For the first time in UFC history, the featherweight championship headlined a pay-per-view event this past Saturday night. For the second time in five months the UFC put on a card for the Brazilian natives; which is widely considered the birthplace of modern MMA. The crowd was again electric as four straight victories went in favor to the fighters from Brazil on the main card. This was leading to the main event Jose Aldo, a Brazilian native himself, defending his championship against Chad “Money” Mendes, a United States native.
You could definitely see the intense excitement from the champ during his walk out to the octagon. I was curious to see if that would lead to him over extending himself and ending up in bottom position. Having an experienced wrestler with punching power like Mendes in your guard when you are exhausted is the best way to lose your title. However, once he entered the Octagon and went to his corner he closed his eyes and lowered his head. The dangerous and experienced Aldo started to take over the body of the personally excited Aldo. On the other hand Mendes had a great blend of excited but focused at the same time.
The fight began with Mendes landing low leg kicks to Aldo’s lead leg. Both fighters used an enormous amount of hand and upper body faints early in the bout. Mendes tried to throw combinations to have Aldo respect his striking to no doubt set up takedowns later in the round and fight. Aldo was able to control the distance and avoid any major striking blows from the challenger. Mendes started to shoot in for takedowns after trying to land his combinations, but Aldo was able to escape all single leg takedown attempts. However, Mendes did manage to drag the champion to the ground a few times, but Aldo quickly returned to his feet and separate.
Mendes finally is rewarded for his efforts and got a hold of Aldo’s back and claps his hands around the waist of Aldo. With less than ten seconds left in the round Aldo broke the hands of Mendes turned around quickly to face his opponent. With “Money” seeing another opportunity for a takedown, he lowered his head and dove forward. With Aldo’s excellent timing, he threw a left knee that connected with Mendes’ face, under the right eye. Mendes’ upper body and head went flying backwards to the mat as his legs went limp from the hit. Aldo pounced in for the finish and the ref ended the fight with one-second left on the clock.
Aldo could no longer hold his excitement with in himself immediately after the ref calls an end to the fight. The champion sprinted to the nearest and least guarded octagon door. He directly headed into the crowd who begins to swarm all over their native son. Security tried desperately to secure the fighter and bring him back to the cage. It is not until a fan put Aldo on his shoulders that the security could even see him.
Jose Aldo wins via knockout at 4:59 of round 1 to retain the featherweight championship
Next Training Session:
Aldo needs to continue what he has been doing since 2005.
Mendes needs to work on setting up takedowns with his striking.
Aldo is well on his way to cleaning out the division. At this point it may only take a few fight win streak to challenge for the title. With the integration of The Ultimate Fighter Season 14 cast, the pool just got bigger. Look for someone from that group to make a statement fast and challenge Aldo.
Mendes could challenge Mark Hominick to solidify who is back on the title hunt.
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