On Saturday night, the UFC returned to Las Vegas for a supercard that featured pivotal matchups in five weight classes. Headlining the card was a long-awaited matchup between former UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar and reigning featherweight kingpin Jose Aldo.
Edgar was given a title shot in his first appearance at 145 pounds, which came following a pair of championship losses to Benson Henderson. The booking was considered to be somewhat controversial, although Edgar brought a large group of die-hard MMA fans down to a division that lacks starpower.
Aldo took an early lead over the challenger by outstriking him with powerful leg kicks and voluminous punches. However, Edgar turned the tide in the latter half of the contest, leading some to think that "The Answer" had pulled off yet another come-from-behind victory,
However, that would not be the case as the defending champion had his arm raised in victory. Aldo certainly scored more strikes throughout the fight and did considerably more damage than he received. Two judges gave Aldo the fight four rounds to one, while one gave it to the champion with a three-to-two edge.
What We'll Remember About This Fight:
The chase that Edgar gave in the final rounds as he tried to close the gap that was created early on. With every combination and leg kick that Frankie scored, commentator Joe Rogan grew more and more anxious and his excitement was absolutely contagious.
What We Learned About Jose Aldo:
That when the champion is pushed from start to finish, his cardio is not up to par with the Frankie Edgars and Clay Guidas of the world.
We were previously aware of how incredible Jose Aldo's takedown defense is, but Saturday's fight put that skill on full display as the champion shut down double-digit attempts from his challenger.
The champion came out and did what he does best, but Aldo was unable to finish to always-tough Edgar, and he went to the scorecards for the third time in four UFC contests.
What We Learned About Frankie Edgar:
That Frankie still hasn't realized when a finish is absolutely necessary. Despite losing close decisions to Benson Henderson when Edgar thought he was ahead on the scorecards, the former lightweight champion hasn't recognized that his in-fight perspective doesn't seem to match that of the judges.
Frankie said post-fight that he thought he won the final three rounds. Whether he did or not is debatable, but there is no excuse for Frankie thinking that he could let this fight safely go to the final bell.
What's Next For Jose Aldo:
Moments ago, Dana White stated during the post-fight press conference that Anthony Pettis sent him a text message asking for a fight with Aldo. That would be an incredible matchup that makes sense both financially and based on the rankings.
However, there are potential fights with Ricardo Lamas and The Korean Zombie on the horizon for Aldo, both of which would make sense due to the outcome of recent matchups.
We will see what announcements are made in the next 24 hours.
What's Next For Frankie Edgar:
If Anthony Pettis does indeed cash in on a promised title shot at featherweight instead of the lightweight division where he currently resides, that opens more doors for Edgar in terms of future opponents.
Some would say that Edgar vs. The Korean Zombie is a perfect fight for a Fox card, or as a pay-per-view co-main event. The same could be said for Lamas; however, the Chicago-based fighter does not have the same marketability as Zombie.
The best fight for Edgar is Clay "The Carpenter" Guida. As former lightweights who constantly sat atop the division, it's surprising that these men never crossed paths previously.
Edgar vs. Guida would be a guaranteed high-energy fight whose pace would be incredibly trying on both combatants. It also has the star power needed to generate interest despite Frankie's current losing streak.