It was a clean sweep for the Brazilian fighters on Superbowl Saturday as Jose Aldo lead the pack retaining his featherweight title against a lighter Frankie Edgar.It was the flyweights though, that kicked off the main card as Team Alpha Male’s Joseph Benavidez (17-3-0) notched a unanimous win over Ian “Uncle Creepy” McCall (11-4-1). In the expected high pace fight, Benavidez and McCall had lighting quick exchanges leaving Benavidez cut going into the second round. Although McCall definitely held his own in the fight, as he usually does, it would ultimately be the footwork and counter attacks from Benavidez that would get him the win and the possible rematch with current flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson.
Ground wizard, Demian Maia (18-4) seems to have settled in nicely in the welterweight division as all three judges awarded him the win over Jon Fitch (27-5-1). Fitch is best know for taking his opponents down and grinding out his wins but it was Maia who was all over Fitch early in the round, catching him in a body triangle, which he still kept on even when Fitch stood up. It was pretty much the same for the second and third round as Maia took down Fitch at will and scored points for submission attempts throughout the fight. This is the third win for Maia in the division.
Alistair Overeem (36-12, 1 NC) will have to wait a little longer than he thought for his shot against heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez as he was on the wrong side of a knockout courtesy of Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva (18-4). It was all smiles for Overeem early in the bout but after some big exchanges in the first and second round, both fighters exchanged a menacing stare down before going to their corners for the final round. It was the third round that Silva took his respect from “The Reem”, as he landed a right hand then a head kick, backing him up to the cage where he delivered a monstrous uppercut stunning Overeem. From there it was a couple more huge uppercuts and a right hand that finally put Overeem on the mat. Overeem had not lost a match since September of 2007.
In the co-main event of the night, Rashad Evans (22-3-1) looked to get back in the winners circle in the light heavyweight division against Antonio Rogerio Noguiera (21-5). In what was almost like a sparring match, both “Lil Nog” and Evans pitter-pattered shots back and forth but neither pulled the trigger. Evans did land a takedown early in the first round but it was ultimately Noguiera’s boxing that gave him the unanimous win for the night.
The main event of the evening was a fight that fans had been waiting almost a year for. Former lightweight champion Frankie Edgar (14-4) dropped down a division to challenge current featherweight champion Jose Aldo (22-1) in a fight that had potential to end in the first round. But doing what Frankie does best, he drug Aldo into the deep waters of the championship rounds winning rounds four and five. Fortunately for Aldo, he showcased his lightning fast combinations and signature kicks that bloodied Edgar up in the first round. A hard leg kick dropped Edgar in the second round but Frankie was back up charging forward even getting a takedown late in the round. The third round and fourth round were very similar as both Aldo and Frankie kept the fight at a high pace with Edgar sealing the nod for the fourth round after a huge slam takedown to go into the fifth round. With thoughts that Aldo’s cardio would fade and Frankie would pull off the upset win, Aldo showed why he was the champ in that division as he kept busy and landed giant Superman punch off the cage in the final seconds of the fight for good measure.
With Eric Koch being scheduled to face Aldo in 2012 and potentially later this year, Ricardo Lamas put any thoughts of that to rest last week at UFC on Fox 6 as he stole the TKO win in devastating fashion over Koch. Lamas was very adamant about who he wanted next. “I’ve beat Cub Swanson, I’ve beat Hioki and now I’ve beat Koch.” said Lamas. “All those guys were supposed to be fighting for the title at one point. I beat them all. I want the winner of Aldo vs. Edgar next week.” A Lamas/Aldo featherweight title fight later this year would showcase signature kicks from Aldo and now signature elbows from Lamas and although only one winner will emerge victorious, everyone watching wins that night.