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Featherweight champion Jose Aldo was expected to retain his title Saturday night against Chan Sung Jung. And he did, beating "The Korean Zombie" by fourth-round TKO at UFC 163 in Rio de Janeiro.
What wasn't expected was the method Aldo used to get the job done. Aldo threw one leg kick in the first round -- and none afterward -- en route to victory.
The end came when Jung suffered a separated right shoulder during an exchange of punches.
"I did see that he had separated his shoulder and kicked him and put him on his back," Aldo said.
Kicks to the thigh of his opponents have been a trademark in just about all of Aldo's fights. But not against Jung, who stood in front of the champion throughout the fight.
Regardless, Aldo controlled the action from the opening round, almost exclusively using stiff left jabs to catch Jung on the chin and head movement to avoid damage. Once in a while Aldo would deliver a left-right combination to the body.
But the biggest discrepancy between the fighters was Aldo's speed. He possessed the faster hands and feet. His reflexes also came into play a few times in the bout.
In the third round, Aldo ducked under a Jung right hand and tossed him to the canvas. On the ground, Aldo landed some hard right hands to the body.
When Aldo returned to his corner, he was admonished by his handlers not to fight that way again. And he listened, returning to his striking game in the fourth.
"I saw that it was a tough decision so I thought if I could take him down and put him on his back I would be able to win the round," Aldo said.
During an exchange, Jung threw a right hand that missed. As Aldo delivered a left, his arm got caught under Jung's and lifted it up. That's when Jung's right shoulder was separated.
Jung tried popping his shoulder back into place, but was unable to and Aldo lifted him up, tossed him to the canvas and began punching. With Jung no longer able to defend himself, referee Herb Dean jumped in and stopped the fight at the 2-minute mark.
It was the fifth successful UFC title defense for Aldo, who improves to 23-1. He is currently the third-ranked mixed martial artist on the ESPN.com pound-for-pound list.
Jung drops to 13-4.
For No. 1 light heavyweight contender Lyoto Machida, it was all about winning and looking good enough to convince UFC officials that he deserves to be the next man to fight for the title. And if he could look good against Phil Davis it would be very difficult to deny him another shot at the 205-pound belt.
|Phil Davis' late takedowns helped lift him past Lyoto Machida.|
But looking good against Davis, who possesses top-level wrestling skills, is something no mixed martial artist has ever done in UFC -- and Machida would not be the first.
Machida landed the harder strikes, but Davis refused to charge in and throw more kicks. He also took Machida down twice in the fight near the end of the first and second rounds.
Davis' ability to slow the action convinced all three judges enough to earn him a unanimous decision. The fight was scored 29-28 on judges' cards.
ESPN.com had Machida winning 29-28.
The crowd, which was overwhelmingly behind Machida, booed loudly when the result was announced.
"The late takedowns definitely helped," said Davis, who entered the bout ranked No. 7 by ESPN.com among light heavyweights. "That's always part of my strategy."
Machida had a look of disbelief on his face when the scores were read. He expressed his disapproval, but refused to disparage Davis.
"I really don't know what the UFC rules are," Machida said. "Just listen to the crowd; they will tell you who won. I don't know what happened."
While Machida wasn't able to deliver an action-packed fight, he did stuff just about every one of Davis' takedown attempts. Machida also landed the harder strikes -- a right hand drew blood from Davis' mouth in the third round.
Davis improves to 12-1 with one no contest; Machida slips to 19-4.
All the pressure was on Cezar Ferreira heading into his middleweight fight with Thiago Santos. Ferreira was "The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil" winner; he is the protégé of top middleweight contender Vitor Belfort and trains with the Blackzilians in Boca Raton, Fla.
|Cezar Ferreira's guillotine choke proved too deep for Thiago Santos to escape.|
There was no room for error. Ferreira was supposed to win impressively and he did. A hard overhand left wobbled Santos seconds into the fight and Ferreira jumped on him. He eventually locked in a guillotine choke and Santos tapped at the 47-second mark.
