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By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief
UFC 142: ALDO VS. MENDES
JANUARY 14, 2012
LIVE FROM RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL
Facebook Fight: Felipe Arantes def. Antonio Carvalho via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
=====FX PRELIMINARY CARD=====
-A new graphics package and opening video preview opens the show, then kicks to the Fox sports theme as Goldberg and Rogan introduce the show. They run down the co-main events for the pay-per-view card, discussing Anthony Johnson's weigh-in day issues, and then introduce the fights that will air live on FX here tonight.
FIGHT ONE: RICARDO FUNCH VS. MIKE PYLE (WELTERWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Pyle landed a couple of strikes early. Funch landed a kick. They clinched in the center and traded knees to the body. Funch landed a good strike. Pyle landed an inside leg kick. Pyle cracked Funch with a right that hurt him. He landed a knee that dropped Funch and he continued with strikes on the cage to earn the stoppage.
WINNER: Pyle via TKO at 1:22 of the first round
STAR RATING: (**+) Pyle looked very good in this fight. He was patient with his striking, and found his rhythm before cracking Funch with that right. The knee was perfectly placed in the follow-up, and he got the Brazilian crowd in a frenzy of boos against him. Good start.
FIGHT TWO: YURI ALCANTARA VS. MICHIHIRO OMIGAWA (FEATHERWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Alcantara landed a knee to the body immediately that hurt Omigawa. He put his arm to his side to protect his body after that shot. Alcantara landed a few strikes and got in a knee in the clinch. Omigawa landed a right. Alcantara got in a quick flurry, then sent Omigawa back with a big right. They traded strikes. Omigawa missed a spinning back fist. Omigawa landed a left. Alcantara cracked him with two straight punches. Alcantara landed another straight left flush. Omigawa is absorbing the punches, but he's taking a lot of shots. Alcantara landed a big knee, then hurt Omigawa with a punch. Omigawa initiated a clinch, but in the ensuing scramble, Alcantara took his back. Omigawa stood up, and turned Alcantara around as he dropped back to the ground. Omigawa landed a few strikes in guard. Alcantara grabbed an arm bar as time was running out. Omigawa tried to hold on and looked like he may have tapped. If not, the arm was wrenched in bad fashion.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-9 Alcantara. Omigawa didn't tap, but that was Alcantara's round all the way.
ROUND TWO: Alcantara landed a few strikes after Omigawa connected on a left early. Omigawa missed the spinning back fist again. Alcantara knocked Omigawa down again with a punch and this time got into top position. Omigawa is a tough man, but he's getting cracked thus far. Alcantara passed nicely into mount, and as Omigawa turned he stayed on his back. He landed some strikes and looked for a spot to attack. Alcantara landed a couple of big strikes and then locked on the choke. Omigawa got loose. Alcantara dropped a few elbows. Omigawa regained half guard. Omigawa began bleeding from the side of his head. Alcantara continued landing strikes and looked for openings to pass. He got to half guard and Omigawa grabbed a leg. He moved up and landed a few elbows, and then ended the round on top.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-8 Alcantara. He knocked Omigawa down and dominated the action on the ground. Arguable 10-8 in the first as well with the near sub.
ROUND THREE: Alcantara was visibly tired to start the third, and Joe Rogan commented on the stiffness of his early attack. Omigawa pressed in and landed a few strikes. Omigawa went for the spinning back fist again, but he missed. Alcantara pressed in and landed a left. They traded strikes. Alcantara got in a good combination. Omigawa got in and landed a short flurry. He got in an elbow and scored a takedown on Alcantara. Omigawa was far too inactive in the guard as time was running down. He landed a few strikes, but wasn't doing much of anything in Alcantara's guard. Alcantara got to his feet, and as time wore out he scored a trip and landed in mount.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-10. Omigawa was edging it slightly with the takedown, but he did nothing with it and got mounted as the fight ended. With striking fairly even in that round, neither took it clearly, but Alcantara will win the fight.
WINNER: Alcantara via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 30-27)
STAR RATING: (**) Decent work from Alcantara before he got tired in the third, but overall a good performance. That armbar at the end of the first was beautiful, and had he gotten it with a few more seconds left the fight would have been over.
-Dana White tweeted an update about tonight's co-main event. Both Vitor Belfort and Anthony Johnson just weighed in, with Belfort coming in at 205.6 and Johnson coming in at 211. Two "middleweights" in a light heavyweight fight tonight.
