Jose Aldo Again Turns Back the Clock, Subdues Rob Font in UFC on ESPN 31 Main Event

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Jose Aldo still has plenty of story left to tell.

The former Ultimate Fighting Championship and World Extreme Cagefighting titleholder withstood significant damage to his right eye to beat the favored Rob Font by unanimous decision in the UFC on ESPN 31 headliner on Saturday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. Aldo (31-7, 13-6 UFC) swept the scorecards with 50-45, 50-45 and 49-46 marks from the cageside judges.

Font (19-5, 9-4 UFC) pushed a breakneck pace behind a stinging jab, and while he enjoyed his share of success, the New England Cartel representative had no answer for the Brazilian’s punching power. Aldo staggered him on more than one occasion with right hands, often stymying momentum and alternating the complexion of entire rounds in an instant. He also introduced some of his patented leg kicks and relied heavily on his underutilized ground game. Aldo took top position in the third, fourth and fifth rounds, doing some of his best work while the two bantamweight contenders were engaged in the mat. The Andre Pederneiras-trained Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt achieved full mount in Round 5 and secured position by grapevining Font’s body with his legs, threatening with a palm-to-palm rear-naked choke in the waning moments. Though Aldo’s efforts failed to secure the finish, they put an exclamation point on his latest masterful performance.

Fiziev Kick Short-Circuits Riddell

Sanford MMA’s Rafael Fiziev stopped Brad Riddell with a sensational wheel kick in the third round of their action-packed lightweight co-main event. The end came 2:20 into Round 3, as Fiziev (11-1, 5-1 UFC) extended his run of consecutive victories to five.

Riddell (10-2, 4-1 UFC) leaned on his jab, intermittent kicks and power punching bursts but allowed his adversary to lead the dance and too often found himself with his back to the fence. Fiziev tore open a horizontal gash on the City Kickboxing standout’s left eyebrow with a standing elbow strike in the second round, utilized sublime footwork to control the cage and slowly reeled in his latest catch. He froze Riddell with a perfectly timed wheel kick in the third; the impact of the blow appeared to have the Kiwi out on his feet and prompted referee Herb Dean to act before further damage could be inflicted.

The setback was Riddell’s first since July 21, 2018 and halted his seven-fight winning streak.

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Once-Beaten Hill Wrecks Crute

Jamahal Hill rebounded from a June 12 defeat to Paul Craig in resounding fashion, as he took out onetime Hex Fight Series titleholder Jimmy Crute with punches in the first round of their light heavyweight showcase. Crute (12-3, 4-3 UFC) bowed out 48 seconds into Round 1.

Hill (9-1, 3-1 UFC) dropped the mulleted Aussie with a clubbing right hand, denied an attempted takedown and reset before getting back to work with his heavy hands. The Chicago native stepped into a crushing right hook, decked Crute a second time and drove the final nail in the proverbial coffin with a standing-to-ground right hand on his dazed counterpart’s exposed face.

It goes in the books as the fastest finish of Hill’s brief but eventful 11-fight career.

Guida Choke Submits Santos

Former Strikeforce champion Clay Guida submitted “The Ultimate Fighter Brazil” Season 2 winner Leonardo Santos with a rear-naked choke in the second round of their lightweight feature. Guida (37-21, 17-15 UFC) closed out the decorated Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt 1:21 into Round 2.

Santos (18-5-1, 7-2-1 UFC) had his chance and blew it. He doubled over Guida with a brutal front kick to the body, then rushed in to finish what he had started. Knees, punches and rapid-fire hammerfists all found the mark, as Santos administered a hellacious beating to the Team Alpha Male standout. Referee Keith Peterson could have stepped in on more than one occasion but elected not do so, affording Guida the time he needed to withstand the assault. By the end of the first round, Santos was a spent force. Guida dragged him to the floor at the start of the middle stanza, softened him further with knees to the body, transitioned to the back and cinched the choke. Exhausted and out of answers, Santos tapped soon after.

The submission was Guida’s first since he dismissed Takanori Gomi with a guillotine choke at UFC 125 on Jan. 1, 2011—3,990 days ago.

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Replacement Curtis Upsets Allen

Xtreme Couture’s Chris Curtis brought down onetime Legacy Fighting Alliance champion Brendan Allen with punches and knees in the second round of their middleweight showcase. A short-notice replacement for Roman Dolidze, Curtis (28-8, 2-0 UFC) drew the curtain 1:58 into Round 2.

Allen (17-5, 5-2 UFC) secured an early takedown and jumped on the former CES MMA titleholder’s back, then returned to a standup battle when there were no finishing opportunities to be found. He kept Curtis at bay with stepping knees to the body, rangy combinations and a partially blocked head kick but failed to give him true pause. A leg lock attempt at the end of the first round went nowhere. Early in the second, Curtis followed a left hook to the body with a clubbing right upstairs that set the Sanford MMA export on unsteady legs. He then drove Allen to the fence and cut loose with a variety of shots before two final knee strikes slammed the door.

Curtis, 34, has rattled off seven straight victories, six of them finishes.

Morono Nets 10th UFC Win

Former Legacy Fighting Championship titleholder Alex Morono outstruck Mickey Gall to a unanimous decision in their three-round welterweight feature. All three cageside judges scored it 30-27 for Morono (21-7, 10-4 UFC), who now finds himself on a three-fight winning streak.

Gall (7-4, 6-4 UFC) kept it competitive, but his inability to draw the Fortis MMA rep to the canvas resulted in his undoing. Morono paired a consistent jab with thudding right hands and occasional front kicks to the body. He walked Gall into a jab and sat him down in the first round, swooped in for a potential finish and retreated into open space once it became clear a stoppage was not in the cards. Morono continued to build his lead across the final 10 minutes and incorporated an effective sprawl to discourage takedown attempts from the Rutgers University graduate.

The 29-year-old Gall has alternated wins and losses in each of his last seven appearances.

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