UFC 179: Jose Aldo Was Pushed to Most Memorable and Important Victory Yet
By Kelsey Mowatt
It’s been a couple of days now since UFC 179 went down in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and the MMA world is still buzzing about one of Jose Aldo’s most thrilling performances yet. Not only did Aldo ensure a championship belt remained in Brazil by decisioning Chad Mendes, but the featherweight showcased tremendous skills and character, in what his toughest test to date.
Heading into the October 25th fight, there was widespread discussion as to whether Aldo’s storied reign was about to end, in light of the improvements Mendes had made since he was stopped by the champ in 2012. The Fight Metric data did not support the argument that Aldo’s powers had declined in recent years, but a somewhat cloudy, pre-fight narrative surrounded the renowned fighter.
Despite the fact Aldo had outclassed all of his recent challengers, in the likes of Ricardo Lamas, Frankie Edgar and Chan Sung Jung, the performances were viewed by some as underwhelming. Then there were questions about the state of Nova Uniao, in the aftermath of Renan Barao’s recent loss to TJ Dillashaw, and his subsequent failure to make weight.
In addition, there was extensive debate as to whether Brazil’s top tier fighters had been eclipsed by their American rivals. All of these questions and the resulting pressure, was seemingly hoisted onto Aldo’s shoulders as UFC 179 approached.
Well, as we witnessed on Saturday, Mendes, and his new striking skills, proved to be the considerable challenge for Aldo that many thought. Aldo was stunned on more than one occasion. By the fight’s end, his left eye was badly cut and swollen. The champion was in a condition fans hadn’t witnessed, since Aldo began his remarkable run with ZUFFA back in 2008.
Despite the punishment he took, however, Aldo managed to outscore Mendes throughout five rounds, and had the Team Alpha Male fighter in trouble on a couple of occasions. It was one of the promotion’s greatest title fights yet, and the Fight Metric data reflects the slugfest that it was.
Throughout the 25 minute war, Aldo landed 102 of the 269 significant strikes he threw for a percentage rate of 37%. Mendes, in turn, scored 77 of the 194 significant strikes he threw for a clip of 39%. In total, Aldo threw 289 strikes and landed 122 of them, while Mendes offered 203 strikes and scored with 89 of them. As the data relays, it was a vicious, offense filled fight.
While the fight’s striking exchanges will be what most people recall, once again, Aldo’s takedown defense played a key role in delivering him a victory. The accomplished wrestler Mendes was only able to secure a takedown in 1 of his 8 attempts. As a result, the powerful fighter’s top game was not a factor.
It remains to be seen how the thrilling victory will impact Aldo’s drawing power in the coming months, but perhaps the most important aspect of the win, was the determination and grit the champ showed.
For a fighter who has been accused of fighting passively in the past, and in some cases rightfully so, Saturday’s fight demonstrated that Aldo is much more than just a technical master.
In order to secure his jaw-dropping, 18th victory, Aldo was forced to aggressively pursue Mendes in several rounds. As a result, fans were treated to his most memorable and important performance so far.