Click below for the UFC 136 co-main event report
HOUSTON, October 8 – Jose Aldo wasn’t spectacular Saturday night at Toyota Center. Not by a longshot. But in the UFC 136 co-main event, the UFC featherweight champion showed that he could still find a way to win under any circumstance, retaining his crown for the second time with a workmanlike five round unanimous decision over Kenny Florian.
Florian fired off leg kicks to start the championship bout, with Aldo firing off flurries that came sporadically but evident intensity. 1:45 into the fight, Florian got Aldo to the mat for a moment, but the Brazilian shot up immediately, only to get pinned to the fence by the challenger, who was intent on getting the takedown. A couple more scrambles resulted in Aldo’s knee hitting the deck, but Florian stayed relentless. With 1:35 remaining, Aldo broke loose, but his attack was again smothered by Florian, who kept the champ idle for the rest of the round.
It was a war of nerves between the two in the first half of round two, with Florian slightly busier than Aldo, but the champion landed a couple flush leg kicks that got the crowd back into things. In the final 1:30, Aldo scored with a few more pinpoint accurate shots, forcing Florian to up his workrate in order to close things up, but to no avail.
A hard left uppercut put Aldo on the board in round three, and he appeared to be opening up his striking game more with 10 minutes already in the bank. Florian, bloodied on the side of his nose, started to stake more punishment from the champion, and a takedown attempt that left Aldo in the top position didn’t help matters. Florian’s defense on the mat was stellar, as he avoided any serious trouble before standing up, but he wasn’t able to do any scoring of his own before the end of the stanza.
Told by his corner that “this is it”, Florian tried to busy his attack to begin round four, but Aldo trudged forward, showing little fear of the challenger, and in response, he continued to potshot when he could before getting bulled into the fence. After a spell of relative inactivity, the two separated, Florian searching for takedowns, but Aldo not biting.
With five minutes remaining, Florian’s plan of attack was to again get the bout to the mat, but he was still coming up empty. A slip to the mat by the challenger allowed Aldo to get in some potshots and almost get his leg caught, but Aldo soon settled into his opponent’s guard and briefly took the mount position before the two rose, and a stalemate against the fence forced a restart from referee Dan Miragliotta. The two went right back to the fence, jockeying for position before breaking, with Aldo scoring with the last flurry just before the bell, something fight fans would have liked to have seen more of throughout the five rounder.