x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Aldo retains UFC featherweight title as Evans and Overeem suffer upsets

An impressive night for Brazilian fighters at the Ultimate Fighting Championships' pre-Super Bowl event saw Aldo extend his winning streak to 15 fights in a row with a judges win over Frankie Edgar.

Jose Aldo throws a flying kick at Frankie Edgar during their UFC featherweight title bout.
Jose Aldo throws a flying kick at Frankie Edgar during their UFC featherweight title bout.

Jose Aldo retained his Ultimate Fighting Championship featherweight title with a convincing victory over Frankie Edgar to make it 15 wins in a row.

The Brazilian champion's precision striking and leg kicks proved decisive despite constant pressure from Edgar, the former lightweight champion, as the bout went to a 49-46, 49-46 and 48-47 judges decision.

Aldo looked solid in the first three rounds, controlling the fight and landing the more significant strikes. Edgar pressed forward in the final two periods, trying to spark a change in momentum, but the Brazilian champion was too elusive.

"I'm very happy and I don't plan to lose my belt any time soon," Aldo said via a translator after the fight.

"It was a very difficult fight. Frankie is a very dangerous fighter and I had to take it step by step."

Aldo remains among the UFC's top handful of pound-for-pound fighters, despite a 13-month absence from the fight league through injury.

Edgar, who was trying to become the third fighter in the UFC to win a title at two different weight classes, was unable to make his late pressure count

"It was a close fight, I keep finding myself in these positions," he said afterwards.

"I'm just going to go home and take some time to think about things."

In the co-main event of the UFC's annual Super Bowl weekend show, heavy underdog Antonio Rogerio Nogueira sprung a surprise victory over former light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans.

Evans had been lined up for a shot at Anderson Silva in a potential superfight had he defeated Nogueira, but the Brazilian fighter's superior striking and takedown defence kept him on top of the bout as it went to the judges for a unanimous 29-29 card result

Alistair Overeem's bid for a shot at Cain Velasquez' heavyweight title fell spectacularly shot after Antonio 'Bigfoot' Silva scored a surprise TKO victory over the British-born powerhouse. Overeem, returning to action after a failed drug test row which had cost him a title shot previously, was the favourite going into the fight, but a third round flurry from Silva forced referee Herb Dean to stop the fight.

Demian Maia won his fourth fight in a row with a unanimous decision over perennial welterweight contender Jon Fitch, while Joseph Benavidez won a battle of highly ranked flyweights with a unanimous decision over Ian McCall.

In the preliminary bouts, Evan Dunham earned a split-decision victory over Gleison Tibau, and Tyron Woodley stopped Jay Heiron with an electric first-round knockout. Bobby Green forced Jacob Volkmann to tap in the third round, and UFC newcomer Isaac Vallie-Flagg won a split decision over journeyman Yves Edwards.

Dustin Kimura, who failed to make weight by three and a half pounds, won his first UFC fight when he forced Chico Camus to tap in the third round, and Francisco Rivera defeated Edwin Figueroa by TKO in the second round.


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