FIGHT THREE: GABRIEL GONZAGA VS. EDNALDO OLIVEIRA (HEAVYWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Oliveira took the center and Gonzaga circled the outside. Both were very tentative through the first minute. Oliveira threw a couple of ugly looking straight punches to test the range, but they didn't connect. Gonzaga landed a right to the body. Gonzaga shot in for a single leg, picked Oliveira up and took him down into side control. Oliveira turned and got to his feet, but Gonzaga had a body lock and took him back down. Gonzaga landed a nice knee to the body, then locked on a rear naked choke as he took Oliveira's back, and he forced the tap. Great return for Gonzaga.
WINNER: Gonzaga via submission (rear naked choke) at 3:22 of the first round
STAR RATING: (**) Great work by Gonzaga in a big return win to the UFC. Oliveira didn't look ready for the UFC, which is a big statement considering the state of heavyweight MMA. Gonzaga worked really well on the ground to get that choke, and it was a very nice finish for him.
-The Facebook fight between Felipe Arantes and Yuri Alcantara was aired with time to kill.
FIGHT FOUR: SAM STOUT VS. THIAGO TAVARES (LIGHTWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Tavares took the center and tried to press Stout back. Tavares grabbed a clinch and got an early takedown on Stout. Stout sat up and attempted to get up. Tavares stayed on him and tried to take his back. Stout nicely got to his feet and landed a couple of strikes. He sprawled on the next attempt and got separation. Stout caught a kick and landed a right. Tavares landed a right. He got in with the clinch again and pressed Stout to the cage. He scored another takedown. Tavares landed a nice right, but Stout got back to his feet again. Tavares picked Stout up and slammed him down. Stout got to the cage again, and then popped to his feet. Tavares grabbed for a guillotine, but Stout got loose and then took Tavares down. Tavares went for a leg lock, but Stout stood and got out. Stout landed a good right hand to the jaw. He got in a good body shot. Tavares landed a good right. Tavares shot in, Stout stuffed it, but ate a right hand as Tavares broke free. Stout stalked as the round ended.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-9 Tavares. Two takedowns and some decent strikes throughout gave him the edge in the first frame.
ROUND TWO: Stout landed a good short right early in the second. He landed a good combo as Tavares tried to pop in. Tavares pressed in for the clinch, and Stout shrugged him off. Tavares landed a good right. Stout pressed forward. He got in a strike. They traded punches. Tavares connected on a good right. Tavares shot in but Stout stuffed it again. Stout landed a hard body kick. He got in a really nice body shot as well. Tavares landed a kick that cut Stout. Stout got in a combo. He landed a short combo. Tavares landed a body punch. Stout got in a body kick. Stout with a combo, then they traded strikes. Stout landed another hard body strike. Tavares landed a leg kick as the round ended.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-9 Stout. Barely. Close round, Stout seemed to have the higher output, and he stuffed Tavares' shots, but that round could have gone either way for the judges.
ROUND THREE: Tavares landed a good early right. Stout landed a kick inside that went low. Ouch. As they restarted, Stout got in a few good strikes. Stout stuffed another takedown attempt from Tavares. Tavares landed a leg kick. Stout got in a few good body shots. Stout stuffed another shot, but Tavares stayed on the single leg. Stout landed a few strikes and forced the separation. Tavares' nose began bleeding. He landed a leg kick. Stout got in a nice two-punch combo. Tavares landed a left. Stout got in another nice punch. Stout landed another combo. Tavares landed a good right. Stout caught a right and landed a punch. Tavares landed a good right. They traded strikes. Stout landed a few jabs. He got in a right after Tavares missed a shot. Stout rocked Tavares late. He landed a few more strikes and rocked Tavares again. It wasn't enough, however, as the round came to an end.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-9 Stout. He did a lot more damage that round, and ended with a big final 30 seconds where he rocked Tavares a few times. I sense a split coming up.
WINNER: Tavares via unanimous decision (scores not announced)
STAR RATING: (*+) Not a great fight to watch. Had some decent back and forth action, but there wasn't much to the bout.
-So much for getting rid of the gladiator. He lives in the opening of UFC 142 on pay-per-view, and the same opening music hits as well. Maybe the change isn't coming until after the first Fox event of the new deal. Goldberg and Rogan welcome the pay-per-view broadcast as always (note: watching on the UFC on Xbox Live app tonight. They're a couple minutes behind the televised broadcast, but the stream looks really good thus far, and there's been no issues to speak of). First fight we roll to is the exciting lightweight bout between Etim and Barboza.
