Two of the most entertaining featherweights on the planet collided last night (Aug. 3, 2013) as Jose Aldo defended his title against Chan Sung Jung in the main event of UFC 163 in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.
Despite having an incredible history of ridiculously exciting and bonus-winning fights, Jung came out very tentative, biding his time and not giving the champion many opportunities to counterstrike.
Aldo finally threw his first blow 75 seconds in, connecting with a crisp combination capped off by a powerful overhand right, but what everyone was waiting for was the first sickening leg kick from the talented former soccer player.
That didn't come until the midway point of the first frame, and when it did, it was very awkward, coming up just short enough that his foot connected on Jung's knee. This ended up having a serious impact on the remainder of the fight. Again, he threw a kick but it was the foot that connected on Jung's thigh and it probably sent flashes of pain up Aldo's entire leg.
The champion hardly threw another kick the rest of the fight as he'd suffered a deep bone bruise.
Despite the pain, Aldo pressed on, attacking with a wild flurry at the end of the round that included a spinning wheel kick and a flying knee, but neither landed cleanly.
By the second round, something seemed obviously wrong as Aldo was not nearly as active on the feet. Instead, he looked for a takedown against "The Korean Zombie," putting the title challenger on his back and trying to attack with strikes on the ground. It was a perplexing strategy considering the last time he utilized his ground game in that manner, he'd completely gassed against Mark Hominick.
Aldo came out with the same strategy in the third round, but Jung was ready, making the champion work for his takedowns this time and forcing referee intervention on a couple occasions to create separation. Once it became apparent Aldo wasn't as effective with his strikes on the feet, Jung began to open up and actually finished the third round very strongly with a huge flurry.
With things starting to get interesting heading into the fourth round, Jung began striking much more often at the surprisingly stationary Aldo. Unfortunately for "The Korean Zombie," his output got stopped in its tracks due to a freak injury as his shoulder separated once a strike caught Aldo square on the top of his head.
Jung tried to put the shoulder back in place but Aldo capitalized in brutal fashion, throwing three straight high kicks at his arm. When Jung's final attempt to fix his shoulder didn't work, the champion lunged forward and put him on the ground, finishing his wounded foe with heavy right hands on the ground as he was unable to defend himself.
It was an unfortunate end to a very strange fight.
For Chan Sung Jung, it's a shame we didn't get to see what he was capable of doing for five rounds. He had just started to turn the tide of the fight in his favor, was outstriking Aldo on the feet and perhaps could have done enough to do something incredible in the final eight minutes of the bout. Instead, a fluke injury took him out of the fight right when things were starting to get interesting. Jung had been very patient up until the end of the third round so we never really got to see the best of him at all.
For Jose Aldo, we didn't see the best of him either, and that was because he injured his foot in the very first leg kick he threw. After a few follow up kicks, he never went back to his most significant weapon and his mobility was greatly affected by the injury. Instead of countering on the feet with his highlight reel potential, Aldo was forced to change his fighting style, working for takedowns and trying to use his wrestling and ground game, where he's simply not as effective as a mixed martial artist. Needless to say, he got the win giftwrapped for him once Jung separated his shoulder on a right hook. It's not really my place to criticize Aldo, however, considering he was so negatively afflicted from the foot injury so early in the fight.