Jose Aldo still reigns atop the featherweight division. | Photo: Gleidson Venga/Sherdog.com
Entering the weekend, hardly anybody had predicted a win by Chan Sung Jung in the UFC 163 main event. By the time the dust cleared on Saturday at the HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Ultimate Fighting Championship featherweight titleholder Jose Aldo had demonstrated exactly why the odds were so long.
“Scarface” took his time with the challenger, opting to pick apart Jung with short counters to the head and body. When he needed to, the Brazilian took down “The Korean Zombie” and controlled him on the mat. Aldo’s primary weapon, his vicious leg kick, was nonexistent throughout the encounter. He utilized the technique only once, later citing a nagging foot injury as the reason why his kicks were sheathed for much of his latest title defense. Still, Aldo made it look relatively easy.
While Aldo patiently tore into his adversary, Jung was never in serious peril. He did, however, clearly lose the first three rounds. The “Zombie” started to come alive in the fourth, landing more and more strikes and threatening to drag Aldo into a firefight. Unfortunately for those in attendance and those watching elsewhere, Jung suffered a freak separated shoulder injury and wound up succumbing to punches soon after. The challenger tried in vain to pop his shoulder back into place, but Aldo was all over him, unloading with kicks and punches until referee Herb Dean pulled him off.
Obviously, there is no way to tell what would have happened had Jung’s body not betrayed him. He could have pulled off one of the unlikeliest of victories. Instead, Aldo remains the alpha male at 145 pounds.
The question now becomes, who should he face next? Though there are plenty of quality fighters hanging around the featherweight division, Ricardo Lamas is without question the most deserving of them all; Cub Swanson has made significant strides during his current winning streak; and Chad Mendes has kept his name in the hat for a potential rematch with Aldo. With all due respect to the latter two, Lamas has earned the right to be next in line. “The Bully” has not lost in almost three years and already owns wins against Swanson, Hatsu Hioki and Erik Koch.
Lamas is skilled enough to give Aldo a run for his money and perhaps even spring the upset. However, a case could be made for the champion as the sport’s top pound-for-pound fighter, so it seems unlikely that Aldo will be dethroned anytime soon. He is an elite fighter who could put together an Anderson Silva-like run of title defenses in the UFC.
Miscellaneous Debris: “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 8 finalist and former M-1 Global champion Vinny Magalhaes needed a win over Anthony Perosh. He viewed it as a crucial matchup, one he could not afford to lose if he wanted to hang around with the UFC. Unfortunately for Magalhaes, he was stopped by Perosh in just 14 second. It will be interesting to see how the UFC handles the submission savant ... Phil Davis beat Lyoto Machida in the co-main event; yeah, and pop music lyrics are well thought out ... It is still early in his career, but “The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil” winner Cezar Ferreira appears to be a fighter worth keeping an eye one. Let us see how he deals with the next level of fighters.
Follow Mike Sloan on Twitter at www.twitter.com/mikesloan19.