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Jose Aldo is a phenomenal fighter, there is no other way to say it. He came into UFC 142 against a guy that was supposed to be the exact guy to beat him in Chad Mendes. Mendes was fast, agile and had great MMA wrestling. But all that didn't matter because Aldo is a better fighter.
Aldo was never taken down in the fight, a fact slightly tainted by a blatant fence grab to prevent from being put down once, and it seemed pretty clear from the first shot that Mendes was not going to have anything for Aldo on this night.
But the result of the fight (a crushing knee and punches TKO, for those who missed it) is not as important as what happened with Aldo in his native Brazil tonight. The second he got the knockout, he sprinted from the cage and into the crowd where he was mobbed by fans in love with what he had just done. Aldo was a star to some degree in Brazil, but this was the moment where he became a superstar in the country. This was Jose Aldo becoming something more than a fighter and more than a champion.
Jose Aldo is something special.
- Watching how quickly Anthony Johnson faded in the first round it was pretty clear that the guy wasn't healthy. I'm not saying he was sick, I'm saying he's killing himself to make weight, even at 185. When the story coming in is that doctors stepped in and told you that you must rehydrate, that's a sign that you're not doing things the healthy way.
- It was good to see Belfort get a big win, he's a hard guy to not root for. He was given a gift with Johnson not being active from top position and then very quick ref stand-ups. But once Johnson was clearly gassed and not able to attack, it was Vitor pouncing and showing that killer instinct.
- It was very interesting to hear Rogan say over and over that Johnson was at 186 and had to rehydrate on doctors orders and then push the idea that Johnson and Belfort were so close in weight on fight night that it really wasn't that unfair. Only to switch to saying how unprofessional it was multiple times during the interview with Belfort in the cage afterward.
- Rousimar Palhares winning by heel hook was entirely predictable. And, let's be real, that's awesome. How many other guys do you talk about rare finishing moves like a heel hook and act like it's just standard business and expected?
- Carlo Prater beating Erick Silva by DQ is going to be controversial either way. It looked to me like Silva landed several shots to the back of the head and I can see DQ'ing him to some extent. Given the lack of commission, I fully expect the UFC to change the result to a no contest. You can't reverse a loss into a win (you just can't, don't make me go into a long explanation of it).
- The real issue with the Prater/Silva fight is that there is no clear, accepted definition of back of the head. If it's the "mohawk" method, no, you don't DQ the guy. If it's the "headphone" method, then yes, you do DQ him. Until we get all referees on the same page, expect more of the same.
- Oh, and no, just because other incidents haven't been punished doesn't mean that no situation should be.
- I don't even know how to describe how awesome Edson Barboza's wheel kick knockout of Terry Etim was. It was one of the most spectacular knockouts I've ever seen in my years of watching any combat sport. It's the kind of knockout you'll never forget.
Much more after the jump.
- Thiago Tavares and Sam Stout put on a totally forgettable fight on the FX undercard. Stout was able to keep the fight standing up for much of the duration but didn't do enough work to earn the win. Tavares won, that's all there is to say really.
- I had a feeling that Gabriel Gonzaga would truck Ednaldo Oliveira and that's exactly what happened. Once he had a eel for Oliveira's range, he got inside, took him down and controlled him until he locked in the choke. It was a good return for Gonzaga and should temper expectations of how high Oliveira's ceiling is.
- Maybe it's not fair of me, but I'm hoping Michihiro Omigawa gets cut from the UFC. I find his fights pretty reliably boring and I don't think he's really good enough to hack it in the UFC. Yuri Alcantara dominated him until he ran out of gas in the third round. Alcantara has pretty good upside from what we've seen so far.
- Mike Pyle ran through Ricardo Funch like he was nothing. Pyle isn't going to challenge for a title in the UFC but he's going to dominate a lot of guys while being a fringe contender.