Florian still a bridesmaid as Aldo defends belt at UFC 136

Maggie Hendricks

Jose Aldo defended his featherweight championship with a decision over Kenny Florian at UFC 136 in Houston on Saturday. Aldo won the fight 49-46 on all three judges' cards.

Aldo also able to tag Florian in the first minutes of the bout, so Florian turned to takedowns. Aldo held off Florian's takedowns, but spent much of the round clinched against the fence defensively.

A tentative Aldo started the second round not throwing many of his patented leg kicks. As the round wore on, Aldo threw more of his kicks, but it was a tentative round for both fighters until Aldo tossed Florian's takedown attempt to the side, then landed a kick as Florian stood back up.

In the third round, Aldo became more comfortable, landing more kicks. Those kicks also set up strikes that damaged Florian. Aldo took Florian down in the third minute and moved to side control, then half-guard. Though Florian defended well, Aldo was in control. Florian escaped after Aldo wasn't able to accomplish much with the takedown, and the two finished the round in the clinch.

Florian returned to the clinch for much of the fourth round. When they were apart, Aldo got the better of their striking exchanges, but Florian had better Octagon control. As the fourth ended, Aldo smiled and gave the thumbs up to his cornermen, who advised him to stay away from the clinch and continue to kick low.

Unfortunately, he couldn't follow their directions early in the round, as Florian returned to the clinch. Florian slipped and fell to the ground. At first, he held off Aldo with upkicks, but Aldo found the right moment and got full guard. Florian defended the submission attempts and returned to his feet.

With two minutes left to go, Aldo pushed Florian against the fence until referee Dan Miragliotta separated them. Florian continued to try for the takedown that wasn't there the previous 23 minutes of the bout. Florian separated for a second to try to throw some home run punches, but then returned to the clinch.

After the fight, Aldo said through a translator that he was tentative on his kick because of Florian's takedowns. He also said that he came up with his gameplan after watching Florian's fight with B.J. Penn.

This was Florian's third time in a title fight, and his third loss. He tried for the lightweight title twice, against Penn and Sean Sherk. A drop down to featherweight opened the door for him to get another shot. With a loss in this bout, don't expect for Florian to get another shot at a belt. His record is 14-6.

Aldo successfully defended the UFC featherweight belt for the second time, as he beat Mark Hominck in a five-rounder at UFC 129. He first won this belt when the featherweight division was in the WEC, where he ran through the division on the way to the belt. Aldo's record now stands at 20-1.

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