I don’t know how you say “not so fast my friend” in Portuguese, but Jose Aldo and his legion of fan across the world were saying that Saturday night in Brazil.
Former UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo celebrated his return to his home country in style, rallying from a slow start to stop top five featherweight contender and countryman Renato Moicano in the second round. It marks Aldo’s first win in his home country since his all-time classic rematch with Chad Mendes in October 2014.
It has to be considered an upset as Moicano was coming off a first round submission victory over veteran Cub Swanson and before then, a complete bulldozing of up and comer Calvin Kattar. Moicano may have been leading in a fight against the excellent Brian Ortega in July 2017 when he was caught in a guillotine and submitted. No matter how you look at it, a win over Aldo may have cemented Moicano as the next challenger for UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway. But Jose Aldo had other ideas.
Yet the first round was a war of nerves for both men. Both men were trying to gauge the distance and find room for their best weapons. Moicano was looking to establish his jab, while Aldo looked for his trademark leg kicks. Moicano was doing his best to fire a leg kick after every leg kick he took, and both men were able to check several. Aldo was clearly looking to fire the same left hook to the body that took out Jeremey Stephens last July, but he only landed the shot once in the first, and Moicano landed a few right hands late that probably got him the first round.
But Moicano honestly looked a little starstruck with “The King of Rio.” He never up’ed the pace, never went for a takedown, and instead stood in front of Aldo and was content to kickbox in the center of the cage. Then twenty seconds into the second round, Aldo cracked Moicano with a left hook to the chin and one to the body that froze Moicano. Aldo followed up with a flurry of punches upstairs and downstairs, sending his younger countrymen failing across the cage. A big knee to the head, followed by a right uppercut and two overhand rights wobbled Moicano and referee Jerin Valel stopped the fight forty-four seconds into the second round.
Afterwards, Aldo celebrated in the crowd with his countrymen, bringing up fond memories for many longtime MMA fans. It was the second straight knockout for the former champ, proving that he has plenty left, a shock to fans that left him for dead after his thirteen second knockout loss to Conor McGregor and his two devastating losses to Holloway.
With this victory, one fight makes sense for Aldo right now-the last man to challenge Max Holloway, Brian T-City Ortega. If Aldo has a prayer of getting another shot at Holloway, he needs to get a fight with Ortega and beat him impressively. It’s also a great fight for Ortega, who would have to love getting a fighter of that kind of statue on his record. It would be a great co main event for UFC 236, which is set for April in Brazil.
Let’s do this.