In the co-main event at UFC 169: Barao vs. Faber II, UFC Featherweight champion Jose Aldo (23-1 MMA; 5-0 UFC) takes on challenger Ricardo Lamas (14-2 MMA; 4-0 UFC). This 5 round title fight is the second to last fight on the five fight PPV card. The UFC Rankings have champion Aldo at #2 on the Pound for Pound list behind only Jon Jones. Lamas is the #2 contender at Featherweight. UFC 169: Barao vs. Faber II airs live on PPV from Newark, NJ this Saturday, February 1 with a fight time of 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT for the main card.
While this may not be as flashy a fight on paper as some other title fights, it's definitely a much deserved shot for Lamas. Aldo's recent fights against new Featherweight Frankie Edgar, The Korean Zombie, and his much discussed but yet to materialize fight with Anthony Pettis have frustrated some Featherweights who feel they deserve a shot. Chief among those frustrated fighters has been Ricardo Lamas. Now, he gets his chance to show why he should have the shot. To win, he'll need to use his grinding wrestling to outwork the superb striker Aldo.
Bloody Elbow's own Kid Nate, Dallas Winston and Connor Ruebusch broke down this bout in the MMA Vivisection for UFC 169:
How do these two stack up?
Aldo: 27 years old | 5'7" | 70" reach
Lamas: 31 years old | 5'8" | 70" reach
What have these two done recently?
How did these two get here?
Jose Aldo just keeps winning. The final WEC Featherweight champion and inaugural UFC champion has now won 16 in a row, taking out virtually every possible contender at Featherweight along the way. He's entered that GSP territory where his dominance has created a lack of viable contenders - hence the talk of an Aldo vs. Pettis superfight. With his impressive strikes and strong all around game, Aldo's status as #2 Pound for Pound is well deserved. The big question with him is how much longer he stays at 145, as the cut has been tough at times. But even that has showed no signs of slowing down this run.
Ricardo Lamas has spent his entire UFC run playing spoiler to the UFC's plans. He stopped Cub Swanson's run to title contention, halted any hopes for Hatsu Hioki, and then beat Erik Koch - the man the UFC had at one point named as the #1 contender. Finally, he gets his own shot. Lamas has been on the shelf for over a year - not due to his own injury, but due to the odd Pettis/Zombie/Aldo situation last summer. As Chris Weidman showed, a long layoff can be a good thing when preparing for the biggest fight of your career. We'll see if Lamas can follow Weidman's footsteps and keep the spoiler run alive here.
Why should you care?
Because Jose Aldo.