Originally posted on The Sports Post  |  Last updated 8/5/13
If the UFC hoped that a return trip to Jose Aldo's homeland, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, would produce another killer finish by the Featherweight Champion, they were mistaken. Not only did the highlight-reel finish never come, but Aldo's opponent, Chan Sung Jung, "The Korean Zombie," dislocated his shoulder after throwing an ineffective straight right early in the fourth round. After actually trying to pop his shoulder back in himself during the fight, Aldo swarmed him and threw down punches and knees as referee Herb Dean mercifully called the fight, knowing something was wrong with the agonizing, curled up Jung. From what we did see, Aldo and Jung were both atypically reserved. Despite several key strikes and take downs from Aldo, there was not much activity from either guy. We didn't even get to see Aldo's famous leg kicks. After the fight, we found out Aldo had suffered a foot injury, which contributed to his hand-heavy attack and resulted in a trip to the hospital following the bout. This fight didn't alter Aldo's stock, which is already through the roof. That said, however, he needs to be cognizant of the public and the UFC's demand for exciting fights. You can now say that he has played it safe in three of his last four fights. His fights versus Kenny Florian, Frankie Edgar, and now Jung were all light on action, with Aldo keeping his distance and simply winning on points. In none of these three fights were his opponents ever in danger of being finished. If Jung hadn't dislocated his shoulder, it looked like another Aldo fight was headed towards the judge's scorecards. Jung is a capable fighter, but from what we saw in the first three rounds, his style of fighting is probably best suited for fighters of comparable talent. That way he can use his outstanding cardio and suffocating aggressiveness better to his advantage. If Anthony Pettis loses his lightweight championship fight versus Benson Henderson, scheduled for August 31st at UFC 164 in Milwaukee, it would probably make the most sense to let Pettis drop the 10 lbs and get his shot at Aldo at 135 lbs. After all, Pettis was Aldo's orginally scheduled opponent for UFC 163 - that is, until Pettis suffered an injury in camp. And, there's really no one left in the featherweight division that can either threaten Aldo or at least push him enough to create an exciting fight. All of this prompted the obligatory questioning about super fights following the fight. If Henderson successfully defends his title against Pettis, Aldo moving up to 155 is a possibility, but let's not get too far ahead of ourselves. In the co-main event, No. 1 light heavyweight contender Lyoto "The Dragon" Machida seemed to outpoint another elite fighter in Phil "The Wonderful" Davis and earn himself another shot at Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones. Then a funny thing happened: The judges not only scored the fight for Davis, but gave him all three rounds, 30-27. The Dragon had seemingly fine-tuned the process of outpointing his opponents with exceptional counter striking and an uncanny ability to avoid being hit in the process. He lost a close decision to to Quentin "Rampage" Jackson back at UFC 123, but he has also won close decisions against Mauricio "Shogun" Rua, Dan Henderson, and looked to have done the same against Davis. While Davis scored a couple of take-downs in the first two rounds, he did very little damage and Machida landed more significant strikes, 29-21, over the course of the fight. This prompted UFC president Dana White to proclaim he thought Machida had won every round. Despite the strong disdain for the decision by many, this was a close fight. The judges clearly awarded Davis for walking down his opponent, providing competent striking, and getting key take downs at the ends of the first and second round. If anything good comes from this fight, it will be that Machida reassesses his strategy of simply trying to outpoint his opponent and earn the decision. This could lead to more exciting fights from The Dragon. That said, Machida is 35 and will most likely not look to alter a fighting strategy that has proven to be successful for him over years of combat. The question is: where do these two fighters go from here? Phil Davis has only one blip on his record, a unanimous decision loss to contender Rashad Evans. He asked for a title shot after the fight, and he has earned it. He has now beaten three of the top ten fighters in the division: Machida, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, and Alexander Gustafsson. Bring on Jon Jones. For his part, Machida needs a decisive victory against elite competition to get back to the top. I'd personally like to see Machida-Evans again. Evans should be smarter this time, and he will not haphazardly run in and get caught by Machida. Earlier in the evening, light heavyweight Tom Watson lost a decision to Tales Leites, who was making his return to the octagon after a four-year absence. Watson is an entertaining fighter, but cannot stay upright against competent wrestlers. Leites basically took Watson down at will. A well-placed left hook by Leities in the final round, which cut Watson wide open, didn't help matters. Either way, Watson, having lost two fights in a row, is probably dangerously close to being cut from the roster. If he lands a guy with a comparable skill set in his next fight, Watson could use his power and durability to get back in the win column, but it should be his last chance. Leities in an interesting case. He definitely earned himself future fights, but repeatedly taking down a guy with lackluster wrestling without pulling off a finish doesn't really tell us much. I'd like to see him draw a more capable wrestler and Jiu Jitsu guy next, say, Nogueira. After only two fights in the UFC, Cezar "Mutante" Ferreira is already drawing comparisons with fellow Brazilian and middleweight No. 1 contender Vitor Belfort. Despite the premature comparisions, he surely finished his fight versus Thiago Santos with a Belfort-type flashiness. After landing a right and follow-up head kick, Ferreira slapped on a fight-ending guillotine at 47 seconds of the first round. Although still short on UFC experience, Ferreira is a promising prospect. How about putting him in there against fellow prospect Urijah Hall, assuming Hall wins his next match versus John Howard at UFC Fight Night 26 in Boston on August 17th? Make that happen, Joe Silva. The first fight of the main card pitted flyweights John Lineker versus Jose Maria. In one of the more exciting fights of the evening, both fighters came out throwing, and Maria actually hurt Linker badly in the first round with an excellent spinning back fist. However, Lineker turned the table in the second round and finished Maria with punches as Maria went down with an apparent leg inury near the cage. Still lacking quality depth in the flyweight division, Silva may opt to throw Lineker right in there against No. 3 flyweight Ian McCall, who won a hard-fought decision earlier in the evening versus Illiarde Santos. One other fight of note involved world-class grapplers Vinny Maghalese and Anthony Perosh. Maghalese had promised to leave the UFC altogether if he were to somehow lose to the 41-year old Perosh, a veteran with a similar, but, according to Maghalese, less accomplished skill set.  Well, Perosh only needed one perfectly placed right on Maghalese's chin to knock the Brazilian to the mat, where Perosh finished the deal with several strikes on a seemingly already out-cold Maghalese at 14 seconds of the first. Reportedely Maghalaese left his gloves in the octagon. Will he follow through with his promise to quite the promotion? Time will tell. Still, another performance like that, and he'll be on his way out, regardless. By: Erik Sprague
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