Rare rivalry takes spotlight in Brazil (UFC 179 Review)

ufc_179MMA is no stranger to the classic matchups that sports love and the rivalries that go along with these matchups. Despite the fact that it is not a team sport and that there are men who fight for a while and rarely meet often enough for true rivalries to form there still are rivalries that spring up. The majority of these rivalries are the fighter against fighter rivalries that tend to form out of trash talk and facing each other often. Trilogy’s and close fights with plenty of controversy can leave many fighters hating each other and that hate comes out at press conferences and weigh-ins. When these rivalries develop two fighters can face off multiple times with a lot of hype surrounding them. The much more rare rivalry are the ones between teams in the MMA world. Despite the fact that there are only two fighters in the cage at a time every fighter has a team that they train with and sometimes live with. The team is sometimes as close as a family and everyone can end up defending everyone else. Still it is rare that a rivalry forms between two teams that carries over into more than one fighter and one fight. That is not the case in the light weight classes where Team Alpha Male and the Nova União continue to fight for superiority. Team Alpha Male has widely been considered one of the best light weight training camps in the world with Urijah Faber leading the way in the team as the biggest name. Meanwhile Nova União is by far the most successful light weight camps in the UFC with what was once two belts on the team. The two camps never liked each other as they looked to claim that title of best camp and with plenty of great fighters between them the two teams faced off regularly. More often than not it was Nova União coming out on top with José Aldo and Renan Barão winning titles in the UFC and Team Alpha Male members only making it to challenger status. That was until TJ Dillashaw beat Barão in one of the biggest upsets in the UFC bringing a belt to Team alpha Male and evening the score at one title a piece for either camp. The win by Dillashaw only increased the rivalry between these two and as usual they would get to settle the score in the octagon when Nova União’s Aldo defended his featherweight title against Tamp Alpha Male’s Chad Mendes. The two had faced off before with Mendes coming out on the losing end. Since that loss Mendes has rattled off five straight wins with a newfound striking ability that he never had when he faced Aldo. Meanwhile Aldo has remained one of the best fighters in the world, beating everyone who has come for his belt. As both fighters faced off both camps were watching closely as Team Alpha was hoping to add another belt to the collection while Nova União was trying to keep their belt in Brazil. As the fight started it was clear that Mendes wanted to show Aldo his newfound striking ability. The wrestler had recently seen a boost in his striking and against Aldo he looked to stay standing and prove that he is no longer one-dimensional. For Aldo that was just fine as he loves to stand and bang anyway as he used his kicks to keep his distance from Mendes. As the first round ended Mendes began to take a lot more damage with big combinations from Aldo, including two punches after the bell. The next round saw much of the same as both fight stood and traded while Aldo got stronger near the end of the round. Then in the third everything changed as both fighters swung for the fences and both got caught at different times. Going into the championship rounds the fight was almost dead-even with neither fighter really taking much advantage on the feet. Still both took their shots and gave some as well until the fifth round saw Mendes take the fight to the ground. The fight went standing soon after though and the same exchange continued for the rest of the fight. The decision came in and in the end you have to beat the champ to become the champ. It was a much better showing than the first meeting for Mendes but he did not do enough to prove he is better than Aldo and that is what it comes down to in championship fights. He goes back into the Featherweight rankings and looks for a trilogy against Aldo even if it might take some time. Meanwhile Aldo moves on as the champion with fighters like Cub Swanson, Frankie Edgar, and Conor McGregor waiting for their shot at the belt.

