Sunday, 15 January 2012

Vintage Aldo Shines in Rio

In Rio de Janeiro, Brazil came the loudest and craziest crowd in UFC history, there was a lot to give back to the fans and UFC 142 delivered in unimaginable ways.
Mendes loses for the first time in his career against the featherweight champion, Belfort stops an overweight Johnson and Barboza knocks out Etim in KO of the Night.

The first fight of the night was a fight that on paper looked to be a battle and that’s exactly what it was.
The undefeated Edson Barboza took on a Terry Etim that seemed to be on a roll after his 17 second win at UFC 138.
The first and second rounds weren’t totally dominated by Barboza but he looked to be in control, leaving Etim to think he must be behind on the judges scorecards. Straight away Barboza took away the spring in Etim’s step with brutal leg kicks, Barboza’s bread and butter and look comfortable. By round 3, Etim needed to pull something out of the bag, however before he could do that Barboza unleashed a wheel kick to send Etim to the ground, stiff as a board. There was no doubt that this would be Knockout of the Night, truly a highlight reel KO for Barboza and the UFC.

It wouldn’t be UFC if there wasn’t a bit of controversy, eh? Well, Erick Silva got screwed out of his debut win thanks to some unlikely dodgy decision making from Mario Yamasaki.
Silva had Carlo Prater in trouble, landing punches (clearly) to the side of Prater’s head. Yes, one or two strayed to the back of the head but out of seven or eight punches, did it really make much difference? Silva hurt Prater with a body shot, not a blow to the back of the head, so that was fair. Silva landed three or four punches to the side of the head, one strayed slightly to the back, two more to the side, one to the back and then the fight was over. I think Yamasaki knew after the fight and seeing the replay he messed up, but things are different in the moment.
Silva was paid a win bonus despite the disqualifcation loss and in Dana White’s opinion, Silva should appeal the loss to the athletic commission.

Time for the co-main event and of course, more controversy.
Anthony Johnson was supposed to be making his middleweight debut against the legend Vitor Belfort. Instead, Johnson weighed in at 197 lbs at the weight-ins. That’s eleven lbs overweight and ridiculously unprofessional. Johnson was not allowed to weigh over 205 lbs on fight day otherwise the fight would be cancelled - Johnson weighed in at 204.2 lbs and was also fined 20% of his earnings.
To the fight and Belfort looked like he was in deep water until Belfort showcased his grappling skills and BJJ and swarmed on to the back of Johnson to secure a rear-naked choke for his second victory in a row since his loss to Anderson Silva.
Johnson obviously looked much bigger than Belfort and paid the price with being released from the company after the fight; something I think we all saw coming and rightly so. Regardless of being dehydrated or not, Johnson needs to reconsider the way he cuts weight.
Belfort’s next bout will be a rematch against fellow Brazilian and MMA icon, Wanderlei Silva. But, firstly they will be the coaches on the first ever Brazilian Ultimate Fighter later this year. Excited? You bet!

Final fight and main event of the evening saw one the best fighters in the world and UFC Featherweight Champion Jose Aldo fight the unbeaten wrestling machine Chad Mendes.
This was Aldo’s third fight in the Octagon and third title defence. The previous two bouts did not particularly impress and had not shown the sheer ferocity of what Aldo had done in WEC. This was about to change.
Aldo had the hometown advantage but Mendes wasn’t going to let that affect him. This title fight didn’t leave the first round and Mendes seemingly was going to end the round on a high note with him having Aldo’s back against the cage.
In the blink of an eye, Aldo landed a vicious knee to Mendes that dropped him. The champ followed up with three more punches and the fight was over with one second to go. Yet, this wasn’t the coolest part of the victory. Oh no.
Jose Aldo ran from the Octagon and into the crowd, celebrating his win with the Brazilian fans almost causing a small riot. Definitely the best victory celebration I’ve seen since Tito Ortiz’s grave digger.

Great fights, knockouts, submissions and atmosphere. All you need for a UFC PPV.

Edson Barboza def. Terry Etim via KO (wheel kick) in round 3.
Carlo Prater def. Erick Silva via disqualification (illegal blows to back of head) in round 1.
Rousimar Palhares def. Mike Massenzio submission (heel hook) in round 1.
Vitor Belfort def. Anthony Johnson via submission (rear-naked choke) in round 1.
Jose Aldo def. Chad Mendes via KO (knee and punches) in round 1 to retain the UFC Featherweight Championship.

Fight of the Night: Edson Barboza vs. Terry Etim
Knockout of the Night: Edson Barboza
Submission of the Night: Rousimar Palhares

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