Petr Yan and Jose Aldo will battle for the vacant UFC Bantamweight Championship at UFC 251. Watch the UFC 251 PPV live stream on ESPN+.
Odds: Yan (-240) vs. Aldo (+220)
Yan is the betting favorite for this title fight as he steps into the cage on a nine-fight winning streak that dates back to 2016. Yan is undefeated in the UFC after six fights, with recent wins against Urijah Faber, Jimmie Rivera, and John Dodson making him a top pick to fight for the vacant title.
Former longtime featherweight champion Jose Aldo dropped down to the bantamweight division in December for the first time in his UFC career. Aldo fought to a close split decision with Marlon Moraes but was defeated on two scorecards. Regardless, the UFC chose Aldo as Yan’s opponent for this title following Henry Cejudo’s shock retirement.
ESPNMMA (@espnmma) July 10, 2020
Yan vs. Aldo play-by-play
Live play-by-play updates and highlights from Petr Yan vs. Jose Aldo as it happens at UFC 251.
Aldo reaching out feinting with his lead hand as per usual. Controlling the tempo so far and Yan goes to the body with a jab. A left high kick from Yan misses. A nice jab down the middle lands. A heavy leg kick from Aldo. Yan looking fast in this fight and catching Aldo by surprise when he opens up with strikes. Yan landing heavy shots. Aldo struggling to read Yan’s movements. Another heavy leg kick from Aldo lifts Yan and drops him to the canvas. Yan warned to keep his fingers in. Aldo seems to have gained the respect of Yan following that latest exchange. Yan high kick and Aldo attempts to land a punch in return. Aldo 1-2. Yan’s output has slowed in the last two minutes. He opens with a hook up high and then a right hook to the body. They’re standing incredibly close to each other — the fight is being contested in boxing range. Another devastating kick from Aldo lands to the lead leg of Yan. Yan jabs and then comes through with a big right hand. Aldo takedown attempt and Yan scrambles to evade. Yan enters the guard of Aldo. Yan punches the stomach of Aldo and Aldo is in pain. Yan throws more punches and the horn sounds to signal the end of the round. Yan punished Aldo for that failed takedown and that helped him secure the round.
The Body Lock scores round one for Petr Yan (10-9)
This resembles a Muay Thai fight with both fighters standing still in front of each other and Aldo consistently lifting his lead leg. Another big outside leg kick from Aldo. And then to the body. Yan has swapped stance and is now standing southpaw. Leg kicks are adding up. Yan unloads with a strong combination but Aldo shrugs it off his lead shoulder. Aldo rips the body of Yan with a left hook. Straight right to the body from Yan. More leg kicks from Aldo. Yan returns fire with a left body kick from his southpaw stance. Right jab, straight left from Yan. A very technical fight so far. Yan warned again for his outstretched fingers. Another inside leg kick from Aldo. Aldo working the body and legs of Yan in this second round and these strikes may have a significant impact later in the fight. A left straight from Yan lands with power to end the round.
The Body Lock scores round two for Jose Aldo (10-9) and the fight 19-19 after two rounds
Right body kick from Aldo. Yan enters the round in a southpaw stance and hiding his left leg. A body kick from Yan and Aldo misses with a counter punch. Again to the body from Yan. Both fighters are willing to stand right in front of the other. Aldo goes to the body with a left hook and follows it up to the same spot again. Hunts for the body again and now chases Yan back to the cage. Yan’s back is against the cage and Aldo is working. Yan escapes the danger and now resets to the middle of the cage. Aldo slips to outside of a Yan jab and they’re standing toe-to-toe. Another left hook to the body from Aldo. Yan now mixing it up with head and body strikes. Comes forward with a combination but Aldo pivots and resets. Spinning back elbow from Yan almost lands. Heavy strikes from both fighters. Yan landing with more impact to the head of Aldo. Aldo doing his best work to the body and legs.
A very close round but Yan was landing more often with heavier strikes to the head.
The Body Lock scores round three for Petr Yan (10-9) and the fight 29-28 for Yan after three rounds.
