Yan Drops Rivera Twice, Settles For Decision Win
Top 10-ranked Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Bantamweight contenders, Jimmie Rivera (No. 7) and Petr Yan (No. 9), clashed tonight (Sat., June 8, 2019) on UFC 238’s pay-per-view (PPV) main card from inside United Center in Chicago, Ill., with the winner inching closer to a potential 135-pound title shot down the road.
It was a tough, gritty fight that lasted three rounds, with Yan edging out Rivera on all three judges scorecards.
Rivera — who had dropped two of his last three bouts — started things off with a few low kicks, but Yan — who was riding a four-fight UFC win streak heading into the match — easily avoided the strikes. Yan missed with a looping overhand right, which gave Rivera an opportunity to attempt a takedown, but the Russian defended well and remained upright. Rivera continued to fire off low kicks, while Yan continued to miss with wild, looping shots. Midway through the opening round, Rivera landed a solid uppercut, but Yan barely budged. With one minute to go, Yan attempted a single-leg takedown, but Rivera pushed him away. Moments later, Rivera scored a takedown of his own, but Yan got back to his feet quickly and then dropped the New Jersey native with a big left hand with seconds left in the round — it was a hard shot that bounced off Rivera’s nose. He was able to survive to see the second stanza.
Yan drilled Rivera again with another left early to start the second round, but this time Rivera responded with a hard shot of his own. Rivera continued to abuse Yan’s lead leg, causing “No Mercy” visual discomfort. Yan uncorked two big kicks to the body in response, but left him open for a huge counter shot from Rivera. Later in the round, Rivera landed several solid body shots and finished with an overhand right that seemed to stun Yan. But then Rivera trapped him along the fence and planted a shin across the bridge of Rivera’s nose, busting him open. Once again at the end of the round, Yan dropped Rivera with a huge uppercut. He was able to survive to see the third and final frame.
Between rounds, Rivera’s corner told him he needed a knockout to win the fight. And Rivera followed the advice early, stalking Yan with a sense of urgency. Yan, though, was more than game, drilling Rivera with another uppercut that sent his mouthpiece flying across the Octagon. The pair traded hard shots for the remained of the round, but no matter what Rivera threw or landed, he could not seem to hurt the durable Russian.
In the end, Yan was able to win the three-round battle despite Rivera hitting him with everything he had. That’s now five straight UFC wins for Yan, who will more than likely get a Top 5-ranked opponent sooner rather than later, which would undoubtedly get him that much closer to a potential 135-pound title shot.
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