By Jaime C. Feal
In front of his hometown fans in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, Jose Aldo retained his title in dominant fashion with a spectacular knockout of Chad Mendes. In the co-main event, Vitor Belfort submitted Anthony Johnson, who has been sent his walking papers by Dana White after failing to make weight for the third time in his UFC career. Also on the pay-per-view was a highlight reel knockout by Edson Barboza, who KOd Terry Etim with a beautiful spinning wheel kick.
Lightweight Division (155 lbs.):
Edson “Junior” Barboza (9-0, 3-0 UFC) vs. Terry Etim (15-3, 6-3 UFC)
The lightweights touch gloves to begin and trade jabs. Etim shoots for a takedown but Barboza defends. Etim snaps a right leg kick. Barboza in the center of the cage using feints, and Etim steps in with a left hook that is blocked. Both fighters showing excellent movement. Right leg kick thrown by Barboza but checked nicely by Etim. Now Etim shoots for a double leg and lands Barboza on his back. Edson with a beautiful sweep to lift Etim off him and the fighters are standing again. Hard right leg kick by Barboza lands, set it up nicely with a feint. Double jab by Etim lands lightly. Edson misses with a big overhand right. Another powerful right leg kick by Barboza. Inside and outside leg kick both land for “Junior.” Lead left hook by Etim and a counter right by Barboza. Good jab by Etim. Nice left head kick by Barboza, blinding speed. Etim clinches up with his opponent but gets shrugged off by Barboza. Two lightning quick inside leg kicks by Barboza. Decent left inside leg kick in response by Etim. Sick spinning back kick to the body by Barboza to close the round. 10-9 round for Barboza.
Barboza again attacks the Etim’s leg with snapping right leg kicks. The fighters trade jabs but the majority of the damage being done is still by Barboza’s right outside leg kicks. Etim looks tentative and his movement has slowed because of it. Etim tries to clinch with Barboza but eats a knee to the body. Another vicious right outside leg kick by “Junior.” The pattern continues as Etim misses jabs and eats leg kicks. Barboza circles away and is looking much fresher. Etim with a nice left-right hook combo to the body. Good leg kick by Etim. The Englishman attempts a spinning back kick but misses. Etim shoots for a double and drives Barboza all the way to the cage and then secures the takedown. Barboza gets right back up. Vicious body shot by Edson. Yet another outside leg kick by Barboza. Left switch kick to the body by Barboza. 10-9 round for Barboza.
Good jab and leg kick by Barboza. Left head kick thrown by Etim but blocked. The fighters briefly clinch and Etim lands a knee to the body. Crowd begins to whistle, which in Brazil is akin to booing, due to inactivity and no meaningful strikes landing for a minute or so. Left inside leg kick by Barboza. Good combo and right outside leg kick by “Junior.” With absolute blinding speed and precision, Barboza pivots on his left foot and throws a spinning wheel kick with his right heel landing square on Etim’s jaw. The Englishman stiffens up and is unconscious before he hits the mat, and Barboza is already walking away the victor. The incredible finish is the first ever spinning wheel kick KO in the UFC, and early favorite for “Knockout of the Year.”
Edson “Junior” Barboza wins by KO at 2:02 of Round 3.
Welterweight Division (170 lbs.):
Erick Silva (13-1, 1-0 UFC) vs. Carlo “Neo” Prater (29-10-1, 0-0 UFC)
The combatants touch gloves and Silva starts with his left hand low and his right hand cocked high. Silva steps in with a right that Prater dodges, but a nasty left knee to the body from Silva finds the mark. Prater crumbles and Silva is swarming with hammerfists and then two right hands to the head have referee Mario Yamasaki stepping in. The crowd goes crazy as the former Jungle Fights champion celebrates an apparent victory. A short time later, controversy ensues as Yamasaki deems the hammerfists were to the back of the head of Prater, and awards Carlo Prater the DQ win for not being able to continue after illegal strikes. Replays show one hammerfist landed on the back of the head in the scramble and all other shots were legal.
Carlo Prater wins by Disqualification.
