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January 15, 2012

UFC 142: Featherweight champion Jose Aldo was awesome

UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo (21-1, 3-0 UFC) has solidified himself as one of the top three, pound-for-pound fighters in the world, with his impressive knockout victory over American Chad Mendes (11-1, 2-1 UFC).

Aldo’s win came in front of his fans at the HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Saturday at UFC 142.

Each week MMA fighters are judged by writers and fans as the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world. After Aldo’s performance it would be hard not to consider him as one of the top three fighters in the world, behind Anderson Silva and Jon Jones. 

Going into the fight Mendes knew he had to take Aldo down to have a chance at winning the title. For the first four minutes of the fight, both guys exchanged leg kicks. Mendes, a member of Team Alpha Male gym, tried a double-leg takedown and was able to get the champion down but for only a moment.  Mendes was able to transition to a rear waistlock on Aldo and tried to pick the champion up to slam him, but Aldo grabbed the cage and was warned by referee Mario Yamasaki.  

As the round was coming to an end, Mendes remained at Aldo’s back. With only seconds left in the round Aldo spun around and threw a knee that landed on the jaw of Mendes, knock him to the canvas. Aldo then connected with two hard right-handed punches before Yamasaki could stop the damage. The fight officially ended with just one second left in the opening round.

"I knew he was going to go for my legs, and I knew I had to throw that knee,” Aldo said through a translator. “Thankfully, I put it on the right spot.” 

After a bout, most fighters parade around the cage and receive congratulations from their corner. But not Aldo, he bolted into the crowd and for a moment was lost in the sea of Brazilian fans that came to cheer him.

“My fans give me so much love and so much good energy so there’s nothing better than celebrating with them,” Aldo said. 

In the co-main event, UFC veteran Vitor Belfort stopped American Anthony “Rumble” Johnson with a choke submission at 4:49 of the first round. The Brazilian Belfort first fought in the octagon at UFC 12 in 1997.  His opponent at UFC 142, Johnson was just 12 years old in 1997.  Belfort was better known as “The Phenom” at that time, a black belt in jiu-jitsu under his adopted father, the legendary Carlson Gracie.

Despite having a jiu-jitsu background, this was the first submission win for Belfort in 11 years. He took down Bobby Southworth by rear-naked choke back in 2001.

Belfort's plan for the fight was to have Johnson quit.

"Anthony is a very strong guy, he kept shooting on me (trying to take me down) I (just) block(ed) him. The plan was to make him quit or knock him out,” Belfort said.

His plan almost didn’t come to fruition. The day before the fight, Johnson got sick and couldn’t make the required weight. He was fighting for the first time at 185 pounds, he normally fight at 170 pounds. Becasue of the illness, he showed up at the weigh-in at 197 pounds.  

Belfort questioned Johnson's professionalism, “The guy was not even professional he didn’t make weight, not even close," Belfort said.

Next for Belfort is fellow Brazilian Wanderlei Silva. He first fought Silva at UFC 17.5 Ultimate Brazil in 1998 and won in spectacular fashion in 44 seconds.  This time they will both be coaches on the UFC reality series “The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil.” 

The full undercard results:   

Felipe Arantes won by unanimous decision over Antonio Carvalho.

Mike Pyle won by TKO (Knee and Punches) over Ricardo Funch at 1:22 of the first round.  

Yuri Alcantara won by unanimous decision over Michihiro Omigawa.

Gabriel Gonzaga won by submission (Rear-Naked Choke) over Ednaldo Oliveira at 3:22 of the first round.  

Thiago Tavares won by unanimous decision over Sam Stout.

Edson Barboza won by KO (Spinning Wheel Kick) over Terry Etim at 2:02 of the third round.  

Carlo Prater won by DQ (Punches to Back of Head) over Erick Silva at 0:29 of the first round.

Rousimar Palhares won by submission (heel hook) over Mike Massenzio at 1:03 of the first round. 

Posted by Kevin Richardson at 8:23 AM | | Comments (0)
        

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About the blogger
Kevin Richardson has been a fan of mixed martial arts competition ever since UFC 3, when 600-pound sumo wrestler Emmanuel Yarborough was beaten by Keith Hackney. Kevin will cover the world of MMA — in Baltimore, nationally and internationally. He plans to take readers into the locker rooms and MMA schools, where they'll hear from local fighters and trainers. If you have a news tip or suggestions for the blog, please e-mail him.

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