FIGHT FIVE: TERRY ETIM VS. EDSON BARBOZA (LIGHTWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Etime came to the center and threw a few strikes before shooting in. Barboza hopped back to his feet immediately. Etim landed a good leg kick. He checked a kick from Barboza. Etim went high with a kick but it was blocked. Etim shot in again and completed a takedown, but Barboza immediately swept and got to his feet. He landed a hard leg kick on the outside, then got one to connect on the inside as well. Etim landed a couple of jabs as he circled on the outside. Barboza got in a hard leg kick again. Etim stalked. Barboza landed a nice body shot. Etim landed a left hook and Barboza countered. Etim shot in again on the cage, but Barboza stuffed it and landed a hard knee. Barboza came in with a short combo but didn't land both strikes. Barboza landed a couple more hard leg strikes. He got in a short combo. Etim tried to walk him down. Barboza landed a hard spinning back kick right before the round ended.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-9 Barboza. He took over later in the round with some good strikes, though it was a close start to the bout.
ROUND TWO: Etim came forward early and landed a couple of strikes. Barboza landed a few leg kicks. Etim landed a couple of kicks. Barboza came back with another hard kick to the lead leg. They traded strikes in close. Etim shot but got stuffed and ate a knee on the release. Etim landed a body kick. Etim came forward and Barboza landed more hard leg kicks. Barboza landed a right, then another leg kick. Barboza landed a nice short combo and ended with a leg kick. Etim got in a few punches, with one landing nicely to the body. Barboza landed another hard leg kick. Etim went for a spinning back kick but it didn't connect. He landed a right, then had a kick checked. He shot in late and scored a takedown, but Barboza immediately stood up and got free. Excellent work by Barboza. Etim landed a right. Barboza landed a hard combination to the body and head. He got in another leg kick. He landed another kick to the leg. Nice body shot landed by Barboza to end the frame.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-9 Barboza. A much clearer round for the Brazilian. He took the fight to Etim there, and made sure he felt the strikes he threw. The leg kicks are taking their toll, for sure.
ROUND THREE: Barboza went back to the leg kicks to start the final round. They got into a clinch briefly and Etim landed a knee. Barboza landed a body kick. Barboza got in a kick. Barboza then landed a spinning back kick to the head that sent Etim crashing down! Right as Rogan said the word knockout. Incredible. Holy hell that was amazing. Spinning wheel kick that sent Etim out cold. Wow.
WINNER: Barboza via KO at 2:02 of the third round
STAR RATING: (****) That's all for the finish. That's a "KO of the Year" candidate, and one of the most insane finishes the UFC has seen. It is right up there with the front face-kick KOs of Anderson Silva and Lyoto Machida from last year. Incredible, incredible finish, and if you didn't catch tonight's event, you'll need to watch this fight eventually.
FIGHT SIX: ERICK SILVA VS. CARLO PRATER (WELTERWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Silva rushed in with a big knee and a few strikes that dropped Prater after short feeling out period, then landed a big series of strikes that caused the stoppage. Another huge and quick win for Silva. That knee landed to the body, and he just unleashed a barrage on Prater. There's a discussion going on about blows to the back of the head, and he might be getting a disqualification here. Wow.
WINNER: Prater via disqualification (illegal blows) at :29 of the first round
STAR RATING: (n/a) Yamasaki discusses the call and says he needed to decide in the moment, and Joe Rogan immediately questioned the decision. There were a few shots that did land to the back of the head, but this feels like an off call here. The "back of the head" rule is applied with such inconsistency that we've seen much worse than that go unpunished, and Silva got a little screwed by comparison. Still, illegal shots landed, and led to the finish, so it's just a tough spot in this one.
FIGHT SEVEN: ROUSIMAR PALHARES VS. MIKE MASSENZIO (MIDDLEWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Palhares landed a couple of early leg kicks. Then one of them connected low and Massenzio needed a second to compose himself. Massenzio tried to walk Palhares down as they restarted. Palhares got in a good strike. He completed a short takedown, but Massenzio got back up. Palhares got in for a clinch, rolled with a leg, and forced Massenzio to tap. Who could have called that?
