Petr Yan staked his claim for a title shot with a great win over Jimmie Rivera at UFC 238 behind a pair of knockdowns.
Petr Yan is the next big thing at bantamweight. The Russian made a splash early in his career by winning the ACB bantamweight grand prix in 2015. After a loss in 2016, Yan won his next three fights to earn a UFC contract. Those wins included a defense of the ACA bantamweight title. The 26-year-old made his Octagon debut last June, knocking out Teruto Ishihara and has won three fights since then, most recently defeating John Dodson.
Jimmie Rivera won 16 of his first 17 fights outside the UFC, including four wins in Bellator with a victory over Brian Kelleher. The former CFFC champion won his first five fights in the Octagon, defeating Pedro Munhoz, Urijah Faber, and Thomas Almeida. Since then, however, he’s lost two of three to top contenders Aljamain Sterling and Marlon Moraes.
Petr Yan walked down Jimmie Rivera early, taking control of the Octagon. Yan was looking to enter with big hooks, but Rivera’s defense was smooth and made Yan pay for his aggression with strikes from the clinch. Rivera was mixing in leg kicks as well as Yan tried to develop a jab. After struggling to get going in the first four minutes, Yan shot for a takedown but Rivera defended that too. In the waning seconds of the round, Rivera was floored by a big left hook. With short time remaining, Rivera survived after eating a knee to the body.
Yan came out with a combination and connected with a left hand, eating two rights in response. Rivera landed a heavy leg kick that caused Yan to switch stances temporarily. Rivera had momentum up until a huge left high kick that rocked Rivera. The only thing that kept him standing was a takedown attempt against the cage. Yan broke free and started to open up. An uppercut to right-hand combo dropped Rivera at the very end of the round again, putting Yan clearly ahead on the scorecards.
— UFC (@ufc) June 9, 2019
Rivera came out very aggressively in the final round, shooting for takedowns with a lot behind them. It wasn’t enough to put the athletic Russian on his back though. Rivera was winging bombs, and connected at times, but Yan continued to push forward with his own arsenal of strikes. After a slow start in the fight, Yan took over and showed why there is so much hype surrounding him.
Petr Yan def. Jimmie Rivera by Unanimous Decision (29-28 x2, 30-27)