Looking to make his seventh consecutive defense of the featherweight championship, Jose Aldo (22-1) headlines UFC 163 against Chan Sung Jung (13-3) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The latest title defense for the dominant Brazilian isn't the only fight to look forward to in Brazil, though.
The co-main event features a pair of light heavyweight contenders in Phil Davis (11-1) and Lyoto Machida (19-3).
The rest of the card features an exciting slew of prospects, including 23-year-old John Lineker (21-6) taking on Jose Maria (33-3), Cezar Ferreira (5-2) taking on Thiago Santos (8-1) and the return of Thales Leites (20-4) to the Octagon against Tom Watson (16-5).
While many of these names aren't the biggest stars in the UFC, they do have plenty of finishing ability and should provide an excellent night of fights. Be sure to check back here for the latest results with analysis and grades for each fighter on the card.
If the UFC is looking for some fresh blood to liven up the flyweight division, John Lineker is making his case to enter the title picture. He earned his third consecutive win inside the Octagon with a second-round TKO win over Jose Maria Tome to kick off the main card.
The 23-year-old upped his record to 22-6 with the win and confirmed his spot in the top 10 of the division. Lineker is currently ranked No. 7 in the UFC’s media rankings for the division but does not hold a win over anyone else currently on the list.
With the win, his next bout needs to be against any of those fighters.
Maria was making his UFC debut but held a very impressive 33-3 record outside of the organization with 27 wins coming by way of knockout or submission. He’ll have to hope that Dana White and Co. will chalk up the loss to debut jitters and Lineker’s skill set so that he can get another chance to showcase his abilities.
Lineker Grade: B+
Lineker came into this fight as a fairly heavy favorite as Maria took the fight on short notice. Early on, it appeared he might be the victim of an upset as Maria was able to land some heavy strikes that rocked the 23-year-old early in the fight.
However, he proved that he's capable of taking some damage and coming back strong. He got the better of the exchanges in the second round and was able to capitalize with the finish.
Maria Grade: C
Maria certainly looked like he belongs in the UFC in the first round. He landed some crisp strikes, including a spinning backfist that stunned the favorite. However, he wasn't able to finish the job, and it came back to bite him.
He didn't pick up the win, but he showed enough to earn another shot in the Octagon with a full training camp.
It’s been nearly four years since Thales Leites was in the Octagon, but he returned with a vengeance by picking up a unanimous decision victory over Tom Watson.
Leites left the organization after back-to-back losses to Anderson Silva (for the middleweight championship) and Alessio Sakara. After going 6-1 outside of the UFC, he finally earned his way back to the spotlight and made good on the opportunity. Now it will be interesting to see just how far he can take this new run.
Watson may be fighting for his own right to stay in the UFC after this loss. He’s now just 1-2 in the Octagon. The former BAMMA champion won knockout of the night honors with his win over Stanislav Nedkov, but he’ll need to have his hand raised next time out if he wants to secure his future with the company.
Leites Grade: B+
This was a great performance from Leites. His jiu-jitsu was as sharp as you'd expect as he routinely got dominant positions against the overmatched Watson. The only thing keeping him from getting an A was that it felt like he faded a bit down the stretch. Had he got the finish this would have been a perfect performance.
Watson Grade: D+
Watson had his moments in this one. As usual his power gave him some opportunities to win the fight, but as usual his takedown defense held him back. Watson has been taken down multiple times in all three of his UFC fights now. Against a guy like Leites, that can't happen. He'll need to really go back and work on that aspect of his game if he wants to take the next step as a fighter.
Further legitimizing his Ultimate Fighter: Brazil victory, Cezar Ferreira defeated Thiago Santos via guillotine choke in the first round in his first fight since winning the show. After rocking Santos with a huge left hand, Ferreira wasted no time in locking up the submision as he took out his opponent in less than a minute.
The win moves Ferreira’s career record to just 6-2, but he’s now 2-0 in the UFC. With two wins under the bright lights of the UFC stage under his belt it should be expected that Dana White and Co. will begin to slowly amp up the competition for the 28-year-old.
Santos came up short in his UFC debut after coming up short in The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil 2. He came in as a late replacement for Clint Hester, so there’s still hope that he gets another shot to impress, but this was definitely not the impression he was hoping to make.
Ferreira Grade: A+
What else can you give a guy that rules the fight from the get go? The closest part of this contest was the glove touch and Ferreira's aggression was too much for Santos. He rocked his opponent with solid striking and put him away when he had the opportunity. Doesn't get better than that.
Thiago Santos: F
There's not a whole lot to say about Santos' performance. He got rocked early on and gave up the submission. He'll have to just scrap this performance and hope to improve the next time out.
Phil Davis secured the biggest win of his career by dispatching of former light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida in the night’s co-main event via unanimous decision.
This is the kind of victory that confirms the hype that surrounded the former Penn State wrestler when he won the first nine fights of his career. Although that hype died down when he was outclassed by Rashad Evans back in Jan. of 2012, he has gone 2-0 with a no contest since then. With just one loss in his career and a win in front of Machida’s home crowd, it might be time to consider Davis a contender once again.
With the loss Machida’s days as a contender may officially draw to a close. He already has a loss to Jon Jones on his resume and is now 2-2 in his last four fights. At 35 years old, time is running out for him to turn things around.
Davis Grade: B
This is a decision that is sure to raise some eye brows among fans, but Davis did enough to earn the nod in the eyes of the judges. As dangerous as Machida can be with his counter-striking ability, you can't blaim Davis for being a big gun shy with his own striking.
Davis scored two takedowns against a fighter that has been nearly impossible to takedown in his career shows that Davis belonged in the Octagon with the former champion.
Machida Grade: C-
Machida may be upset with the decision, but he has no one to blame but himself. As Jeremy Botter of Bleacher Report points out, The Dragon landed exactly one more significant strike than Davis.
FightMetric had Machida landing 17 significant strikes and Davis at 16. Shockingly low amount of sig strikes for a 3 round fight.— Jeremy Botter (@jeremybotter) August 4, 2013
At some point Machida needed to be more aggressive to decisively claim rounds and he didn't do that. It's a disappointing loss, but he had plenty of opportunities to try do more damage and didn't pull the trigger.
Jose Aldo is still your UFC featherweight champion after defeating Chan Sung Jung via fourth-round TKO in Saturday’s main event. Aldo not only showcased his striking, but also out-grappled "The Korean Zombie" before finishing off the challenger via strikes.
“The Korean Zombie” became the eighth victim of Aldo’s title reign that spans back to his days in the WEC organization. If those defenses counted, he would be tied with Georges St-Pierre for the second longest streak of title defenses in UFC history.
Regardless, he once again showed why he’s a constant presence in the top five of pound-for-pound lists and one of the most dominant champions in the sport.
Sung Jung certainly can’t be faulted for the loss. Unseating a champion with a 22-1 career record is no easy task and Sung Jung still remains a top featherweight. He should go back to putting on great fights for the fans every time after the loss.
Aldo Grade: A-
This wasn't the greatest performance from Aldo. He picked up the finish, thanks in part to an apparent shoulder injury for the challenger, but he's definitely had better title defenses. The biggest surprise was how often the champion took the fight to the ground.
He scored at least one takedown in each round and got the better of Jung on the ground. That's a scary development for an already dominant champion.
Korean Zombie Grade: C
No one really gave the Zombie a chance to win this fight and he didn't do anything to make you think that he'd defy expectations. He was extremely inaccurate when he tried to strike and was out-grappled when the fight hit the mat.
The only reason this grade isn't any lower is because it appeared the fight would go to decision before Jung suffered an apparent shoulder injury that led to the finish.