WINNER: Palhares via submission (heel hook) at 1:03 of the first round
STAR RATING: (**+) Palhares gave everyone what they were expecting. As I wrote in my preview, he hates your legs. All of you. If he gets a hold of one, he'll do bad things to it, just like he did to Massenzio's tonight. It's a brutal, yet highly effective way to finish opponents, and it's something that will keep him in the mix in the middleweight division.
FIGHT EIGHT: VITOR BELFORT VS. ANTHONY JOHNSON (FRANKLINWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Johnson took the center immediately, and looked massive compared to Belfort. Johnson scored an early takedown after catching a leg. Belfort kicked his legs up. Johnson stood up, then dropped down with a right. The crowd broke into a "Vitor" chant. He landed a few strikes from the bottom, and they were stood up due to inactivity. Johnson came forward. He ducked under a punch and shot. Belfort stuffed it, but Johnson drove him to the cage. Belfort landed a few strikes as he held off the takedown. They were separated from the clinch. Johnson missed a big looping punch and Belfort landed a good strike. He got in a knee as Johnson shot in, but Johnson got him to the ground and into guard. The crowd again exploded with Vitor support. Johnson landed some body strikes, but Belfort kept him in guard. Miragliotta stood them up quickly again. Johnson rushed in and tried to get another takedown. His gas tank may not last long after yesterday's cut. Johnson got to his knees and Belfort landed a few strikes. Johnson wouldn't get up to let Belfort land a knee, so Belfort took his back and went for a choke. He landed some big strikes. Johnson tried to cover up with Belfort on his back. Belfort went for the choke again with 20 seconds left and Johnson went out. Huge win for Belfort, and Johnson might be on his way out.
WINNER: Belfort via submission (rear naked choke) at 4:49 of the first round
STAR RATING: (**+) Great performance by Belfort to outlast Johnson, who was going to fade in this fight as it went on. It certainly didn't help him that he was stood up a few times (the UFC's Twitter account claims that Brazilian rules for standups were in effect), but he didn't do much with the takedowns he had. They were questionable standups, of course, but ultimately Johnson's failure to be prepared to cut the required weight for a middleweight fight sapped his energy, and he wasn't going to go three rounds with Belfort tonight no matter what happened. Don't be surprised if this is the last we've seen of Anthony Johnson in the UFC.
MAIN EVENT FIGHT NINE: JOSE ALDO VS. CHAD MENDES (FEATHERWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP)
ROUND ONE: Mendes came to the center and landed a couple of early leg kicks. He landed another and Aldo checked it. Then he got a nice one in on the outside, but Aldo returned the favor with an even better kick. Aldo got in another leg kick. Mendes circled on the outside. Mendes shot and Aldo shrugged him aside. Aldo popped in with a jab. He landed another hard leg kick. Mendes missed on a couple of punch attempts and caught Aldo with a low kick. Aldo was alright to continue. Aldo landed a big uppercut and stuffed Mendes' takedown attempt. Mendes landed a punch, but Aldo stalked. Mendes shot in again, but Aldo held it off once more. Mendes landed a jab. He got in a good leg kick as well. Aldo landed a hard strike and a good knee, but Mendes grabbed a body lock and took Aldo's back standing. Mendes lifted him up, but Aldo grabbed the fence. Mendes tried to pick him up again but couldn't get him down. Aldo continued to hold off the takedown attempt. He got loose, landed a knee that dropped Mendes, then landed a few punches on the ground to stop it before the round ended! Holy s***! That was incredible! Aldo sprinted to the crowd, ala his WEC days, and a huge celebration went on. The crowd surfed him back to the cage. That was incredible. He continued the celebration in the crowd.
WINNER: Aldo via KO at 4:59 of the first round
STAR RATING: (****+) That's just one of the more incredible finishes you'll ever see, and the celebration in the crowd afterward bumped the moment up even further. Just an incredible moment by the best featherweight in the world. Mendes dropped to go for a takedown again, and Aldo just connected on that knee to the jaw. He's got the killer instinct to make that moment count, and then to put forth that spectacle in the crowd afterwards was just something not seen often in the UFC. A fantastic win by a fantastic Champion. Incredible, incredible moment, and it's too bad it will have been missed by most of the UFC's audience.
-Preliminary card fights were replayed as there was a full hour left in the pay-per-view broadcast
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Jamie Penick, editor-in-chief
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