If the name Yosdenis Cedeno rings any kind of bell for you it's because he was one of the fighters to just barely miss the cut in Patrick Wyman's Searching for Future Champions series. The 28 year old Cedeno, born in Cuba, is a representative of the MMA Masters camp down in Florida, featuring Josh Samman, Amanda Nunes, and Luis Palomino. I can't find any information on what his other combat sports backgrounds might be. As a Cuban born fighter in MMA I almost have to feel like he must have had some amateur training in boxing, wrestling, or judo, but whether or not that's the case, I'm not sure. What I do know is that his power, technique and aggression far outweigh his somewhat underwhelming 9-2 record. Losses to former TUF champion Jonathan Brookins and Bellator standout Derek Campos are his only losses and while he hasn't had any "name" wins his level of competition has been largely very solid.
Watching him fight is all about thrilling entertainment, "The Pink Panther" as he styles himself, is very much a panther in the cage. He has quick movement and solid footwork and is constantly looking for opportunities to pounce on opponent's mistakes. He likes to dart out of range of incoming strikes and then quickly move back in under them with kicks and counter punches. His offensive wrestling is on point and he shoots a very quick double leg to counter over-aggressive pursuit. He's got a deep bag of fast, technical kicks that he'll employ liberally through fights to create opportunities and halt lateral movement. He's alright working from top position, but not an exceptional ground striker or an exceptional takedown defender. His athleticism covers a lot of gaps, but he's not a clean technician.
Cedeno's opponent will be 30 year old Ernest Chavez, hailing from Total MMA Studios in California. It's a small camp of which Chavez is the only notable fighter. Chavez brings an 7-0 record with him on his way into the cage, most recently plying his trade in BAMMA's USA arm where he recently captured the lightweight title. Unlike Cedeno, his short resume is also a fairly thin one with recent Bellator signee Stephen Martinez his most notable opponent.
Watching Chavez fight. it's pretty clear that he comes from a Muay Thai background. He likes to strike from the clinch with short punches, elbows, and knees. He's not an especially devastating striker, but he's consistent in his output and accuracy. Also notable, and a credit to his small camp, is that he seems to have pretty solid takedown defense. He's obviously looking to separate and create space when possible, but he works well in close to get under-hooks and maintain balance against an opponent's body lock. When punching at range he tends to lead with his face a bit and is pretty wide open with his strikes. Mostly he seems to use his range striking to close distance into the body lock. It's a great style of grinding wrestlers and boxers, but at the higher levels and against more advanced strikers it could get him into a lot of trouble. Chavez is set to take on Cedeno at UFC 170 on February 22.
Here's a look at a recent fight for Cedeno against Ryan DeRocher at CFA 9 to get us better acquainted with him.
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