"Moving to Florida and training with the new team," said Ferreira, who is a native of Brazil. "It's like a family for me. I changed all of my game there.
"I saw that he had his guard outside and I hit him and finished him with a guillotine."
Ferreira improves to 6-2. He is 2-0 in UFC competition.
Santos, who was making his UFC debut, took this fight on short notice and it showed. He failed to put up any resistance throughout the brief contest. Santos falls to 8-2.
Fighting in UFC for the first time since August 2009, former No. 1-ranked middleweight contender Thales Leites showed improved striking skills. The improved standup allowed Leites to keep pressure on Tom Watson en route to a unanimous decision.
|Thales Leites, left, put in his work while standing to earn a decision over Tom Watson.|
All three judges scored the bout 30-27. ESPN.com had Leites winning by the same margin.
"I'm back in the UFC where I belong," said Leites, who improves to 21-4. "I had some problems with my knees.
"I tried submitting him; unfortunately, I didn't -- but I think it was a good fight. He did a great job blocking me in the first round and came back stronger for the second, but I was ready."
While Leites demonstrated an ability to throw straight, accurate right and left punches, he often turned to his submission game. But Watson displayed solid submission defense to escape every time.
Leites applied a rear-naked-choke in the first round, an armbar in the second and an arm triangle in the third round.
The closest Leites came to finishing the fight was in the second. He nearly forced Watson to tap, but failed. The energy Leites exerted, however, left him exhausted at the end of the round.
Watson, who was the fresher fighter at that point, landed a hard right hand as the horn sounded. But Watson was unable to carry what little momentum he had gained into the final round.
Watson drops to 16-6. He's 1-2 in UFC.
Expectations are high for John Lineker, who is ranked ninth among flyweights by ESPN.com. But Lineker disappointed many fans Friday when he failed to make weight for his 126-pound opponent Jose Maria.
|John Lineker's superior punching power saw him past Jose Maria.|
Lineker, who weighed in at 129 pounds, had a lot of making up to do -- and he did. The hard-hitting Lineker finished Maria by TKO at 1:03 of the second round to make amends.
Though Lineker registered his third win in a row, improving to 22-6, he was forced to survive during the opening round. A spinning back fist from Maria caught Lineker behind his left ear and wobbled him.
Lineker survived the scare by holding onto Maria whenever the opportunity presented. With his head clear, Lineker began to stalk Maria once again.
"I got a little lost when he did that but I was able to recover and get into my game," Lineker said. "I want the belt."
It appeared Maria had injured his right knee just before absorbing the punch that sent him to the ground in the second round. Lineker, however, said he was unaware of any injury Maria might have suffered.
"I did not see it," Lineker said. "I just thought my punch had connected and I kept punching."
Maria, who was making his UFC debut, falls to 33-4 with two no-contests.
The sting of his most recent loss was so painful that Vinny Magalhaes has said he should be released by UFC if he failed to defeat Anthony Perosh in their light heavyweight bout Saturday night.
|Anthony Perosh never let matters go to the ground while taking out Vinny Magalhaes.|
Maybe Magalhaes was preparing himself for the inevitable. Seconds into the opening round, Magalhaes walked into a Perosh right hand and fell to the canvas.
Perosh, 40, immediately jumped on Magalhaes and began delivering hard punches. Referee Mario Yamasaki gave Magalhaes every opportunity to defend himself, but when his head snapped backward and his hand fell to his side. That's when Yamasaki had no choice but to jump in and stop the assault.
The finish came at the 14-second mark.
"I asked for the fight," said Perosh, who improves to 13-7. "We were both coming off a loss, we're both [Brazilian jiu-jitsu] black belts, so what better place to fight than in Brazil?
"People underestimate my BJJ. I'm very comfortable in my Brazilian jiu-jitsu but today I showed my standup."
