In a star-studded night in the UFC, fighters would square off in what could possibly be one of the biggest fight cards of the year.
Featherweight champion Jose Aldo would take on the former lightweight champion Frankie Edgar in what would be a five-round brawl for the featherweight title.
Edgar, who has gone the distance in a five-round fight on six separate occasions, would start the match on the receiving end of some crushing blows delivered by Aldo.
Aldo would win the first three rounds, dominating the first two. He would do so by crippling Edgar with devastating leg kicks that buckled Edgar’s knees and made it virtually impossible for the challenger to advance on Aldo and set up take-downs and throw combos.
It was Edgar’s first fight in the 145-pound weight class after moving down from the lightweight division.
Previously, Edgar’s speed has been the difference between him and his opponent. This time, however, Aldo would match Edgar’s speed and pummeled him with stiff jabs and even stiffer kicks.
Edgar would become bloody in the first minutes of the fight, absorbing blow after blow until the tide shifted 15 minutes into the fight.
Aldo would become winded and soon his pace would slow.
With Edgar’s blistering pace and relentless cardio, he would amount a comeback for the next two rounds that would bring UFC fans at the stadium and at home to their feet.
Edgar would soon land combo after combo and eventually become the first fighter ever to take Aldo down more than once in a fight.
Although Edgar would land multiple take-downs in the fourth and fifth round, Aldo’s takedown defense would prove to be the difference-maker. Aldo would immediately get back to his feet every time Edgar amounted any offense on the ground.
Aldo would throw more fancy knees and elbows in an attempt to steal the last rounds but most would not find their mark.
However, after five rounds of back and forth fighting from both fighters, Aldo would win in a unanimous decision 49-46, 49-46, 48-47.
In the co-main event of the evening, light-heavyweight fighter Rashad Evans would take on brazilian Antonio Rogerio Nogueira.
Nogueira would pepper Evans with shots to the face all night long.
Evans, who has a strong wrestling background and is a former UFC light-heavyweight champion, seemed to be entranced into standing up with Nogueira for all three rounds.
After three rounds of dull action, Nogueira would win in a decision between the top light-heavyweight contenders.
International heavyweight superstar Alistair Overeem would return to the ring for the first time since ending former heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar’s career. He would take on Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva in a slug fest that would end with the knockout that everyone was waiting for, just maybe not expecting.
Overeem, a former Strikeforce heavyweight champion, and K1 kickboxing champion, is known for his phenomenal standup.
Silva, who has power in his hands, is more formidable on the ground, and for the first two rounds of the fight found himself behind on the scorecards while he tried to take it to the mat.
Overeem may have had too much confidence in his standup, however. Silva would rock Overeem seconds into the third round, and release an onslaught of punches that even the 265-pound Overeem had no chance of coming back from.
Silva would knock Overeem to the canvas and earn a very unlikely KO victory that vaulted him to the top of the heavyweight ladder. He is now possibly in line for a shot at the heavyweight title against champion Cain Velasquez.
In other action on the night, welterweight contender Demian Maia faced fellow brazilian jiu jitsu master Jon Fitch.
Maia, being a three-time world jiu jitsu champion, overwhelmed Fitch for all three rounds of the fight and won easily in a unanimous decision after out grappling Fitch the entire fight.
In the opening bout, flyweight contender Ian McCall would lose in a very close fight to fellow flyweight fighter Joseph Benavidez.
Benavidez would leave a massive welt on McCall’s leg after repeated leg kicks. McCall would not go down without a fight, landing brutal shots from the ground.
However, Benavidez would come away with the win, putting himself in line for a flyweight title shot against titleholder Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson.