Jose Aldo proved yet again that he’s still one of the best fighters in the world no matter the weight class where he’s competing.
Coming off a tough loss in a bantamweight title fight to reigning champion Petr Yan in his last appearance, Aldo had something to prove while facing a legit challenger in Marlon “Chito” Vera in the UFC Vegas 17 co-main event. Over three rounds, Aldo looked strong on the feet as he attacked with body shots and leg kicks while also mixing in some late grappling superiority to win a unanimous decision.
The judges all scored the fight 29-28 as Aldo actually earns his first win at 135 pounds.
“Important to get back in the win column,” Aldo said afterwards. “I trained really hard for this.”
It was Vera who wasted no time closing the distance on Aldo when the fight got started but the Brazilian legend was quick to shrug him off to reset in the center of the cage. At striking range, Aldo was sharp with his combinations as he started digging to the ribs with a series of brutal body shots.
Aldo was constantly staring Vera down to calculate the best time to unleash his offense including a signature series of strikes that ended with one his nasty leg kicks just before the first round ended.
“Chito” managed to settle into a better rhythm as time ticked away in the fight but he was still fending off some brutal strikes coming from the former featherweight king. Aldo was making an investment in those body shots, although Vera adjusted well as he continued to push forward with a relentless pace.
When he was able to engage in the clinch, Vera was punishing from the inside while also negating Aldo’s versatile striking attack. Still, Aldo avoided those positions for the majority of the fight and he even managed to drag Vera to the ground during a scramble in the final round.
On the mat, Aldo took the back and locked up a body triangle while peppering Vera with punches in order to maintain control. Aldo even threw a late rear-naked choke attempt at Vera before the fight ended but he still did more than enough to secure the decision victory.
Earlier in the week, Aldo said he wasn’t going anywhere except back to the top of the bantamweight rankings as he continued to hunt for a second UFC title. Following his win on Saturday night, Aldo took aim at a former champion who is about to be cleared for a return to action in January.
“As far as the next fight it would be [T.J.] Dillashaw,” Aldo said during his post-fight interview. “Dana [White], make it happen.”