When Ricardo Lamas was announced as Jose Aldo’s next opponent, many fans and pundits looked at the Chicagoan as the toughest test of the champ’s legendary UFC career.
If that was, in fact, the case, then on Saturday night at UFC 169, Aldo proved once again why he’s widely regarded as one of the most complete and dominant champions the sport of MMA has ever seen, as the Brazilian defended his belt with a unanimous decision victory over the challenger in the night’s co-main event.
Aldo, 27, controlled the majority of the five rounds en route to his sixth consecutive victory inside the world famous Octagon. The organization’s first, and only featherweight champ, picked the Chicago native apart seemingly at will. Aldo used the early rounds to establish a rhythm and keep the distance, while Lamas did his best to pressure the Brazilian. As spry and as confident as Lamas looked, the champion was far too precise with his technique to allow for any missteps.
As the fight wore on, Aldo began peppering Lamas with a barrage of thudding leg kicks. As each kick landed, this fight became more and more like your stereotypical Jose Aldo fight. Much in the same manner that Aldo decimated challengers before with his surgical leg kicks – think Kenny Florian and Urijah Faber – the fight with Lamas would be no different. With each kick, Lamas lost rhythm, and at times was so disrupted by Aldo’s onslaught that he literally stopped moving altogether. The leg kicks were followed, or preceded – depending on the combo – by ripping body shots, and counter straights. It was a textbook striking performance for the native of Manaus, Brazil.
Making matters worse for the wrestling-centric Lamas, his first takedown attempt didn’t happen until the third round. It’s hard not to wonder what could have been if Lamas hadn’t waited until the 12th minute to try his first takedown, and put that annoying pressure on Aldo, but in the end the thought was rendered moot by the champions workmanlike approach.
Lamas managed to save face in the last round, as he took Aldo to the mat, and employed some generic ground and pound, in the process earning the final frame on all three judges scorecards.
The final scorecards read 49-46, 49-46, 49-46, for the winner via unanimous decision Jose Aldo.
With the win, Aldo supplanted himself as the reigning kingpin of the sub-155-pound weight classes, and kept himself directly at the top of the sport’s hotly contested pound-for-pound discussion.
Post-fight the glowing champ gave credit to the ultra-tough Ricardo Lamas.
“Yeah, I was surprised he took a lot of kicks on the leg,” said Aldo. “I was surprised he kept going. He’s a great fighter.”