(Photo via Getty)
By Alex Giardini
UFC 179: “Aldo vs. Mendes 2” proved to be exactly what we expected it to be, and that was a one-fight boxing card with a scintillating main event for the ages. The “greatest featherweight fight in history” was nothing short of amazing, with Jose Aldo defeating Chad Mendes for the second time after knocking out “Money” at UFC 142 almost three years ago. The battle was full of wild punches, eye pokes, a lot of heavy breathing, and at times, flying shit that didn’t land.
With a certain “joker” sitting cageside, let’s examine UFC 179, and why it was great and equally pathetic:
Jose Aldo vs. Chad Mendes Was The Business
Aldo’s presence alone is like waiting to unwrap that PS4 your significant other bought you for Christmas. You’ve got to wait a while for it to happen, but when it does, you can bet your ass it was worth it. “Scarface” was met with a lot of criticism before this fight, seeing how he didn’t really sell the contest, and truth to be told, he’s not really one to generate great interest in the media when he fights. Say what you will about his output winding down, since it’s almost as if his battle against Ricardo Lamas at UFC 169 never happened, yet he’s the UFC’s most dominant champion right now.
You’ve got your Jon Jones and your Cain Velasquez, however, keep in mind the gold has been around Aldo’s waist since 2009, stemming from his WEC years. Last night, he was dragged into a dogfight and he delivered, with the whole of Brazil on his back to preserve the country’s identity in the fight world, since he’s the only champion left from a place that dominated the MMA landscape for so long. He’s pretty great, too.
As for Mendes, he certainly rocked the champion on multiple occasions and did the most damage anyone has done to his main event foe. The Team Alpha Male product’s striking has gotten much better, and it’s really depressing to say this, but he really cemented his status as the division’s number two guy. When he dropped Aldo in the first round after connecting with clean shots, it summoned the spirit of T.J. Dillashaw, yet things didn’t really go the Californian’s way. When he was hit with two shots after the horn in round one, it’s tough to say how much damage was done, and if Aldo truly had any bad intentions since he claimed he didn’t hear the buzzer.
This fight reminded us why MMA is truly awesome, much like the Dillashaw upset, and when Lyoto Machida took Chris Weidman to the deep waters at UFC 175. This featherweight tussle holds the pole position for “Fight of The Year,” and we can’t help but get that fuzzy feeling inside just thinking about it. At the same time, it’s not like we don’t have to put up our fair share of bullshit just to get to the center of the Tootsie Roll.
As for Conor McGregor, you might think UFC really missed an opportunity to have him enter the cage and do the dirty work to sell a fight against a champion that doesn’t care much about that stuff. After all, both the winner and the loser called him out. But maybe UFC isn’t jumping the gun after all, now that the Irishman is tied up with Dennis Siver, and that if you really had to look at it from a fair standpoint, the winner of Frankie Edgar vs. Cub Swanson deserves the next crack at the belt. It’s not really the wisest option, based on McGregor’s hype train riding from coast to coast across the globe, yet one has to think UFC wants us to believe Siver has a chance to win.
“A Light Heavyweight Matchup With True Title Implications”
UFC broadcaster supreme Mike Goldberg says a lot of drunk-white-girl things, but this takes the freaking cake. Once Phil Davis vs. Glover Teixeira concluded, he spat out this gem, which is borderline scary. Davis was coming off a crushing loss to Anthony Johnson at UFC 172, while “Bones” dominated Teixeira in a 205-pound title fight on the same exact card.
As for the fight, all you need to know is that the wrestler did what wrestlers do, neutralizing the power-puncher’s offense, and bringing him down to the mat over and over again. Maybe we should give a bit more credit to “Mr. Wonderful,” because it was arguably his best performance in the Octagon thus far. The Brazilian had trouble finding his range with Davis on his bicycle, and that’s pretty much how the three-round scrap went.
Look, the light heavyweight division is pretty bad these days, and if you want proof of that, just listen to the Penn State alumnus calling out Anderson Silva in his post-fight interview. With Anthony Johnson’s uncertain future, along with the plans to have Alexander Gustafsson fight Rashad Evans, Davis kind of is “in the mix.” One more win, and the guy is inching closer to a title shot, as odd as that sounds. The promotion will most likely book Davis to fight Ryan Bader next, because frankly, nothing else really makes much sense.
Main Card Woes And The Need For Change
Credit the fighters on the prelims for bringing it, since five out of six fights were over before the final horn. With that said, the three other main card contests almost put everyone to sleep, with takedown-heavy game plans and fighters that just don’t cut the mustard on the big stage.
Fabio Maldonado’s comeback win over Hans Stringer seemed like a shot in the dark, but more so for the event in general. It was like a Hail Mary thrown to save the interest of the main card, after witnessing Darren Elkins vs. Lucas Martins and Beneil Dariush vs. Carlos Diego Ferreira stink up the joint. Maybe every fighter deserves his or her chance to shine on the big stage, but we’re also in the entertainment business, or even better, the $50 to $60 price-tag business.
Before you accuse us of hating the UFC and being these snotty historians that wish it was 2006 all over again, please understand what is happening. More MMA isn’t a bad thing at all. Hell, I’d watch live MMA every night if I had to, or at least be content with the fact that it’s available in those circumstances. On the flip side, the quality just isn’t there anymore, and there’s a reason why you don’t want to watch the Jacksonville Jaguars against the New York Jets every single weekend. This card is a perfect example of what Dana White criticized for so long, and that’s a boxing event with one high-profile fight on it. The UFC needs to change its PPV and television model fast.
Nobody is forcing you to watch the prelims, or the fights outside the main and co-main events on the main card. We get that. Although how exactly is this sport supposed to grow, and shouldn’t we at least be concerned with the lack of thereof? You’ll have an event like UFC Fight Night 46, followed by UFC on FOX 12, and observers will come out in full force and trash the oversaturation bit. But in terms of consistency, UFC just doesn’t have it anymore. Injuries are one thing, but it can’t be the basis of an argument, either.
If a tree falls a forest, and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? Maybe. If a main event is described as one of the best fights of the year, but only 200,000 people saw it because nobody really gave it the time of day, was it still as great as it was? Yes, but we’ll definitely need to put time aside to convince those that didn’t watch. One of the best fights of the year was on one of the worst PPV’s of the year, period. If you need to any further convincing, please refer to this.
At the end of the day, it’s no skin off our backs. That title fight was a prime example of why we need to put up with some dry stuff to have a good time. But UFC needs to think of something to get the casual fan’s interest back, because The Ultimate Fighter and celebrity tweets aren’t doing it anymore. If not, the “bubble” is going to get smaller and smaller, with limited selling points.