In the featured prelim of tonight’s insane UFC 259 card, we saw the return of arguably the greatest bantamweight of all time. Former champion, Dominick Cruz (22-3) returned to take on one of the division’s top prospects, Casey Kenney (16-2-1).
For Dominick Cruz, this is his second fight is less than 12 months. The last time you could say that about Cruz was back in 2016 when he was the UFC bantamweight champion. In December of 2016, Cruz lost the title to Cody Garbrandt.
After that fight, we wouldn’t see Dominick Cruz back in the UFC until last May when he lost to Henry Cejudo. Many were unsure if we’d see Dominick Cruz again inside the octagon, but the former champion is motivated to make one more run at the bantamweight title.
Standing in his way was the rising prospect Casey Kenney. Kenney has been incredibly impressive since making the jump to the UFC from LFA. Since making his debut, Kenney has gone 5-1 inside the octagon.
The lone loss that he suffered was against top fifteen contender, Merab Dvalishvili. Kenney is on the verge of a top fifteen spot and if he was able to defeat the former UFC champion, you definitely would be seeing a number by his name next week.
UFC 259 Recap
The featured prelim at UFC 259 opened with a lot of classic movement from Dominick Cruz. Kenney pushed forward with instant pressure and Cruz attempted a takedown, but Kenney sprawled well. The two separated and went back to striking.
A couple of clean leg kicks land for Cruz. A few big punches thrown from Kenney, but Cruz defended well. A massive headkick lands for Cruz, but Kenney just eats it. Two more good kicks land for Cruz.
Kenney was pressing forward, but wasn’t landing in the first. Kenney starts throwing his own leg kicks. Cruz then pops Kenney with a couple of clean shots. The defense was on point from Dominick Cruz in the first as Kenney was missing badly.
Good lead uppercut lands for Cruz. A nice three punch combination lands for Cruz as Kenney throws a leg kick. A nice jab pops Cruz, but Kenney was starting to rack up leg kicks. First round at UFC 259 comes to a close and this was a clear round for the former champion.
A very promising first round for the former UFC champion. The second round started with a touch of the gloves and Kenney immediately went back to pressure. A powerful leg kick from Kenney buckles Dominick Cruz.
Cruz lands a good right hand that he tries to chain into a takedown, but Kenney defended. More leg kicks land for Casey Kenney. A nice straight right hand lands for Cruz, but the movement was less and less for Cruz.
A nice straight left lands for Casey Kenney. Casey Kenney was starting to find his range in the second and another powerful leg kick lands. A nice combination lands for Casey Kenney and some serious momentum was building for Kenney in the second.
Cruz lands a nice body shot then throws a shot up top. Kenney lands another powerful leg kick and Cruz was hurting. Cruz then explodes forward and hits Kenney clean with a few big shots.
Cruz lands a few more shots, but Kenney’s pressure and leg kicks were bothering Cruz. A nice clean combination lands for Kenney. The second round comes to a close and I think this is 1-1 after two at UFC 259.
Entering the final round at UFC 259 and this fight was up for grabs. The two men touch gloves and Kenney started back with the pressure. Cruz opens the striking with a few kicks and he wings some big punches.
The former champion was trying hard for the takedown. Kenney tries to get a guillotine choke, but Cruz was able to get side control which prevented the choke from getting in too deep. Cruz was stacking Kenney nicely and had good top control.
Cruz slips his head up and Kenney gets right back up. Halfway through the round and this is still anyone’s fight. A clean 1-2 lands for Dominick Cruz. Kenney lands a couple of clean shots, but he was looking a little tired.
However, Kenney was pushing forward like a zombie. A few big shots land for Kenney and he tries for a takedown. A big straight left lands for Kenney. Cruz then pushes forward with his own big combination.
Both men were looking tired and both were swinging big. Kenney lands a few big shots then tries for a takedown. Cruz lands a big knee to the body. Dominick Cruz lands a big takedown with thirty seconds left. The round comes to a close and Dominick Cruz should get the win at UFC 259.
Dominick Cruz def. Casey Kenney by Split Decision (29-28, 28-29, 30-27)