The Sunday Aftermath – UFC 179


After an excruciating three week break, the Octagon returned to our screens as the Ginásio do Maracanãzinho in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil played host to UFC 179: Aldo vs. Mendes. The world featherweight title fight was a rematch of the 2012 bout which Aldo emerged victorious from and topped a much maligned card.

Up And Down Undercard

The UFC 179 undercard was underwhelming on paper but exciting from the very start with a pair of first round submissions in both fight pass bouts. Tony Martin opened the card by finishing Fabrício Camões with a Kiumra before Gilbert Burns arm-bared Christos Giagos with just seconds left before the opening round ended. The television portion of the card was just as fast to start as Wilson Reis choked out veteran Scott Jorgensen and Yan Cabral tapped Naoyuki Kotani just after Andre Fili won a fight of the night contender over Felipe Arantes. That was all topped off by the continuation of the wonderful run of Neil Magny who stopped William Macario late in the final round.

The main card opened up with the snoozers of the night and saw Carlos Diego Ferreira lose a decision to Beneil Dariush before Darren Elkins took the win over Lucas Martins in a pair of fights best forgotten. The always exciting Fabio Maldonado brought some life back to the card though as he put a beating on Hans Stringer and stopped him in the second after the Dutchman dominated the first round.

The pick of the lead-in bouts on the card entering Saturday night was the co-main event between light-heavyweight contenders Phil Davis and Glover Texeira with both men fighting to sustain their place amongst the upper echelon at 205 pounds.The American was dominant in the opening round as he beat Texeira to the punch before taking him down to cause more damage. Davis was all over him like a rash again in the second and ground Texeira out with some superb takedowns. The Brazilian had to throw it all in the
final round which played right into the hands of Davis who got the takedown and mount early in the period. As the round progressed, both men tired badly before Davis took the easy unanimous decision.

Fantastic Featherweight Fight

The main event, though, was the one everyone tuned in for as Jose Aldo defended his UFC featherweight title in a rematch with the vastly improved team alpha male star Chad Mendes. The American started well as he changed stances constantly to take away the leg strikes of the champion while landing a couple of his own. Aldo, though, wasn’t backward in coming forward as both men traded hard on the feet. Mendes dropped Aldo before he himself was dropped late in the round and again after the bell by a nasty
Aldo 1-2 which he managed to get away with. Things settled down slithly in the second as both men got into their respective grooves where body shots and leg kicks were traded in a wonderful display of mixed martial arts.

The third round was the closest of the fight as, after an early eye poke to Aldo, Mendes had a powerful uppercut land straight on the chin of Aldo. The Brazilian looked badly hurt but pounced with a right hand of his own which put Mendes on the seat of his pants. The fourth round was somewhat cagey as both men recovered from a rip-roaring middle round. Mendes was first to the punch for large parts but a late Aldo combination made it extra tight going into the final round. The last period saw Mendes go forward to start and land with a quick left hook which was answered, again, by the Aldo left-right combination. From there, though, the champion made the fight his as he darted in with straight right hands and a series of high kicks just before the last bell chimed. The champion correctly retained his title with a unanimous decision in, undoubetly, the fight of the year so far.

With Cub Swanson fighting Frankie Edgar next month and Conor McGregor battling Dennis Siver in January, the next title shot could be anyone’s. Although, after both Aldo and Mendes found it necessary to mention McGregor in their respective post fight interviews, the Irishman’s name could be getting ever closer to the top of the waiting list.

Injuries hurt

The amount of injuries which have ravaged upcoming cards was by far the biggest issue in the three weeks before Jose Aldo fought Chad Mendes, a fight which itself has been postponed previously due to an Aldo injury. Erik Perez, Ray Borg, Norman Parke, Joe Lauzon, Diego Sanchez, Cain Velasquez and more have all pulled out of upcoming fights with injuries in that time. And it’s not as if this is a freak occurrence; the promotion has been dogged by injuries almost constantly since 2013. There has been some suggestion that the UFC’s health allowance is a reason for this with fighters signing bout agreements with injuries just so they can pull out and have their medical bills covered. And, although that may have happened, It’s more than likely such a disingenuous act is rare. Fighters are full of pride and hate pulling out of fights, to do it on purpose is almost a ridiculous thought.

The more likely reason for all the injuries is simply the amount of preparation you need to become a high level MMA fighter. Jiu-jitsu, boxing, wrestling, muay-thai, strength and conditioning etc not only take a toll on the body but don’t leave much time in the schedule for that overworked frame to recover. A tired mind and worn out body lead to lapses in judgement or procedure and thus injuries. The sad thing is, there isn’t really a way of curtailing this. The fighters need to do all that work if they want to succeed. Working (too) hard is unavoidable in MMA. But there’s a limit that if you exceed then the hard work will be all for nothing because of injuries. It’s the job of the fighter and their coach to make sure they train smart and keep that balance tilted in the direction of highly prepared but not dangerously overworked. Unless that starts happening, we better get used to planned fights not materialising.

Podcaster, lead MMA writer and analyst for SevereMMA. Host of the SevereMMA podcast, out every Sunday. Economics and Mathematics graduate from UCC. Also write for Sherdog. Previously of hov-mma and fightbooth. As heard on 2FM, Red FM, Today FM and more. Follow me on twitter for updates @SeanSheehanBA and on Facebook

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