UFC 238: Henry Cejudo claims Bantamweight World Championship with win over Marlon Moraes

Cejudo. Photo credit: Getty

American Henry Cejudo has been crowned a dual-division world champion, after fighting back to finish Marlon Moraes in the main event of UFC 238 in Chicago.

Cejudo's third-round TKO victory adds the formerly vacant UFC bantamweight belt, alongside the flyweight title he won from Demetrious Johnson last year, in a trophy cabinet that also includes an Olympic wrestling gold medal.

'The Messenger' becomes just the fourth UFC fighter to own concurrent division belts, alongside Conor McGregor, Daniel Cormier, and Amanda Nunes.

After absorbing some heavy leg-kick damage from the Brazilian in the opening round, Cejudo completely swung the momentum in the second, landing knees in the clinch and ramping the pace up to a level Moraes was unable to match.

He came close to forcing a submission tap in the third round, but the ensuing ground and pound soon forced the referee to bring a halt to proceedings.

The 32-year-old - his Olympic medal dangling between belts draped over each shoulder - immediately proclaimed himself the best combat sports athlete of all time, reeling off a wishlist of opponents that included former champs Dominick Cruz and Cody Garbrandt.

In the co-main event of the evening, Valentina Shevchenko sent the crowd at the United Center into stunned silence, with a thunderous second-round head kick finish of Jessica Eye to defend her flyweight title.

The former kickboxing world champion established her dominance on the feet through the opening round, before unleashing a highlight-reel strike that did her 'Bullet' moniker justice - rendering Eye unconscious, before she even hit the mat.

Shevchenko's celebration was suitably muted, as her opponent lay limp in the centre of the Octagon for a few nerve-wracking minutes. Eye eventually awoke and made her way back to her feet, and a collective sigh of relief was breathed.

It's just the second woman's head-kick finish in UFC history, matched only by Holly Holm's iconic KO of Ronda Rousey in 2015.

Shevchenko delivers the finishing blow to Eye.
Shevchenko delivers the finishing blow to Eye. Photo credit: Getty

Earlier, the bout widely labelled the 'people's main event' between lightweights Donald Cerrone and Tony Ferguson ended in disappointing fashion.

Ferguson was awarded a TKO win, after the doctor deemed Cerrone unfit to continue at the end of round two, due to a swollen eye, which may have been worsened as a result of a late punch after the hooter had sounded.

While 'El Cucuy' had clearly taken the ascendency through the second stanza with his trademark pressure and unpredictable striking, the finish took much of the gloss away from what was shaping as a landmark win.

Nevertheless, Ferguson seems firmly set as the number-one contender to take on the winner of the lightweight title unification bout between Dustin Poirier and Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 242 in Abu Dhabi in September.

Further down the main card, Australian heavyweight Tai Tuivasa dropped a tight unanimous decision to Bulgarian Blagoy Ivanov and Tatiana Suarez overwhelmed Nina Ansaroff to move to the front of the queue to become the first challenger to Jessica Andrade's strawweight belt.