FOX Sports Exclusive
Aldo retains title with TKO at UFC 163
The ways in which to win a fight are often dynamic and occasionally bittersweet. Sometimes, it is injury which decides a fight with substance. Pushing through becomes the hallmark of a victorious champion and the inability to do so becomes the regret of the vanquished challenger.
UFC 163 was one of those nights, an evening when brilliant featherweight champion Jose Aldo injured his foot on the first kick he threw, but persevered, finding victory when opponent Chan Sung Jung appeared to separate his shoulder, giving Aldo the opportunity to swarm for a fight-ending technical knockout at 2:00 of the fourth round.
"If I’m not mistaken, I was trying a cross and as I turned around, I saw him try to put his shoulder back in,” Aldo (23-1) explained through his interpreter after defending the UFC belt for the fifth time. “I didn’t know if he was pretending or not, but I kicked him twice in his arm and then I saw that he was injured. Then I tried to close the fight right then and there.”
Fighting courageously before a raucous crowd at the HSBC Arena in Rio, Aldo’s foot problem forced him to alter his usual kick-heavy offense and showcase his wrestling, scoring a career record-high tying five takedowns. Robbed of one of his key weapons, his striking edge diminished, with Aldo finishing with a razor-thin 43-42 advantage in total strikes landed.
Aldo, though, said he believed the fight was trending his way as he continually forced Jung to come after him, opening up counter possibilities.
The fight’s pivotal moment came just over a minute into the fourth, when Jung threw an overhand right that landed, but it became immediately apparent something was wrong, as Jung (13-4) stepped backwards and tried to pop his shoulder back into place. He was unable to do so, and Aldo went after the injured limb with high kicks before Jung fell to the ground. Aldo quickly followed with ground strikes, causing referee Herb Dean to call for the finish.
Afterward, Jung had to be taken from the arena in a wheelchair while a limping Aldo was helped to the back by his cornermen. Both attended the post-fight press conference, with Jung’s right shoulder in a sling. According to his manager Brian “Shug” Rhee, Jung was told he would only require rehabilitation to address his shoulder. Meanwhile, Aldo bowed out of the proceedings early to visit a local hospital.
“As far as a rematch goes, I would love to get a rematch, I would love to ask for a rematch,” Jung said through his interpreter. “But I think there are other people in line and I probably have to get a couple more wins in the division before they give me another shot at the title.”
By that time, Aldo might be gone. Just in the last few days, Aldo has discussed a possible move to lightweight, but in the aftermath of another win, he wouldn’t commit to the shift, saying the decision was not solely his.
“After winning the fight today, I just leave things in the UFC’s hands,” he said. “They’ll decide. If they want me to fight, I’ll fight. If they want me to go up a weight class, I’ll do it.”
One month shy of his 29th birthday, Phil Davis is no longer a young prospect. He’s a factor in a loaded division, and swimming among the sharks, there is little room for error if he hopes to continue his forward progression. On Saturday night, Davis earned the biggest win in his career, though it is one that came bathed in controversy. After three rounds of close action, Davis earned a co-main event unanimous decision over former champion Lyoto Machida by scores of 29-28, 29-28, 29-28.
Fighting in his signature style, Machida landed the fight’s cleanest strikes, but his limited volume allowed Davis to stick around, and Davis did enough on his feet to stay competitive, and then stole rounds with takedowns.
According to FightMetric, Davis landed more strikes in the fight’s first two rounds, out-landing Machida 12-10 in the first and 11-7 in the second before Machida turned the tide with a 10-6 tally in the third. The low output made the fight difficult to judge, although the Brazilian crowd was furious with the result.
“It’s one of those things, fighting is an emotional thing,” Davis said. “If I had lost this fight, I’d be like, ‘Man, I didn’t lose this fight.’ That’s how it is. You put all you have into it. Everyone who’s a Lyoto fan, I understand where they’re coming from. You’re cheering for your guy. He’s a Brazilian. I can imagine how that feels, so, no, I’m not disrespected. I understand how this works. But anytime you go to the judges, you forfeit your right to be upset. You just have to give it to the judges, and whatever they say is what they say.”
Davis won his third straight, improving to 12-1 with 1 no contest, while Machida saw his two-fight win streak snapped, falling to 19-4.
The setback could cause the Brazilian to reconsider a move he has long resisted to a lighter weight class.
“Who knows? That might be a possibility to go down to 185,” he said.
LEITES WINS IN OCTAGON RETURN
Thales Leites was a No. 1 middleweight contender one minute, gone the next. It took him four years and multiple knee surgeries to return to the octagon, but he made good on his opportunity, dominating Tom Watson en route to a unanimous decision by a trio of 30-27 scores.
Leites executed a solid game plan of punching his way into the clinch and taking Watson to the mat repeatedly, scoring five takedowns. He also bloodied him with a left hook and threatened with several submission attempts in a victory that took his record to 21-4.
LINEKER KEEPS ROLLING
With the flyweight division in need of new contenders, John Lineker continued his surge forward with a third straight win, earning a second-round TKO over Jose Maria Tome. Lineker survived a stinging first-round backfist that rocked him, and was able to regain his composure and let his hands go.
In the second, he caught Tome near the fence, and Tome also seemed to grab his leg as he went down. Lineker (22-6) capitalized with a ground barrage until the referee pulled him off Tome at 1:03 of the round. Tome hadn’t lost since July 2008, a span of 17 fights.
‘MUTANTE’ WINS BIG
Cezar Ferreira has been taken under the wing of Vitor Belfort, even moving to Florida to train with Belfort’s Blackzilians team. The transformations in his game are beginning to resemble his mentor, as Ferreira blitzed Thiago Silva, stunning him with an overhand left and then choking him out with a guillotine at 47 second of the first round. Ferreira (6-2) took his second straight UFC win since capturing the TUF: Brazil crown in 2012.
In perhaps the night’s most surprising highlight, submission specialist Anthony “The Hippo” Perosh knocked out Vinny Magalhaes in 14 seconds, crushing him with a straight right and follow-up ground strikes. For Perosh, it was a brilliant rebound from his last bout, a stunning seven-second KO loss at the hands of Ryan Jimmo. The 41-year old Perosh (14-7) has now captured four of his last five.
UFC 163 COMPLETE RESULTS
Jose Aldo def. Chan Sung Jung via TKO, Rd. 4 (2:00)
Phil Davis def. Lyoto Machida via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Cezar Ferreira def. Thiago Silva via guillotine choke submission, Rd. 1 (0:47)
Thales Leites def. Tom Watson via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
John Lineker def. Jose Maria via TKO, Rd. 2 (1:03)
Anthony Perosh def. Vinny Magalhaes via KO, Rd. 1 (0:14)
Amanda Nunes def. Sheila Gaff via TKO, Rd. 1 (2:08)
Sergio Moraes def. Neil Magny via triangle choke submission, Rd. 1 (3:13)
Ian McCall def. Iliarde Santos via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Rani Yahya def. Josh Clopton via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Francimar Barroso def. Ednaldo Oliveira via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Viscardi Andrade def. Bristol Marunde via TKO, Rd. 1 (1:36)
Knockout of the Night - Anthony Perosh
Submission of the Night - Sergio Moraes
Fight of the Night - Ian McCall, Iliarde Santos
*Winners earn $50,000 apiece
More Stories From Mike Chiappetta