UFC 163 went down Saturday night from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In the main event, featherweight champion and pan-divisional top-fiver Jose Aldo put his title on the wire against Chan Sung Jung, known to most fans and billed on the card as the "Korean Zombie."
Aldo appeared to control most of the fight, putting together particular bursts of offense late in the round in hopes of making a final case for the higher score. He was probably leading on the scorecards when the fourth round began. But it never reached the finish line, because when Jung landed an overhand right on the back of Aldo's head, he separated his shoulder.
One thing led to another, with Jung in great pain and unable to adequately defend himself, and Aldo earned the TKO victory at 2:00 of the fourth frame.
And yet, maybe it wasn't all as open-and-shut as that. Maybe the numbers tell a different story. What does, for example, the data from official UFC statistics provider FightMetric tell us about the situation?
It seems the Zombie out-threw Aldo when it came to striking, but Aldo landed a substantially higher percentage. In the first round, Zombie landed 3-of-37 significant strikes for an 8 percent clip, compared with Aldo's 6-of-22 for 27 percent.
The story was much the same in the second, with Aldo opening up a bit and landing 13-of-28 for a 46 percent rate, compared with another 8 percent for Jung on 3-of-38 significant striking.
But the tables began to turn a bit in the third round. Zombie held the advantage in significant strikes thrown and landed with 8-of-25 for 32 percent, compared with 3-of-13 and 23 percent for Aldo. Of course, Aldo controlled a significant portion of it and seemed to win the round with positional grappling (referee Herb Dean, in fact, stood them up more than once).
Was Aldo getting tired? Was the Zombie hitting his stride? Because of the injury, we'll never know. But Aldo's focus was clear, as he went 2-of-3 on takedowns in the round. (By comparison, he went 1-of-1 in each of the three other rounds, while Zombie did not even record a takedown attempt.)
The statistics seem to show a changing trend line, given how much Aldo slowed on significant striking and his growing desire to get things horizontal. But hey, maybe we're just reading too much into things, which is easy to do when something ends as abruptly, prematurely and arbitrarily as this fight did. Nevertheless, it's all a moot point thanks to Chan Sung Jung's shoulder and Aldo's indisputable early-round dominance.