The semi-main event of UFC 136: Edgar vs. Maynard III features just the second Featherweight title fight in UFC history. Champion Jose Aldo (19-1; 1-0 UFC) will defend his title against challenger Kenny Florian (15-5; 12-4 UFC) in the second to last fight of the evening. Aldo will also unofficially be defending his #1 ranking in the USA Today/BE Consensus Rankings. Florian is ranked #4. The PPV begins at 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT.
This is a fight defined largely by the pressure on both men. For Jose Aldo, there's the pressure of carrying the newly formed UFC Featherweight division. Since moving over from the WEC, the division has received little attention outside of Aldo. But he's the kind of fighter that can make people care about every fight he's in. For Kenny Florian, the pressure comes from his 3rd UFC title fight. Dana White has painted him as a choker, who can not win the big one. This could be his last chance to prove his boss wrong.
How do these two stack up?
Aldo: 25 years old | 5'7" | 70" reach
Florian: 35 years old | 5'10" | 74" reach
What have these two done recently?
Aldo: W - Mark Hominick (UD) | W - Manvel Gamburyan (KO) | W - Urijah Faber (UD)
Florian: W - Diego Nunes (UD) | L - Gray Maynard (UD) | W - Takanori Gomi (Sub)
How did these two get here?
Aldo comes in making what is technically the 2nd defense of his UFC Featherweight title, though realistically, this is his 4th defense since winning the WEC belt from Mike Brown in 2009. Aldo's stand up skill and knock out power had brought him to the top of the 145 pound ranks, and has prompted many to call him a pound for pound top 5. He's coming off a fight where some felt he struggled with Mark Hominick, and needs a decisive win to keep in the pound for pound discussion.
Florian has taken a long and winding road to this bout. Starting in the UFC as a Middleweight on the first season of The Ultimate Fighter (where he made the finals), Florian promptly dropped down to Welterweight, then Lightweight. As a Lightweight, he was in the first title fight of the reborn division, losing to Sean Sherk in a bloody battle. He won 6 in a row before his next title challenge, losing to B.J. Penn. After two more impressive wins, he was defeated by Gray Maynard in a top contender fight, which prompted both White's comments about Florian choking, and a drop down to Featherweight. His 145 debut saw him have a few troubles against Diego Nunes, but he won, and his name value was enough to earn him an immediate title shot.
Why should you care?
On the one hand, you have the dynamic Jose Aldo looking for another huge highlight reel KO. On the other, you have the long journey of Kenny Florian looking to finally capture UFC gold. Fireworks + emotion = win.
More Bloody Elbow coverage of UFC 136 after the jump.
UFC 136 Judo Chop: The Striking of Frankie Edgar vs. Gray Maynard - Fraser Coffeen
UFC 136 Preview - Melvin Guillard Gunning for Knockout Bonus - Brent Brookhouse
UFC 136: Chael Sonnen vs. Brian Stann Dissection - Dallas Winston
UFC 136 Video - Bruce Buffer: 'You Can't Announce the Way I Announce If You're Not Into It' - Brent Brookhouse
UFC 136: Edgar vs. Maynard III - Live Weigh-In Video and Results - Brent Brookhouse
UFC 136 Video: Frankie Edgar Says Belt Proves He Belongs at Lightweight - Brent Brookhouse
UFC 136: Edgar vs. Maynard III - Bloody Elbow Staff Predictions
UFC 136 Preview: Melvin Guillard Says Joe Lauzon Folds Under Pressure - Brent Brookhouse
UFC 136: Chael Sonnen Denies Gameplanning for Brian Stann - Mike Fagan
UFC 136: Frankie Edgar Talks Gray Maynard, Jose Aldo - Mike Fagan
UFC 136: Melvin Guillard vs. Joe Lauzon Dissection - Dallas Winston
Bad Boy Presents Bloody Elbow Radio - Episode 87: UFC 136 Preview
UFC 136: Leonard Garcia vs. Nam Phan Dissection - Dallas Winston
UFC 136: Time Aplenty for Chael Sonnen Despite Competition for Contention - Leland Roling
UFC 136: Edgar vs. Maynard III Betting Lines - Tim Burke
UFC 136: Spike TV Preliminary Card Dissection - Dallas Winston
UFC 136: Did Promotion Need More Chael Sonnen and Brian Stann? - Brent Brookhouse
UFC 136: Jose Aldo's Second Chance to Destroy Foolish Assumptions - Leland Roling
UFC 136: A Running Diary of Frankie Edgar vs. Gray Maynard II - Mike Fagan
UFC 136 Pre-Fight Press Conference Video and Updates - Tim Burke
UFC State of the Union: UFC 136 and the Lightweight Division - Fraser Coffeen
UFC 136: Melvin Guillard's Continuing Quest for a Title Shot - Brent Brookhouse
UFC 136 Preview: Looking Back at Edgar vs. Maynard 2 Highlights and Reaction - Brent Brookhouse
UFC 136: Facebook Undercard Dissection - Dallas Winston