It's easy to get frustrated with MMA. The problem of over-saturation leads to a lot of mediocre fights taking up a lot of airtime in the UFC, supposedly the home of the elite of the elite in mixed martial arts. But the sport can still be incredible when great fighters are placed opposite each other and left to fight for five rounds.
It's not a guarantee for brilliant fights to have great fighters battle, but it's certainly a better starting point than guys who "earned" their way to the show via reality shows well past that show's peak.
Mendes and Aldo were phenomenal in engaging with combinations, varied striking, counter attacks, takedown attempts and reversals and recovering from damage. It's everything a fan should want from MMA and we should appreciate it when it happens.
Aldo's legacy is cemented in my mind. As the division has developed and gained depth, Aldo has remained at the top, seeming to get better with time. This was a fight that would have seen the Aldo of a few years ago fade due to the pace, but this version of Aldo was smarter about when to engage and when to let off the gas a bit.
He deserves to be in the pound-for-pound discussion, even if you're not ready to put him number one.
- Phil Davis looked great tonight, but Glover Teixeira looked plain awful. Davis did execute his gameplan perfectly and that should always be respected, but why the hell is he calling out Anderson Silva? That seemed like a waste of everybody's time.
- Fabio Maldonado remains one of the most fun guys to watch in MMA. He's so flawed but so relentless in his attack (especially to the body) which means that he's almost always going to deliver a fun fight. His TKO of Hans Stringer was yet another example of this.
- Darren Elkins vs. Lucas Martins and Beneil Dariush vs. Carlos Diego Ferreira were horrible fights that we should just pretend didn't happen
- Neil Magny winning against William Macario means that he's gone 5-0 in 2014, that's quite an accomplishment, but a step-up in competition may bring different results.
- Wilson Reis looked very good against Scott Jorgensen and the body kick that set up the finish was ridiculously violent. But Jorgensen has looked like he needs to be on his way out of the UFC for a while now, going 2-6 in his last 8. Reis could earn a title shot quickly with the lack of new challenges at 125.