After injuries, a pair of beatdowns, and talk of retirement, Jose Aldo pulls back into the win column with emphatic knockout.
There was no doubt that Jose Aldo was no longer the same fighter he once was. Not yet his last six rounds of competition against Max Holloway. Not yet being punished in both physical and mental aspects.
During more than two battles, Holloway spent Aldo in a way that Connor McGregor could not claim. McGregor Aldo was beaten in just 13 seconds, but it was a lightning strike, something subtle but almost impossible to repeat. He can win again, but not so. Holloway’s victory, it seems, did not leave more than Aldo room for any other explanation. They were dominant, cruel and divorced. After that, Aldo contemplates retirement. By the time he arrived in Calgary, he was somehow vulnerable to Jeremy Stephens, who was on three consecutive victories, did not bring the functional harmony to become a tournament-level fighter.
This was Stevens’ moment apparently, at least until it was not.
Aldo’s exit in the first round of the main evening event seemed familiar after the event, like an old friend returning to visit him. Oh, by knockout Jose Aldo? I remember those! It was a while ago, nearly five years since Aldo stopped Chan Song Jung in a fight with a strange end (Jung separated his shoulder before the end), and more than six years since he was encouraging Chad Mendez into oblivion in the first round of the century in Rio. It was from time to time.
While no one is ready to announce that Aldo will get the UFC Featherweight Championship for the third time, it was nice to see a legend make some magic under such a severe ordeal.
If there is any doubt about what the battle is intended on Saturday for Aldo, you can see him in his immediate reaction after the fighting, falling on his back and then openly crying tears of joy at what he just did, although he did so many times before.
‘There was a lot of pressure on me for this battle,’ he said through an interpreter at a postwar press conference. ‘People were looking at me and saying, Where is he now? Is he the same as the fighter who was before? ‘
These are the short memories we have in MMA. It is easy to ignore a long past because of its present. This is the function of daily life now in Twitter, voice, scatter world. Everything can be discarded. Every achievement is ready to be forgotten once it happens. Aldo was king of the world for six years. He was undefeated for nearly 10 years.
The argument for Stevens was pure power. The American came in the battle tied for more than a knockout in UFC history with Anderson Silva (18). At any time you’ve been sharing records with the average long-time champion, you’re doing something right, but while Silva has installed his power over glory, Stevens has entered the game with 15-13 in the UFC. It was fantastic in moments, but it dropped against most of the best it had.
With three consecutive wins though, Stevens came with the steam that Aldo would have to break.
mission accomplished. It was the punch of the body that Stephens placed down and the ground strikes that closed the display
— FOX Sports: UFC (@UFCONFOX) July 29, 2018
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