In 2016, a young Petr Yan with a 5-1 record traveled to Brazil to train with Team Nova Uniao. Then coming off his first loss, he arrived just in time as Jose Aldo was preparing for his UFC 200 rematch with Frankie Edgar.
Present in that same training camp was former Bellator bantamweight champion Eduardo Dantas, who was preparing for his own title bout against Marcos Galvao. Having had the chance to train with both fighters, “DuDu” is giving Aldo the upper hand.
“Based on the training I had with Yan and Aldo — we’re obviously in a different time now, four years later — you can’t compete them technically,” Dantas told MMA Fighting. “I’ve seen so-called specialists say that Yan’s boxing and kickboxing are better than Junior’s. I think that’s a huge mistake because if you really analyse their boxing, it’s completely different.
“If you stop and look at the strikers they have fought, it’s completely different. If Yan fought one guy that is tough on the feet, that’s already too much,” he pointe out. “You can’t compare. Yan might be younger, he’s coming fully motivated, he trains really hard, but you can’t compare them technique-wise. To me, Junior is way more complete.”
After four years since that training camp, Aldo and Yan will face each other for the vacant bantamweight title at UFC 251. Given his assessment and seeing both men train together, Dantas is picking Aldo to win via second-round knockout.
“It’s a good matchup because Yan and Aldo move forward the whole time,” Dantas explained. “My hunch is Junior knocks him out in the second round. If he doesn’t knock him out, it would be five rounds of suffering for Yan, getting beat up a lot. Of course that Yan has great cardio and Junior is rising…
“If I had to guess, I’d bet on Junior by second-round knockout.”
UFC 251 will kick off the first event on “Fight Island.” It takes place on July 11 at Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, and will feature two other title fights: Kamaru Usman vs. Gilbert Burns and Alexander Volkanovski vs. Max Holloway 2.