The co-main event may not have had a title on the line but for both Phil Davis and Glover Teixeira it might as well have. After both of their last fights ended in losses, Teixeira to Jon Jones and Davis to Anthony Johnson, they had plenty to prove at UFC 179. The fight marked both fighters first attempt to get back to winning and get back to their title runs that they had put together. Teixeira’s ended when he lost his shot against Jones and was looking to get back while Davis lost to Johnson throwing a wrench into his very promising run at a title shot. More than that though this fight was a chance for both fighters to simply get into the octagon again after taking almost 7 months off after their losses. Both fighters lost those fights at UFC 172 in April this year. After the losses both fighters were put on medical suspension, Davis for 30 days and Teixeira for an indefinite term with a 60-day minimum. More than those medical suspension though both fighters were simply looking to recoup after their loss and figure out how they can take that loss to become better. After months of work they both thought they had figured it out and were ready to enter the octagon again as they hoped to start-up their title runs with a convincing win at UFC 179. It was clear where both of these fighters wanted to take the fight from the outset. The hard-hitting Teixeira was trying to keep the fight standing and end it with a big KO while Davis was content with taking the fight to the ground where he could use his superior wrestling. As both fighters looked to get the fight to where they want it was clear from the start that Davis was going to get his way. Davis looked to take the fight down to the mat and got Teixeria down multiple times. From the mat Davis went grinding like wrestlers do. He never truly got any major movement on the ground but did enough work to take the fight. The unanimous decision loss was the second of Teixeira’s career and is sure to drop his ranking while putting another big speed bump in his way back to the title. Davis on the other hand took a big win and is sure to enter the conversation to for the title as he likely moves into top 5 competition, although if he has it his way he will fight Anderson Silva next after calling him out after the fight.

 

Fight Bonuses

Performance of the Night
They started the night of right as the undercard fights were full of finishes including one by Gilbert Burns that earned him a Performance of the Night bonus after finishing Christos Giagos with a first round armbar

Performance of the Night
It was a typical fight for Fabio Maldonado as he weathered the storm in the first round and took plenty of big shots from Hans Stringer but came back to earn the TKO win to set off the home crowd and earn him an extra bonus on the night

Fight of the Night
The main event may not have been the most publicized fight in the UFC but that didn’t stop Chad Mendes from pushing Jose Aldo as far as Aldo has been pushed before in a great back and forth fight that kept the belt in Brazil

 

Fight Results

Main Event:
Jose Aldo “Junior” def. Chad “Money” Mendes
(Unanimous Decision)

Main Card:
Phil “Mr. Wonderful” Davis def. Glover Teixeira
(Unanimous Decision)

Fábio “Caipira de Aço” Maldonado def. Hans Stringer
(TKO; Rd. 2)

Darren “The Damage” Elkins def. Lucas “Mineiro” Martins
(Split Decision)

Beneil “Benny” Dariush def. Carlos Diego Ferreira
(Unanimous Decision)

Undercard:
Neil Magny def. William “Patolino” Macário
(TKO; Rd. 3)

Yan Cabral def. Naoyuki Kotani
(Submission; Rear Naked Choke, Rd. 2)

Wilson Reis def. Scott “Young Guns” Jorgensen
(Submission; Arm Triangle, Rd. 1)

Andre “Touchy” Fili def. Felipe “Sertanejo” Arantes
(Unanimous Decision)

Gilbert “Durinho” Burns def. Christos “The Spartan” Giagos
(Submission; Armbar, Rd. 1)

Tony Martin def. Fabrício “Morango” Camões
(Submission; Kimura, Rd. 1)

 

Upcoming Events

UFC Fight Night 55: Rockhold vs. Bisping (Friday November 7th; 7:30 pm ET)
Sydney, Australia (Allphones Arena)
Main Event: Luke Rockhold vs. Michael “The Count” Bisping
Notable: Ross “The Real Deal” Pearson vs. “Ragin” Al Iaquinta
Notable: Robert “The Reaper” Whittaker vs. Clint “Headbussa” Hester

UFC Fight Night 56: Rua vs. Manuwa (Saturday November 8th; 10:30 pm ET)
Umberlandia, Brazil (Tancredo Neves Gymnasium)
Main Event: Mauricio “Shogun” Rua vs. Jimi “Poster Boy” Manuawa
Notable: John “Hands of Stone” Lineker vs. Ian “Uncle Creepy” McCall
Notable: Warlley Alves vs. Alan “Brahma” Jouban

UFC 180: Werdum vs. Hunt (Saturday November 15th; 10:00 pm ET)
Mexico City, Mexico (Arena Ciudad de Mexico)
Main Event: Fabrício “Vai Cavalo” Werdum vs. Mark “Super Samoan” Hunt [Interim Heavyweight Title]
Notable: Jake “The Juggernaut” Ellenberger vs. Kelvin Gastelum
Notable: Dennis “The Menace” Bermudez vs. Ricardo “The Bully” Lamas

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