The Tuesday Takedown takes a look back at some of the biggest bouts and the biggest talking points from both Bellator 130 and UFC 179.
There’s only one place to start really and that is in Brazil as Jose Aldo (25-1) successfully defended his featherweight belt against Chad Mendes (16-2) in a very entertaining scrap.
The second meeting between Aldo and Mendes had a lot of hype about it and boy did these two fighters deliver. A back and forth contest raged on for the full five rounds with the Brazilian getting the unanimous decision win over the Amercian Mendes.
Looking on from Octagon side was our own Conor McGregor who had nothing but praise for both men in an interview with American broadcaster FOX.
“Two very good opponents and I have nothing but respect for them but I am supremely confident that when I face Aldo I can hurt him,” said an ever-entertaining McGregor.
In truth, this is perhaps the most bruised Aldo has ever been in a fight. An exchange of punches from Mendes lit up Aldo on many occasions and for the first time in his career, was knocked to the ground momentarily before getting right back to his feet.
A brief moment of controversy at the end of the 1st round, saw Aldo land two heavy punches long after the buzzer had been sounded. UFC commentator Brian Stann was shocked that referee Marc Goddard had not deducted a point from the champion. In hindsight however, the viewer at home had the benefit of microphones whereas those in attendance (including Mendes’ corner) didn’t hear the klaxon due to the volume of the crowd.
It was an extremely close fight from here on in with momentum swinging like a pendulum for both men and in a close round with Aldo as the home fighter, it is quite obvious that these rounds would be given to the champion.
It could be argued that Mendes provided the more damaging shots throughout. Beautiful level changes from Chad saw him land a multitude of uppercuts which did noticeable damage and staggered Aldo momentarily.
However, it was Aldo who got the UD victory in a fight that could have really gone either way. In a year devastated by injuries to main event fighters for the UFC, it was nice to see a top billing deliver.
Elsewhere on the card, the co-main event between light heavyweights, Phil Davis (13-2) and Glover Teixeira (22-4) saw Davis run out as victor in a fight he truly dominated.
I have to hold my hands up and say that I was wrong. In Friday’s ‘Fight Night Preview’ article, I went all in with Teixeria giving Davis no hope and I could not have been more wrong.
Teixeira never got going in the fight and that is really down to the excellent skill set of Davis who controlled him from pillar to post with some pristine grappling and wrestling techniques.
Glover will certainly be disappointed as he slips down 2 places in the UFC rankings to 6th. Davis however moves up to 5th in the quest to obtain gold.
Although, in a strange post-fight interview with Brian Stann he called out Anderson Silva who was Octagon side. Silva’s face looked as confused as the rest of the MMA community. Other than that, a very complete and professional performance from Phil Davis.
Fabio Maldonado’s (22-7) fight between Hans Stringer (22-6) is certainly worth a brief mention this week. The 34-year-old Maldonado was in for a tough test against long-limbed Dutch fighter Stringer and it certainly seemed that everything was going Stringer’s way in the first.
A near full five minutes in top position left Maldonado frustrated with little or no room to work much to the excellent ground game of Stringer in a truly dominant 10-8 round.
Fabio managed to survive the round and the visibly gassed Stringer felt Maldonado’s force as he got taken to the mat himself and ate some heavy ground and pound.
With the Brazilian crowd right behind Fabio, Marc Goddard waved off the fight as Maldonado and Anderson Silva no less, had a very touching moment atop the Octagon cage embracing each other and exchanging celebratory handshakes and smiles.
A big TKO victory for Maldonado on home soil in front of a huge home support in Rio.
Let’s rewind now to Friday night’s action in Bellator’s main event as Emanuel Newton (25-7) defended his light heavyweight belt against British fighter, Linton Vassell (14-4).
If Vassell felt any pressure about being a relatively unknown underdog, he certainly didn’t show it as he dominated Newton over the course of three rounds. The Brit showed excellent technique on the ground and had the champ in serious trouble with a plethora of submission attempts but was unable to lock anything in.
In a fight of fine margins, it’s always important to retain momentum and retain that pressure but in Newton, there is a calm and experienced fighter who has been through it all and the 30-year-old American pulled it out of the bag in a fight he was most certainly losing.
In round five, Vassell’s first sloppy mistake cost him dearly as Newton was able to transition neatly to take his back and sink in a rear naked choke with no hooks to retain his belt for the fifth time.
It was a spectacular fight and a very highly contested one which nobody could have predicted.
That’s all for this week fight fans. MMA action continues this coming weekend as Cage Warriors and Invicta take to the stage. You can catch the preview for all the top fights this Friday in Pundit Arena’s ‘Fight Night Preview.’
Until then, enjoy the rest of your week.
Shane Saunders, Pundit Arena
Featured image By Lee Brimelow (cropped from DSC_0029) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.