Yan and Aldo are standing right in front of each other. They tie up in the clinch but quickly separate. Yan landing body punches now. Aldo trying to push Yan back with feints and jabs. Aldo’s slip to the outside and a left hook to the body has worked well this fight. Yan starting to realize this, however, and was ready to counter that time. Jab and hook lands to the head of Aldo. Aldo now looking for uppercuts to split the guard of Yan. Knee to the body from Yan and then a trip attempt but Aldo’s balance keeps him upright. A nice combination from Yan sees him land to the body and head. Aldo’s output has slowed in round three and four. Yan now advancing and pressuring Aldo. Aldo seemingly waiting for the single powerful punch to end the night but Yan keeping the pace and landing multiple punches at a time. Aldo now covering up and Yan lands a clean uppercut. A takedown from Yan and now Aldo is on his back. Yan follows into his guard and stacks him but doesn’t pass the guard. He falls into full guard. Yan working Aldo on the mat now.
A strong round from Yan. He dominated the last few minutes of the action and likely earned a 10-8 round.
The Body Lock scores round four for Petr Yan (10-8) and the fight 39-36 for Yan after four rounds.
Yan drops Aldo with a combination of punches just seconds into round five. He passes into half guard and attempts to move into mount. Aldo’s arm is trapped in a semi-crucifix position with Yan’s other leg trapped by Aldo’s legs. Yan now punishing Aldo from the top position with repeated elbows and punches. He’s now moving to the back and is landing heavy shots. Aldo is in a world of pain as Yan stays heavy on top and keeps raining down heavy shots. Aldo isn’t fighting back and the fight could have been stopped after that last flurry of punches. Yan has now landed about 40 unanswered strikes. Aldo is face-down with his hands protecting the sides of his head. Ugly scenes. Yan is controlling all of the action. Yan keeps punishing Aldo and the referee finally stops the fight but it was far too late. Aldo took way too much unnecessary damage.
Official Result: Petr Yan def. Jose Aldo via TKO (ground and pound) – R5, 3:24
Not many people at 135 will be able to deal with Petr Yan for 25 minutes. The dude is a beast.
— Mike Skytte (@MikeLovesTacosX) July 12, 2020
Leon Roberts needs to be reprimanded for that. So much unnecessary damage #UFC251
— Patrick Auger, CBAP, PMP, CSM (@AllDayAuger) July 12, 2020
This is senseless. Aldo is done. Stop the fight.
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) July 12, 2020
Looks like Mazagatti put on his Leon Roberts costume today #UFC251
— Anthony Walker (@AntWalkerMMA) July 12, 2020
That’s the problem with waiting for *that one hard blow* to justify stopping the action…
The term INTELLIGENT DEFENSE needs to be exercised as broadly as the term itself is, especially in the name of safety.
Fantastic win for Yan, but hope Aldo is alright.
— Dan Tom (@DanTomMMA) July 12, 2020
UFC 251 Results
Saturday, July 11 – UFC Fight Island, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi
- Kamaru Usman def. Jorge Masvidal via unanimous decision (50-45, 50-45, 49-46) 🏆 (play-by-play)
- Alexander Volkanovski def. Max Holloway via split decision (48-47, 48-47, 47-48) 🏆 (play-by-play)
- Petr Yan def. Jose Aldo via TKO (ground and pound) – R5, 3:24 🏆 (play-by-play)
- Rose Namajunas def. Jessica Andrade via split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29) (play-by-play)
- Amanda Ribas def. Paige VanZant via submission (armbar) – R1, 2:21 (play-by-play)
- Jiri Prochazka def. Volkan Oezdemir via KO (punches) – R2, 0:49
- Muslim Salikhov def. Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos via split decision
- Makwan Amirkhani def. Danny Henry via submission (anaconda choke) – R1, 3:15
- Leonardo Santos def. Roman Bogatov via unanimous decision
- Marcin Tybura def. Maxim Grishin via unanimous decision
- Raulian Paiva def. Zhalgas Zhumagulov via unanimous decision
- Karol Rosa def. Vanessa Melo via unanimous decision
- Davey Grant def. Martin Day via KO/TKO (left hook) – R3, 2:38
Jake Nichols is The Body Lock's Editor in Chief. Previously, he was the MMA Editor at RealSport.