The UFC is open to an appeal from Erick Silva and the likely end result of the bout will be a no-contest. Silva received his “win” bonus despite the DQ loss. Dana White has expressed an adamant interest in having instant replay for situations such as this.
Middleweight Division (185 lbs.):
Rousimar “Toquinho” Palhares (13-3, 6-2 UFC) vs. Mike Massenzio (13-5, 2-3 UFC)
Palhares starts with a couple inside leg kicks. Massenzio pawing with the jab and Palhares throws another inside leg kick that strays low. Massenzio is given time to recover from the accidental low-blow. The fight resumes and “Toquinho” lands another inside leg kick and dumps Massenzio on his back. Massenzio pops right back up. Now Palhares grabs Massenzio’s legs and pulls guard to bring the fight to the mat. “Toquinho” immediately transitions into a deep heel hook and rolls, and Massenzio is grimacing and tapping out as the ref rushes in to save him.
Rousimar “Toquinho” Palhares wins by Submission (heel hook) at 1:01 of Round 1.
Middleweight Division (185 lbs.):
Vitor “The Phenom” Belfort (20-9, 9-5 UFC) vs. Anthony “Rumble” Johnson (10-3, 7-3 UFC)
The fighters touch gloves and Johnson misses with two kicks. Vitor throws a head kick that is caught by Johnson, who uses it to throw Belfort down. “Rumble” now in Belfort’s full guard. Vitor pushes him off with the legs but Johnson dives in and lands a big right hand. “Rumble” back in full guard now, working left hands to Belfort’s head. The fighters are stood up due a stalemate. Vitor misses with punches and Johnson shoots for a takedown, but Belfort stuffs it. Johnson misses with a wild punch and Belfort ties to swarm but doesn’t land with punches. He catches “Rumble” with a knee which has Johnson shooting desperately for a double. Vitor stuffs it but then winds up on his back. Johnson again in Belfort’s full guard. The fighters are stood up due to inactivity. The fighters scramble and Johnson misses a left head kick. Johnson shoots for a double and is again stuffed, and now Vitor is spinning to the side and landing nice, quick left punches. Vitor transitions to back control and drags Johnson to the side. Now Belfort has both hooks in and “Rumble” is flattened out. Vitor landing some nice ground and pound. Big right hands by Vitor and Johnson is looking hopeless; Belfort slips in the rear-naked choke and squeezes for the tap.
Vitor “The Phenom” Belfort wins by submission (rear-naked choke) at 4:49 of Round 1.
UFC Featherweight Championship (145 lbs.):
Jose Aldo (20-1, 2-0 UFC) vs. Chad “Money” Mendes (11-0, 2-0 UFC)
Mendes begins with two light inside leg kicks. Nice right outside leg kick by Mendes. Snapping right outside leg kick by Aldo in response. Mendes darts in for a single but Aldo hops out and instantly gets his leg free. Both fighters in the center of the cage doing a lot of feinting now. Good outside leg kick by Aldo. Mendes grazes Aldo with a low blow and referee Mario Yamasaki tries to halt the contest, but Aldo waves him off and says he wants to continue right away. Aldo steps in and lands a good right uppercut, and Mendes shoots for single. Aldo hops and spins out and again defends the takedown with ease. Right leg kick by Aldo. Mendes shoots for a takedown, and Aldo simply pushes his head down and spins away with ease. Good right leg kick by Mendes. Mendes lands a light inside leg kick and misses with a one-two. Mendes clinches Aldo and almost throws him down, but Aldo illegally grabs the fence to hold on. Yamasaki warns Aldo not to grab the fence, and Mendes tries the same throw and lands it. Aldo springs right back up and Mendes is still in the standing back position. As the round draws to a close, Aldo is able to spin free of Mendes’ hold and catches him with a nasty knee to the dome. Mendes drops and Aldo follows him to the ground with a right and left hand, and Yamasaki rushes in to stop the contest. Aldo sprints out of the Octagon and crowd surfs, celebrating his title defense with his hometown.
Jose Aldo wins by KO at 4:59 of Round 1.