At UFC 169, Jose Aldo stepped into the Octagon to defend his UFC featherweight championship for a sixth time. Standing across the cage from the Brazilian was a surging Ricardo Lamas.
With a win over Lamas Saturday night in Newark, N.J., Aldo would tie 205-pound titleholder Jon Jones for the most consecutive title defenses during a current UFC title reign. In doing so, he would make a strong case for being elevated to the top pound-for-pound fighter in the official UFC rankings.
Undefeated since joining the UFC roster, Lamas waited over 12 months for his shot at Aldo. Many felt he should have been awarded a championship bout previously, but Anthony Pettis was booked to meet Aldo. Then, the UFC opted to replace an injured Pettis with Chan Sung Jung rather than Lamas in August 2013.
Here is the co-main event between Aldo and Lamas through Twitter's eyes.
No one here exactly sure who Ricardo Lamas is. This may not be the best promoted fight.— Jonathan Snowden (@mmaencyclopedia) February 2, 2014
Arguably the greatest pound-for-pound fighter alive, Jose Aldo, walking into the cage. Only other option: Jon Jones. #UFC169— Mike Chiappetta MMA (@MikeChiappetta) February 2, 2014
A notably reserved challenger, Lamas did not generate much hype as he worked his way up the 145-pound ladder. It's a big part of the reason he was passed over in favor of Jung, and it's a smaller part of the reason this featherweight matchup served as the co-main event under a bantamweight headliner.
1-2, crushing leg kick on the finish for Aldo. Great combo. #UFC169— Hunter Alek Homistek (@HunterAHomistek) February 2, 2014
I give Aldo the first 10-9. Nothing crazy, but a solid, professional round, took advantage of openings.— Kevin Iole (@KevinI) February 2, 2014
Known for having cardio problems, Aldo paced himself early on. Despite landing only 14 strikes in the first stanza, though, the champion did enough to gain a slight edge over Lamas on the scorecards.
Ouch that leg kick hurt lamas...— Sarah Kaufman (@mmasarah) February 2, 2014
Aldo landed repeated leg kicks now. Man, those look painful. Aldo rocks him with an uppercut now.— Jeremy Botter (@jeremybotter) February 2, 2014
Easy 20-18 for Aldo.— Dave Doyle (@davedoylemma) February 2, 2014
After warming up in the opening round, Aldo began to open up the second frame, blasting his challenger with some heavy leg kicks. The titleholder more than doubled his output from the first round, landing 30 strikes to earn a clear advantage over Lamas.
Was that Lamas' first takedown attempt? In Round 3? Bizarre. Not getting easier with one leg, either. #UFC169— Hunter Alek Homistek (@HunterAHomistek) February 2, 2014
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
30-27. Aldo cruising.— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) February 2, 2014
The third round made it abundantly clear Lamas didn't have much to offer Aldo in any area. Able to stuff Lamas' first takedown attempt, Aldo continued to attack the legs of his adversary and forced the challenger into a position where he essentially needed to finish.
When Lamas finally did engage with some clinching and takedown attempts he ends up on his back. Not his night— Brent Brookhouse (@brentbrookhouse) February 2, 2014
Aldo has his back, going for the RNC— Kevin Iole (@KevinI) February 2, 2014
Aldo with another good round. I have it 40-36 Aldo heading to the fifth. Lamas needs to finish, clearly— Kevin Iole (@KevinI) February 2, 2014
Desperate to make something happen, Lamas made a more spirited effort to take the fight to the ground in the fourth round. Aldo was able to counter, though, and ended up on top. Controlling Lamas for three minutes and threatening with submissions, Aldo extended his lead on the scorecards heading into the final round.
Aldo gets another takedown.— Jeremy Botter (@jeremybotter) February 2, 2014
Lamas won a scramble and landed in Aldo's guard last two minutes. Way too late but this is how people thought he could win. 49-46 Aldo.— Josh Gross (@yay_yee) February 2, 2014
That's a new UFC decision record. 10 in one event.— Nathan (@ACCBiggz) February 2, 2014
Lamas finished strong and had a chance to work his ground-and-pound in the final minutes, but he couldn't stop Aldo. The late rally was enough for Lamas to win the round, but it was not nearly enough for him to surpass the champion on the overall scorecards.
The best fighter in the history of the lighter weight classes. Aldo is on a Hall of Fame-worthy run.— Dave Sholler (@Sholler_UFC) February 2, 2014
Okay, Aldo vs. Pettis needs to happen at some point soon.— Shaun Al-Shatti (@shaunalshatti) February 2, 2014
With eight straight title defenses dating back to his WEC days, Aldo has established himself as the best featherweight in MMA history. A move to the lightweight division has been contemplated by the Brazilian recently, and the time could be right for him to move up and challenge 155-pound champion Anthony Pettis.