A new weight class and a new title fight still resulted in the same thing for Frankie Edgar who came up just short in a very close, contested main event bout with Jose Aldo at UFC 156.
Following two very close, controversial fights that saw Edgar lose the UFC lightweight title and the subsequent rematch with current champ Benson Henderson, the New Jersey fighter opted to move weight classes and drop down to 145lbs.
Following a strange run of injuries, Edgar found himself in a title fight on day one against incumbent champion Jose Aldo in a fight that’s been talked about for years.
It certainly lived up to the billing.
Ring rust is always a concern for a fighter returning after more than a year away from action, but Jose Aldo came out firing early and often. The champion looked crisp as he established his jab, likely breaking Edgar’s nose within the first 10 minutes of the fight.
He also unloaded a barrage of his best weapon – a lead leg kick – that buckled Edgar’s limb a couple of times in the 2nd round. Still, Edgar wasn’t going away and letting him stay around in a fight is an awfully dangerous proposal.
Edgar started to gain momentum in the third round with his non-stop motion that had Aldo gasping for air a bit as the fight wore on. Aldo wasn’t dead in the water by any means, and fired back with power shots while Edgar’s punches were all about accumulation.
The 4th and 5th rounds were where Edgar started to shine, moving in and out, pop shotting the champion with strikes and Aldo slowed ever so slightly, giving new life to the challenger. Edgar did manage one big slam takedown, but overall could not keep the Brazilian on the mat.
As the final horn sounded, both champion and challenger raised their hands in victory believing they had done enough to get the not on the judges’ scorecards.
The judges tallies came back with Jeff Collins giving it 48-48 to Aldo, while judges Adelaide Byrd and Junichir Kamijo scoring it 49-46 for the champion, handing him the 5th round as well. The remarkable part wasn’t the fact that Aldo won because it was a close fight, but the champion more than likely secured the first three rounds.
The issue came with the 5th round, which two judges gave to Aldo. Regardless of the scoring, the champion still won and retains the title in his sixth defense in a row (combining UFC and WEC).
“It was a very difficult fight, Frankie Edgar is a great fighter, I knew I’d have to walk step by step with a lot of patience, round by round to get the victory,” Aldo said after the fight.
Frankie Edgar wasn’t one to make excuses after his third close decision in a row, which also happened to be his third consecutive loss as well. He congratulated the champion, and now lives to fight another day.
“It’s a close fight, I keep finding myself in these situations. Congrats to Jose, he fought a great fight,” said Edgar.
“I did (think I won the third round) but it don’t matter. Jose’s the winner.”
Aldo’s sixth consecutive title defense came with a question after the fight about it also being his last at 145lbs. Over the years it’s been noted that Aldo make a huge sacrifice to make the featherweight division, but it appears he’s not going anywhere for now.
“To cut the weight is always difficult, I get sick, I get fed up, but all my teammates they help me out,” Aldo stated. “At the end of the day, I can make the weight and I’m still here fighting in this weight class.”