Last night (Sat., Jan. 14, 2012) at UFC 142: "Aldo vs. Mendes," which took place at the HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Jose Aldo went back home to defend his featherweight championship against a man who was supposed to pose the greatest threat to his throne, Chad Mendes.
Instead, "Scarface" delivered yet another knockout, landing a precision knee with deadly accuracy when Mendes attempted to use his wrestling to shoot for a takedown late in the opening frame.
However, the knockout is not what we'll remember from last night. No, the lasting image of UFC 142 is the one you see above, an exuberant Aldo having jumped into the crowd with reckless abandon to celebrate his triumph with his people, the loving fans in Brazil who cheered him to victory.
In many ways, this event felt like the wrong fight was headlining. Sure, Aldo vs. Mendes was for a championship and that should always take precedent, but Vitor Belfort vs. Anthony Johnson had all the intrigue. And not just because of the weight problems Johnson was having but because Belfort is quite possibly the most famous of all Brazilian fighters in the UFC. He is Rio's son.
Last night, though, signified a star making turn for Aldo, a killer in the cage who, for whatever reason, simply couldn't find the proper acceptance from fans. His utter and complete disregard for his own safety, which UFC President Dana White was quoted as saying "freaked him out," undoubtedly endeared him not only to fans in Brazil at the arena but to folks watching at home, as well.
It's easy to connect with such visceral emotion. With his cold demeanor inside the cage and the way he so easily disposed of a tough top contender, you would think Aldo might be above such a thing. But no. There he is, surfing through the crowd and fending off the security guards who are trying to protect him, just so he can ride the wave of jubilation with everyday folks like you and I.
That's Jose Aldo, folks. One of the baddest motherf*ckers on the planet.