Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) Featherweight champion, Jose Aldo, looked to continue his surprising Bantamweight run at UFC 265 tonight (Sat., Aug. 7, 2021) in Houston, Texas, taking on fellow Brazilian Pedro Munhoz in the pay-per-view (PPV) co-main event.
Aldo was just 1-2 at 135 pounds; however, dropping a close split decision to Marlon Moraes and taking former division stalwart, Petr Yan, to the limit are nothing to sneeze at. Munhoz, meanwhile, has more experience in the weight class, taking on tough competition like Aljamain Sterling and Frankie Edgar, but “Scarface” is no doubt his biggest “name” to date.
It was about as even a match as one could imagine on paper. And when the fists and feet started to fly, it was ... pretty darn even. But, Aldo’s jab and counter striking was just too much for Munhoz to handle, with “Scarface” taking home an impressive decision win.
Aldo is historically a fast, vicious starter, whipping low kicks and a whirlwind of dynamic strikes that are hard to defend and counter. Munhoz, though, was more than game, eager to exchange with the future first-ballot Hall of Fame inductee. Both fighters touched gloves, with Munhoz coming out with a side kick to the mid-section and then a flurry, perhaps looking to flip the script on “Scarface.” Aldo just pumped a jab, his hands high, looking to time a shot and/or find an opening that he can exploit. Munhoz with a steady diet of teeps and low kicks, trying to back up Aldo against the cage and snuff out his offensive explosiveness. Aldo landed with a solid knee to the face as Munhoz came in with a reaching shot, but it looked better than it was, apparently. Modway thought the opening frame and Aldo finally started to open up with his fists, launching lefts to the body and head and keeping Munhoz at bay with a crisp jab. Aldo scored with an uppercut, then a hard overhand right, but neither appeared to faze Munhoz. Nice exchanges from both fighters with one minute remaining in the round, with Aldo still ripping the body shots and uppercuts. Munhoz with a right hand and a spinning roundhouse kick that missed — fun round. Munhoz early, Aldo late … tough one to score.
Both fighters seemed fresh to start the second round, with Munhoz taking a deep breath after a very active first five minutes. Aldo started the action with a hard low kick, with Munhoz firing back with a hard body shot. Munhoz opened up after an Aldo combination, winging wide hooks as Aldo retreated out of danger. Munhoz kept the pressure on Aldo, but wasn’t scoring with much in the opening half of the round. Once again, Aldo looks content to coast in the first half of the round and turn it on late. More low kicks and a sweet combination upstairs for Aldo, but Munhoz is walking through everything and is up in his grill any chance he gets. The crowd started to rain down boos as the round came to a close, but it’s been a solid fight thus far.
Third and final frame and it seemed like Aldo had the slight edge. They hugged in the center of the Octagon and then both just exploded with hard shots, exchanging from the jump. Aldo remained very effective with that left jab, while Munhoz repeatedly missed with his spinning attacks. Body shot from Aldo, who appears to have more energy and is turning up the volume. Triple jab from Aldo, then a one-two combination that appeared to hurt Munhoz. Body shot and low kick from Aldo, as Munhoz fired back with a hard right cross that just missed its mark. Low kick from Aldo took Munhoz right off his feet, then he clipped him with a hard right hook as he scrambled back to his feet. Munhoz cut appeared to be leaking a bit more, uncorking more spinning attacks that just weren’t working … at all. Aldo, meanwhile, pumped the jab like a piston and was just content to counter and explode, landing almost 60 percent of his significant strikes. He opened up the attack with 10 seconds remaining on the clock, then danced the final two seconds, knowing that his work down the stretch more than likely earned him the nod from the judges sitting ringside.
Like a fine wine, Aldo continues to age beautifully in this violent and sometimes ugly sport. In fact, he delivered his most efficient striking performance to date in his storied career.
More Aldo, please. And the sooner the better.
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