Jose Aldo’s reign as the UFC Featherweight Champion continued Saturday night after a first round knockout of challenger Chad Mendes. The first round saw Mendes unable to land a takedown attempt after a handful of tries. Aldo was able to successfully slip or stuff each attempt, defending his legacy as the least taken down fighter in UFC history.
The early goings of the fight saw the two men exchange leg kicks. Mendes decided to execute his gameplan and control Aldo with takedowns, but Aldo’s takedown defense was too much for the D-1 wrestler. At one point, Mendes was able to take Aldo’s back and attempted to slam him. Aldo quickly grabbed the fence to prevent himself from being dropped. Mario Yamasaki warned Aldo about the fence grabbing, but Mendes wouldn’t be conscious long enough to reap any rewards. After two other failed takedown attempts from the back, Aldo was able to break Mendes’s grip, whip around and knee the wrestler in the head. Aldo followed up with two more punches on the ground, but Mendes was clearly in another dimension, already.
The official stoppage came at 4:59 of Round 1.
After the fight, Aldo ran out into the Brazilian crowd where he was mobbed, hoisted up on their shoulders, and celebrated the victory with his countrymen.
Johnson misses weight, still submitted by Belfort
The talk around MMA circles all weekend was about the way that Anthony “Rumble” Johnson missed weight so dramatically in his co-main event bout against Vitor Belfort. Johnson was contracted to fight at 185 against the Phenom, but weighed in officially at 197. It was later revealed that he had to rehydrate before the weigh ins at a doctors behest. Regardless, Johnson had to forfeit 20% of his purse to Belfort before the fight even took place.
Another stipulation placed on Johnson was that he could not weigh more than 205 on the day of the fight, otherwise the bout would be cancelled. Johnson was able to meet the weight limit, although looked noticeably not-himself in the octagon against Belfort.
Johnson came out swinging, one can only assume hoping to end things early and not be dragged out into the deeper rounds by Belfort. Johnson did land a few nice shots and was even able to take Belfort down with a nasty slam. Belfort scrambled, was able to regain his composure and get Johnson off of him temporarily. However, Johnson jumped back into Vitors guard with a gnarly right hand that cracked the Brazilian. Johnson’s ground and pound was virtually non-existant other than a few shots here and there. Belfort was able to wrap the inflated American wrestler up to get a standup from Dan Mirgliotta.
It should be noted that there was some controversy about the standups in this bout, as Mirgliotta didn’t waste any time in getting the two fighters to their feet when the action slowed. From my point of view, it didn’t appear that, at the time of standup, either man was able to advance their gameplan. However, it was interesting to see 2 standups in the first round, alone.
As the round came to a close, Vitor began to get the better of Johnson in their exchanges and was able to tie him up. Johnson wisely kept a knee or hand on the ground to avoid eating a face full of Belforts knee. Belfort adjusted accordingly and took Johnson’s back. At that point, all Belfort had to do was unload a handful of shots underneath Rumble’s arms to soften him up. Rumble’s defense began to ease and Belfort sunk his arm in under the chin to secure the rear naked choke.
The tapout came at 4:49 of Round 1.
Rousimar Palhares was able to secure a first round submission over Mike Massenzio with a heel hook.
Edson Barboza had one of the most amazing out-of-nowhere knockouts over Terry Etim in the third rount. Barboza hit Etim with a spinning wheel kick that stiffened the Brit up, immediately.
Carlo Prater defeated Erica Silva by a VERY controversial decision by Mario Yamasaki. Yamasaki deemed that Silva had hit Prater in the back of the head excessively in their quick 40 second bout and declared Prater the winner by DQ. Joe Rogan even called on Yamasaki to defend his decision in the post-fight interview. This one will probably get overturned.
Also, Gabriel Gonzaga got a win last night.