By Jaime C. Feal
It looked like Jose Aldo would run away with the superfight early, but Frankie Edgar showed his heart and determination to battle back. Edgar took Aldo the distance, losing out in a close decision. The champion controlled the first half of the fight with hard jabs, and devastating leg kicks. Edgar came back in the latter portion of the fight, outworking Aldo with his superior cardio. Aldo won out in the end by taking the first three rounds on all the judges’ scorecards. Leading up to the main event, fans saw some huge upsets. Alistair Overeem was a big favorite to beat Antonio Silva, and was dominating the first two rounds. Overeem was too cocky, however, leaving his hands down the entire fight and not respecting Silva’s power. In the third round, The Reem got caught by Silva and put away with vicious punches. In the co-main event, Rashad Evans squared off with Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, and Lil Nog scored an upset victory with a decision win. The fight was very uneventful, Evans reputation takes a big hit, and a title shot against Anderson Silva is now impossible. Earlier in the night, Demian Maia continued his unbeaten run in the 170 pound division by upsetting Jon Fitch.
Welterweight Division (170 lbs.):
Jon Fitch (24-4-1, 14-2-1 UFC) vs. Demian Maia (17-4, 11-4 UFC)
Maia immediately shoots for a takedown and brings Fitch down. Maia is all over him, and takes the back. Fitch stands up, but has Maia wrapped around him with a body triangle. Maia working for a choke, but Fitch defending well. Maia dominating the round with the back control, but not striking much. Fitch hasn’t looked in danger, now he breaks free. Maia trips him back down, and gets his back again. Once again Fitch gets up, Maia drags him back down. Impressive grappling by Maia. Fitch getting outclassed. Maia loos excellent here, again working for a choke, but the round ends. 10-9 round for Maia.
Good bod kick by Fitch, then a leg kick. Nice straight right from Fitch. Maia shoots for a single leg and gets it. Surprising how easily he’s taking Fitch down. Fitch scrambles back to his feet. Maia presses forward, and drags down Fitch, again working to take the back. Maia gets the hooks in, and Fitch is once again in complete defense mode. Maia has the rear-naked choke in deep, Fitch in trouble. Fitch escapes from the choke, showing his great submission defense. Maia has the body triangle fully locked in, trying to flip Fitch over and flatten him out. Fitch finishes the round by simply defending the choke. 10-9 round for Maia.
Fitch throws a head kick, which was a mistake as Maia takes his back standing. Back to the same pattern where Fitch gets outgrappled, but at least for now he is upright. Maia drags him down after a minute long struggle. Again Maia has the back with book hooks. Fitch is able to initiate a scramble and get back up. Maia shoots for a double, but Fitch stuffs it. Fitch goes for a guillotine, doesn’t get it. Maia on his back however, Fitch with a big elbow. Fitch on top, looking to pass, but Maia gets up. Fitch defends the takedown this time, sprawling nicely. Maia is relentless and gets the takedown on the third attempt. Maia again looking to take the back. Maia gets the body triangle and finishes out the round with more grappling dominance. 10-9 round for Maia.
All three judges score the fight 30-27 for the winner by unanimous decision, Demian Maia.
Heavyweight Division (265 lbs.):
Alistair “The Reem” Overeem (36-11, 1-0 UFC) vs. Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva (17-4, 1-1 UFC)
Overeem looks ready to unleash some big strikes, crouched low. The fighters clinch up, and Overeem lands a knee to the body. Overeem jabs his way in, again Big Foot clinches. The Reem backs away, good knee to the body. Again in the clinch, struggle for position, good knees from Overeem. Silva is getting the worse of it, and they break. The pattern of clinching continues, more knees from the Reem. Overeem backs away, eats a front kick to the body from Silva. The Reem comes forward and lands a nice jab, knee to the body combo. Nasty outside leg kick from Overeem. Hard leg kick from Silva in response. Overeem presses Silva against the cage. Knee to the body from the Reem. Silva is looking lackadaisical. Good counter uppercut from Overeem, knee to the body. 10-9 round for Overeem.
Good leg kick from Silva, hard counter jab by the Reem. Big toss from Overeem, throws Silva down. Overeem in side control. Very good elbows from the bottom by Big foot. Overeem in guard, lands some good shots. Overeem landing short punches to the body. Overeem mixing in elbows, more of a methodical pace to this fight than expected. Ref Herb Dean warns Overeem to work, as he’s be in top control for a couple minutes. Now the Reem turns it up, landing some good punches. Overeem passes to half guard. Bigfoot regains guard, eats some punches. Herb Dean stands the fighters up. Good jab from Reem. Big knee from Silva. The Reem lands a knee to the body. 10-9 round for Overeem.
Overeem comes forward with a knee. Silva clips the Reem with a short right uppercut that has Overeem covering up. For the first time in the fight, Overeem is backpedaling, and Silva knows he’s hurt. Bigfoot comes forward and lands a right hook that has Overeem in huge trouble. Silva tees off on Overeem with more right hooks and uppercuts, then a series of one-twos that crumbles the Reem senseless against the cage. Herb Dean calls the fight with Bigfoot standing over and yelling at an unconscious Overeem.
Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva wins by TKO at 0:25 of Round 3.
