September 30, 2010
Fight fans, Jose Aldo is maturing as a mixed martial artist so forgive him if he doesn't finish opponents in the first round. He even lost the first round on two of three cards against Manny Gamburyan. The Brazilian dynamo picked his spots and stayed patient. When it was time to pounce, he was lethal. Early in the second round, Gamburyan got a little overconfident, Aldo closed space and let his hands go. Aldo stopped Gamburyan in his tracks with a right cross. Gamburyan ducked for a takedown attempt and got drilled by an uppercut. That was it. When the Armenian dropped to his knees, Aldo unloaded 10 more punches and Gamburyan went limp. Herb Dean stopped it at 1:32 of the second round as Aldo retained his WEC featherweight title in the main event of WEC 51 in Broomfield, Colo.
Aldo wasn't worried about exploding in the first round.
"It was the same thing they did in the fight against Urijah (Faber)," Aldo said of losing the round on two scorecards. "I try to study my opponent. And then in the second round I was able to execute my gameplan."
Gamburyan (11-5, 3-1 WEC) was competitive in the first round. It's open for discussion whether he actually won the round. He tried to show off his hands but at 5-foot-4 with limited reach, he couldn't land his big overhand right. His best chance to win the fight was to slow it down and take it to the ground, yet Gamburyan really never tried to clinch or lock up Aldo (18-1, 8-0 WEC). And takedown attempts were almost non-existent.
Now the question at hand is where does the 24-year-old Aldo rank among the best in the world in all weight classes? This was a good win but it also came against a guy who left the UFC's 155 class when he couldn't handle Thiago Tavares. That shouldn't take away from Aldo's 8-0 start in the WEC. His speed on both offense and defense is excellent. He uses leg kicks as well as anyone in the sport. But we have yet to see him against a great takedown artist. Maybe it's time for the UFC to encourage some of its smaller lightweights to drop to 145 pounds. Aldo isn't ready for a change to a different weight class.
"The same way Manny moved up to earn a title shot, other guys are going to earn a shot," said Aldo. "I'm here for the WEC."
Either way, it's going to be exciting to see Aldo add to his already lofty reputation.
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