The loss was the second in a row for Magalhaes, who lost a unanimous decision to Phil Davis on April 27 at UFC 159 in Newark. Magalhaes is now 10-7, with one no-contest.
|Amanda Nunes wasted little time in dismissing Sheila Graff -- and giving her hometown fans something to cheer about.|
Fighting for the first time inside the Octagon, bantamweight Amanda Nunes left a lasting impression as she stopped Sheila Gaff in the first round with elbows on the ground.
After the TKO victory, which came at 2:08, Nunes showed that she is equally aggressive with words. Nunes let everyone know that she did not appreciate Gaff coming to her native Brazil to fight her.
"I'm fighting here in my hometown," said Nunes, who improves to 8-3. "Who does she think she is that she could beat me in my hometown, with this fantastic crowd out here?"
Both fighters came out aggressively. Gaff threw several hard punches that landed, but Nunes never took a backward step. Nunes quickly responded with strikes of her own.
Gaff, however, briefly got the back of Nunes and attempted to apply a rear-naked choke. But Nunes never lost her composure and escaped the hold. When the two returned to their feet, it was Nunes' turn to show off her grappling skills. Nunes, known for her above-average striking, took Gaff the ground and landed several punches.
Gaff, who slips to 10-6-1, briefly got to her feet. Nunes, however, wasted little time regaining control of the action and taking Gaff down again.
This time Nunes would not allow Gaff off the hook. She delivered hard elbows that left Gaff unable to intelligently defend herself. Referee Herb Dean quickly jumped in at stopped the fight.
Welterweight Sergio Moraes was cheered loudly by fans in his native Brazil when he walked into the Octagon and he made certain not to let the greeting go to waste by submitting Neil Magny in the first round with a triangle choke.
|Sergio Moraes earned what he feels is the most important win of his career by submitting Neil Magny.|
Moraes showed patience early in the opening round as Magny delivered straight punches and kicks. None of the strikes from Magny did any damage to Moraes, however.
Sensing no danger from his opponent, Moraes was able to close the gap and get a clinch. From that position he took Magny to the ground.
Moraes gained the mount and soon locked in the choke. Magny tried maneuvering in hopes of loosening the hold, but Moraes never let up. In fact, the more Magny squirmed, the tighter the hold became.
Magny could no longer fight off the submission and tapped at the 3:13 mark. Immediately afterward, Moraes called the win the best moment of his professional fighting life.
"I'm trying to develop as an MMA fighter and that's what I am doing," said Moraes, who improved to 8-2. "This is a mount that I train every day in my camp. This is something that I've been practicing and training and used today."
Magny falls to 8-2; he is now 1-1 in UFC.
If ever a contender needed a victory, it was Ian McCall heading into his flyweight bout with Iliarde Santos.
McCall is ranked fourth among 125-pound fighters by ESPN.com, despite not having registered a win during his first two bouts in UFC competition.
|Ian McCall, right, notched his first win inside the Octagon by outworking Iliarde Santos.|
But McCall was determined to prove that he is deserving of his high ranking and accomplished his goal with a unanimous decision victory. The official scoring was 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28. ESPN.com also had McCall winning 30-27.
"He's very good, but it just comes down to the fact I should have hit him more," McCall said. "I knew a guy that big would hit hard; I have nothing against him, but I feel like I let him do better than I expected. I'm my biggest critic. "
McCall secured the win by utilizing head and foot movement throughout the fight. He consistently landed punches and kicks, while avoiding counter right hands from Santos -- who was making his flyweight debut.
Though Santos struggled to find his range, he did connect on occasion. A hard left hand in the first round momentarily stunned McCall, bringing a smile from the contender.
But McCall quickly regained his bearings and returned to moving his head and feet, connecting with kicks and punches and staying out of harms' way.
The win helped McCall improve to 12-4-1.
Santos drops to 27-8-1 with one no contest. He is 0-2 in UFC.