If you don’t know, then you should know: Jose Aldo is still the UFC Featherweight champion after definitively defeating rival Chad Mendes by unanimous decision (49-46 by all judges) last night at UFC 179 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
MMA, and combat sports overall, can be cruel. Chad Mendes delivered what was probably his greatest performance, knocking Aldo down in the first round and wobbling him with a powerful shot later in the fight, but it wasn’t enough.
Mendes’s biggest fault was that he stopped using his movement and stood directly in front of Aldo. If he could have implemented more footwork into his game, he could have fought vastly better and, dare I say, probably won.
He seemed to ‘start’ and ‘go’ with his flurry of punches in a consistent pattern. Aldo appeared to pick up the rhythm of said pattern over the course of the fight. The most substantial reason Mendes lost the fight was Aldo’s wild defensive brilliance when he was in dire of potentially losing the fight. When Chad rocked Jose with the uppercut and was in the process of following up, Jose drilled Chad with a short right, right behind Chad’s ear, that pretty much turned the fight around.
Frankly, who in the hell knows if that punch is as effective had he not already cleaned Chad’s clock after the first round horn sounded off. This fight was difficult to extrapolate from, for yours truly, based on that first round. I saw it, more or less, as an even bout with both competitors being forced more than a few times to look into the abyss.