Featherweights Put on a Show in Brazil (UFC 142)

The UFC has never seen a Featherweight or a Bantamweight main event since the start of the new divisions. The reason for this is that these lighter weights tend not to put on the most explosive fights, in terms of finishes. They do but on some electric fights though with speed and quickness that is not seen in any other division. The biggest problem is that the majority of these fights do not end quickly as they tend to go to decision. The smaller weights generally do not have the power to earn the knockouts that so many fans love. They are also almost all evenly matched on the ground as many came up as wrestlers or Jiu Jitsu artists and can hold their own on the ground. The lack of finishing in these weight classes has made many people unhappy about them and has prevented them from headlining a PPV event. That all changed at UFC 142 though as Jose Aldo and Chad Mendes would face off in the main event for the Featherweight Title. Aldo and Mendes would go out for the fight to prove that the Featherweights can finish fights and deserve to be featured in events. Jose Aldo had a little extra motivation though as he would fight in his home country for the first time in his career. Aldo would defend his title in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil as he would look to take home a win in his first fight in Brazil. Mendes would try to spoil the party for the Brazilians fans and finally force the title to exchange hands. It would be a tough task for Mendes though as he would need to take one of the best pound for pound fighters in the world in Aldo. The champion is known for just how good he is in every aspect of the game from his devastating leg kicks to his great Jiu Jitsu. Mendes would try to expose Aldo’s weakness as he would look to take Aldo down and put him on his back taking a page out of Mark Hominick’s book from the matchup in UFC 129 when Hominick dominated Aldo in the 5th round by putting him on his back. Mendes had the ability to do this as one of the best wrestlers in the featherweight division. It would still be a tough task as he would have to deal with the extremely loud Brazilian crowd all cheering for Aldo the entire fight. Mendes took on the challenge as he was looking to continue his 11 fight unbeaten streak and win the Featherweight Title against Jose Aldo. The fight started with Mendes looking like Aldo and firing off leg kicks presumably to weaken the legs for future takedown attempts. Aldo did not blink though as he fired back with his own leg kicks that showed just who had the better kicks. Mendes then shot for a takedown but could not get Aldo down as Aldo then continued to hit Mendes with leg kicks. With a minute left Mendes finally took a bit of an advantage as he put Aldo against the fence. Mendes then tried to slam Aldo but Aldo grabbed the fence preventing the takedown and earning a warning by the referee. Mendes tried again and was successful in his takedown attempt but it did not last long as Aldo got up immediately. Mendes kept control against the fence though as he took Aldo’s back after getting up off the ground. Then Aldo quickly made an attempt to get out of the hold as he spun around and threw a knee. The knee landed perfectly on Mendes’ chin as the challenger fell to the ground and the fight was over. Aldo had defended his belt in front of his home crowd and ended the stigma that Featherweights can’t finish fights. Aldo was so excited for the win he immediately ran out of the octagon and into the Brazilian Crowd who mobbed him and probably worried the UFC management. Aldo defended his title and will move on to take on the next challenger for the title while Mendes will fall back into the featherweight division and will likely await another shot at the title if he can get back to winning.

The Brazilians showed up throughout the fight card as they went 9-3 in the fights, with two of those loses coming at the hands of another Brazilian fighter. Two fights took special consideration though as one featured a local hero and the other saw a DQ end the fight. The first big story of the night was full of controversy as Erik Silva took on Carlo Prater in a matchup of Brazilians. Erik Silva looked great in the fight as he quickly came out and landed a big knee on Prater forcing him to try to shoot for a takedown. Silva got on top and began throwing hammer fists on Prater forcing referee Mario Yamasaki to stop the fight. Then after the fight the announcement was made that Silva would be disqualified for hitting Prater in the back of the head after being warned. The call was controversial as Joe Rogan came into the octagon after the fight and questioned the referee decision claiming that he did not see the hits to the back of the head. The reality is that the referee is there to protect fighters and if he did see the illegal punches, I saw at least 4 shots to the back of the head, then he needs to make a call and this call happened to take a win away from Silva. Another big story was the return of Vitor Belfort to his hometown as he would take on Anthony Johnson. Johnson had some issues making weight as he weighed in and was told to rehydrate by the doctors and then weighted in over weight. The fight was still on and Belfort took the energy from the crowd to earn a submission victory in front of the rabid crowd. The Brazilian fans got their money’s worth at UFC 142 with some great fights by some of the top Brazilian fighters and seeing two of the biggest Brazilian stars take home wins in a great kickoff to the 2012 fight season.

The Fight bonuses for UFC 142 totaled $65,000 for every fighter involved in one of the best moments of the fight and there were plenty to choose from. The “Submission of the Night” went to Rousimar Palhares who used a leg lock, a submission that he has become known for, against Mike Massenzio. The “Knockout of the Night” went to Edson Barboza for his devastating KO by a wheel kick against Terry Etim. The first wheel kick KO in UFC history also earned Barboza the “Fight of the Night” bonus along with Terry Etim who held his own in a tight battle until the KO

 

Full Results:

Jose Aldo “Junior” def. Chad “Money” Mendes [Featherweight Title]

(KO; Rd. 1)

 

Vitor “The Phenom” Belfort def. Anthony “Rumble” Johnson

(Submission; Rear Naked Choke, Rd. 1)

 

Rousimar “Toquinho” Palhares def. “The Master of Disaster” Mike Massenzio

(Submission; Leg Lock, Rd. 1)

 

Carlo “Neo” Prater def. Erik Silva [DQ]

(Erik Silva DQ due to Illegal Strikes)

 

Edson “Junior” Barboza def. Terry Etim

(KO; Rd. 3)

 

Thiago Tavares def. Sam “Hands of Stone” Stout

(Unanimous Decision)

 

Gabriel “Napao” Gonzaga def. Ednaldo “Lula” Oliveira

(Submission; Rear Naked Choke, Rd. 1)

 

Yuri “Marajo” Alcantara def. Michihiro Omigawa

(Unanimous Decision)

 

Mike “Quicksand” Pyle def. Ricardo “Golden Boy” Funch

(KO; Rd. 1)

 

Felipe “Sertanejo” Arantes def. Antonio “Pato” Carvalho

(Unanimous Decision)

 

Upcoming Events:

UFC on FX: Guillard vs. Miller (January 20th; 9:00 pm)

– Live Free on FX/Sportsnet

– Nashville, Tennessee (Bridgestone Arena)

– Main Event: Melvin “The Young Assassin” Guillard vs. Jim Miller

– Notable: Duane “Bang” Ludwig vs. Josh “The Dentist” Neer

 

UFC on FOX: Evans vs. Davis (January 28th; 8:00 pm)

– Free live on FOX/Sportsnet

– Chicago, Illinois (United Center)

– Main Event: “Suga” Rashad Evans vs. Phil “Mr. Wonderful” Davis

– Notable: Chael Sonnen vs. Mark “The Filipino Wrecking Machine” Munoz

 

UFC 143: Diaz vs. Condit (February 4th; 10:00 pm)

– Las Vegas, Nevada (Mandalay Bay Events Center)

– Main Event: Nate Diaz vs. Carlos “Natural Born Killer” Condit [Interim Welterweight Title]

– Notable: Roy “Big Country” Nelson vs. Fabricio “Vai Cavalo” Werdum

– Notable: Josh “Kos” Koshcheck vs. Mike Pierce

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