Light Heavyweight Division (205 lbs.):
Rashad Evans (17-2-1, 12-2-1 UFC) vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (20-5, 3-2 UFC)
The fighters begin pawing with the jab, measuring their range. Big right head kick from Evans. Nice jab from Nogueira. Good straight left from Lil Nog. Another nice straight left from Nogueira. Good right hands from Rashad. Nogueira gets taken down, but hops right back up. Nice right hook from Evans. 10-9 round for Evans.
Hard leg kick by Evans. Nice straight left from the southpaw Nogueira. Again Evans eats the straight left. Good inside leg kick from Evans. Boring fight thus far, neither fighter taking big changes. Some straight lefts from Nogueira, but not much else. Good right hook from Evans. Nogueira stuffs a takedown attempt with a good sprawl. Nogueira lands some good lunches. Nice right hook from Evans. Lil Nog pressing forward, lands a left. Head kick from Evans to finish the round. 10-9 round for Nogueira.
Nice left straight from Nogueira. Evans bouncing up and down, trying to find his rhythm. Good jab from Nogueira. Both fighters still reluctant to take big chances. Nice stiff jab from Nogueira. More left straights from Nogueira, Evans losing this fight due to being so passive. Evans rushes forward, Nogueira side steps out of the way. Left body kick from Nogueira. Jab from Nogueira. Nice right hook from Evans. One-two from Nogueira. Evans goes for a takedown, can’t get it. Nice knee to the body by Lil Nog. The fighters trade knees and punches at the end. 10-9 round for Nogueira.
All three judges score the fight 29-28 for the winner by unanimous decision Antonio Rogerio Nogueira.
UFC Featherweight Championship (145 lbs.):
Jose “Scarface” Aldo (21-1, 3-0 UFC) vs. Frankie “The Answer” Edgar (15-3-1, 9-3-1 UFC)
Edgar starts with a leg kick. Aldo lands a hard leg kick to the body. Nice jab from Aldo. Edgar with an inside leg kick. Hard uppercut from the champion. Stiff jab from Aldo finds the mark. Nice left hand from Aldo, controlling the round right now. Nice straight right counter by Aldo, and again lands the same punch. Lightning quick reflexes on display from the champion. Another stiff jab from Aldo. Spinning back kick attempt by Edgar misses. Aldo back to the counters, lands a right. Aldo with more good jabs. Edgar is bleeding from his nose, eats a right hand. Nasty right outside leg kick from Aldo. Edgar eats another enormous outside leg kick in the same spot, vicious technique and power from Aldo. Edgar blocks a left head kick at the end of the round. 10-9 round for Aldo.
Edgar already showing welts on his leg. Nice straight right from Aldo. Edgar with a good right hand. Aldo has the speed advantage, he is proving it by slipping everything Edgar throws. Aldo lands a jab. Hard straight right by Aldo, stuffs a single leg attempt by Edgar. Good exchange finishes with Aldo countering with a right hand. Edgar looks for a takedown, Aldo hops away. Aldo with an unbelievable leg kick, has Edgar limping already. Aldo goes back to the same spot, now Edgar is falling down from the kicks. What a display from the champion. Aldo with another leg kick. Good combo from Edgar, clinches with Aldo on the cage. Aldo backs away, lands a leg kick, but Edgar gets a takedown. Aldo gets back up. Nice jab from Aldo. Two more jabs from Aldo fin the mark nicely. 10-9 round for Aldo.
Aldo lands a kick, Edgar gets a takedown, but Aldo again hops up quick. Front kick from Edgar grazes Aldo’s body. Aldo with a nice right hand. Hard front kick to the face from Aldo, that Edgar takes well. Edgar’s nose is bleeding again. Nice jab from Aldo. This is the most dominated Edgar has looked in the UFC. Another jab from the champ. Decent straight right from Aldo with two minutes to go. Outside leg kick from Edgar. Light inside leg kick from Edgar, then a hard outside leg kick. Good left hook from Aldo. Nice straight right from Edgar. Solid uppercut from Edgar. Hard straight right from Edgar. Finally starting to land. Edgar shoots for a takedown and gets thrown off. Good right hook from Edgar. Inside leg kick from Edgar. Jab from Aldo, body kick from Edgar. 10-9 round from Aldo.
Aldo is starting to tire a bit, Edgar of course fresh as a daisy. The featherweights trade straight right hands. Good leg kick from Edgar. Nice spinning back kick from Aldo. Edgar lands a counter right after Aldo hits him with a kick. Edgar pressing forward, lands a jab. Edgar goes for a takedown, but Aldo breaks free. Good left hooks from each fighter. Edgar gets a slam, Aldo pops up. Edgar has Aldo against the cage, trying for a takedown a gain. Aldo breaks free. Edgar lands an outside leg kick. 10-9 round for Edgar.
Edgar comes forward with some jabs. Edgar lands an outside leg kick. Aldo lands a jab, and another. Aldo going back to the jab, defends a takedown attempt. Good straight right from Edgar. Good counter left hook from Aldo, defends a takedown. Edgar showing incredible movement despite the devastating leg kicks earlier. Good leg kicks from Edgar now. Nice right straight from Aldo. Edgar lands a punch, then a knee. Good combo from Edgar. Huge right counter from Aldo, stuns Edgar briefly. Good combo by Frankie. Aldo with a jab, Edgar is a bloody mess, but winning the round. Aldo lands a sick straight right while jumping off the cage. 10-9 round for Edgar.
The judges score the fight 49-46, 49-46, and 48-47, for the winner by unanimous decision, and still the UFC Featherweight champion of the world, Jose Aldo.