buffer will take centre-stage to declare “AND NEW”, confirming the coronation of the new top dog in the bantamweight ranks.