In one of the biggest matchups of the night, featherweight champion Jose Aldo successfully defended his title against Ricardo Lamas via unanimous decision during the UFC 169 pay-per-view at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. on Saturday.
The reigning champion made sure the affair was business as usual for him as he continually beat the challenger to the punch on the feet and slowly picked him apart.
In the early going, Aldo's signature leg kicks wore Lamas down. While you might believe that leg kicks aren't as damaging as other strikes, UFC fighters such as Tim Kennedy had plenty of sympathy for Lamas:
I'm having sympathy pains for Lamas right now. I'm going to start icing my leg in 10 minutes. #UFC169— Tim Kennedy (@TimKennedyMMA) February 2, 2014
The only negative for the champion was the latter half of the fifth round when Lamas was able to gain top control as the fight drew to a close. However it was a classic case of too little, too late as the champion had the bout well in hand.
This was yet another huge win in Aldo’s unbelievable reign of supremacy.
The victory over Lamas gives him eight consecutive title defenses. After winning the WEC Featherweight Championship from Mike Brown in 2009, Aldo defended the belt twice in that company before making the transition to the UFC as the first featherweight champion in UFC history.
Since the merger, he has defended the title six times. Add in the fact that he has now won his last 17 fights, and it has become clear that he should be considered the undisputed pound-for-pound king of MMA.
As great as the win was for Aldo, it was equally as devastating to Lamas’ career.
He is another veteran of the WEC circuit but was handed a devastating first-round knockout in his last fight with the company. The transition to the UFC meant starting at the bottom of the barrel, but he took the challenge and earned his way to a title shot.
The featherweight contender racked up four straight victories in UFC—including hard-fought wins over Erik Koch, Hatsu Hioki and Cub Swanson—but he lost all of his momentum by losing against Aldo on Saturday.
Would you like to see a rematch between Jose Aldo and Ricardo Lamas?
Now, MMA fans are desperate to find out what’s next.
Aldo must continue to fight the best the division has to offer, and the next challenge should be a rematch with Chad Mendes. After Mendes beat Nick Lentz at UFC on Fox 9 in December 2013, he proved that he is still one of the top contenders in the division and deserves another title shot.
Aldo vs. Mendes II would be a dream matchup.
As for Lamas, he will need a strong contender to square off against in order to regain his momentum. With Swanson suffering a loss at the hands of Lamas in 2011, a rematch between these two men would be the perfect opportunity for one of them to find redemption.
With Saturday’s marquee title fight between Aldo and Lamas possibly producing two future dream bouts, the real winners at UFC 169 were the fans.
*All stats via UFC.com.