COMMENTARY | Featherweight champion Jose Aldo (22-1) defeated Frankie Edgar (15-4) via unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 48-47) to cap one of the deepest cards in recent UFC history. Aldo extended his winning streak to 15 consecutive fights
Here are five thoughts on the UFC 156 main card:
Frankie Edgar has become the king of rematches, and he made the case for yet another one with his close decision loss to Aldo. He does this by outworking his opponents more than anything else. Aldo was clearly the better fighter in the first two rounds of the fight. His speed, power, and reach were simply too much for Edgar to handle.
However, Edgar's hard work slowly wore down Aldo, and by the time the fifth round ended, the fight was in doubt. Actually, I scored the fight 48-47 for Edgar. I felt that Aldo easily took the first two rounds 10-9, and Edgar won the last two rounds 10-9.
The third round was the difficult one for me to judge. Aldo landed that powerful front kick in that round, but Edgar also outworked him and controlled the pace of the fight during that period as well. I couldn't fault anyone for scoring that round for Aldo, but I think Edgar won it 10-9. It was a great fight, regardless of how you scored it, and it's certainly deserving of a rematch sometime in the future.
Overall, this fight proved two things. First, Edgar is one of the toughest fighters out there. His heart will never be questioned. Second, Aldo showed how strong a champion he is. This matchup against Edgar was Aldo's greatest test thus far, and he passed it with flying colors. He didn't let Edgar steal this fight from him in the late rounds. Aldo is clearly one of the top five fighters in the world.
Alistair Overeem's off-night
Many people were surprised when Antonio Silva (18-4) finished Alistair Overeem (36-12) in the third round, but there were signs of trouble early in the fight. Overeem appeared to be rather slow and lethargic in the first two rounds. He lacked his normal explosiveness, and he kept dropping his hands. I don't know if it's because Overeem didn't take Silva seriously, but there was something seriously off with him. Maybe it was ring-rust, or maybe Overeem had a poor camp. All I know is that Overeem is a better fighter than what he showed against Silva.
Meanwhile, I have to wonder what's next for Bigfoot. I'm sure the UFC's matchmakers haven't forgotten how Cain Velasquez mauled him the last time the two men met in the cage. He may need to win another fight or two before earning a title shot.
Rashad Evans should drop to middleweight
I can't remember the last time Rashad Evans (17-3) looked this bad in a fight, but he should use his decision loss to Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (21-5) as an opportunity to move down to middleweight. Evans has no real chance of challenging Jon Jones again in the near future, but here are plenty of matchups for him at 185 pounds. It would also be a chance for him to work his way up the ladder for a title shot with Anderson Silva. It's time for Evans to finally move down. There aren't many interesting fights left for him at light heavyweight.
Maia stakes his claim
There were plenty of people booing the Demian Maia-Jon Fitch fight, but I found it fascinating. Neither fighter is known for his striking, so it was clear from the moment the bout was booked that it would come down to each man's grappling. I expected Maia (18-4) to do well, but I didn't think he'd control an accomplished wrestler like Fitch (24-5) for nearly the entire fight. With such a dominant ground game, I have to wonder how Maia would do against Georges St. Pierre. We may find out soon enough.
What's up with the flyweight division?
I don't know what to think of the UFC's flyweight division. Joseph Benavidez (17-3) and Ian McCall (11-4-1) put on a solid fight to open the UFC 156 main card. In fact, nearly every flyweight bout in the UFC has been fun to watch. The problem is that there aren't a lot of 125-pounders in the organization right now. When I think of the flyweight division, four fighters come to mind: Benavidez, McCall, John Dodson, and the champion Demetrious Johnson. Where's the depth in the weight class? Are there other potential title contenders out there? I'm starting to wonder if the flyweight division has a future in the UFC.
Derek Ciapala has been following MMA for 20 years. He has been published on GatewayMMA.com, UltimateApocalypse.com and multiple other websites. You can check him out on Facebook or on Twitter @dciapala.