If there was one way to describe UFC Fight Night 144 at Fortaleza, it would be simple: Jose Aldo. Saturday night officially cemented the former featherweight kingpin as the king of Brazil. Jose Aldo Jr. defeated Renato Moicano 44 seconds into the second round via knockout. Ever since Aldo lost his title to Conor McGregor, the world started doubting him. Saturday night spelled a different story for the Brazilian legend. Aldo is not gone. He is here and he is here to stay.
The Battle of the Brazilians
Renato Moicano has been touted as one of the most dangerous up-and-comers on the UFC roster. The UFC followed the same formula they always do with their dangerous prospects. They threw him in the octagon with a legend “on the decline’ of his career. The problem is their formula didn’t work this time. Aldo was not some throwaway veteran that would serve as a stepping stone for a young star.
Looking at Aldo’s recent track record, his only losses have come to Conor McGregor and Max Holloway. Both McGregor and Holloway were champions when Aldo lost to them. They both were also ranked in the top 10 pound-for-pound fighters in the world. Aldo may not be at their level anymore, but he is more than capable of serving as a gatekeeper in any division.
Aldo is Back
What we need to understand about Jose Aldo right now is that there may not be a contender skilled enough to beat him. Chad Mendes or Frankie Edgar just do not have what it takes to go up against Aldo’s game. Moicano was the favorite going into the fight with Aldo but he just could not stand with Aldo.
What I learned about the fight game is that to win a fight, you must match your opponent’s volume of work (depending on the situation of course). Moicano was very patient in his standup with Aldo, but he lacked aggressiveness. Aldo was constantly moving his head or his feet. His instincts were as sharp as ever. Aldo saw any kick Moicano had for him. In the second round, Aldo caught him with a punch and chased his hurt prey across the octagon until he earned his finish.
So what comes next for the Brazilian superstar? He already lost twice to Max Holloway so a title shot is out of the question. I think the most likely outcome at this point is giving him a shot at Brian Ortega, although I don’t know how well that would bode for Aldo. His best bet at this point is serving as a gatekeeper, and fighting any guy trying to break the top 5. Either way, we learned on Saturday night that our favorite Brazilian is no where near done.