What a great night of fights. Nearly every fight on the card ended with a knockout or submission, there is not much more a fan could ask for. The main event at UFC 163 perhaps was not the fast paced, hay-maker filled bout we had expected it to be, but Jose Aldo did demonstrate his superiority in the featherweight division by scoring a TKO victory in the fourth round over the Korean Zombie.
UFC 163’s main event did not take the shape may expected, yet it did see the expected result. Jose Aldo was supposed to beat “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung, and that’s exactly what he did exactly that. However leg kicks were almost unanimously believed to be the strike of choice that Aldo would use to defeat his opponent.
Aldo threw one leg kick midway through the first round, and never again attempted his signature strike. He instead took a ground based approach we had not previously seen from the champion inside the octagon. Aldo displayed accurate striking with his hands, and used that to set up takedowns throughout the fight, keeping the Korean Zombie at bay. Once the fight hit the mat, he showed a clear cut advantage in wrestling ability, something many experts did not anticipate heading into the bout.
Awarded the title fight despite not fighting within a year after contender TJ Grant was forced to bow out due to injury, the Korean Zombie had become a fan favorite to due his go for broke style. He did not display the reckless abandon that made him so famous in his fight against Jose Aldo. Perhaps afraid of the countering ability of Jose Aldo, the Korean Zombie fought tentatively.
The new, reserved style of the ‘Korean Zombie’ Chan Sung Jung allowed Jose Aldo to control the pace of the main event at UFC 163 from bell to bell. A fighter known to gas in the championship rounds, Aldo kept the fight to a pace he knew he could go the distance with. Jung never seriously attempted to speed up the tempo.
In the first round, both men felt each other out for much of the five minute period, with Aldo doing a better job of landing the few strikes thrown. He also connected with a takedown and a big knee to earn the first round victory. It appeared that the Korean Zombie was afraid to make a mistake early on, and was holding back on his attack until the later rounds.
The second round began with a flurry from the Korean Zombie and he initially was able to pick up the pace against Aldo. However the champion was content to counter, and eventually turned the round in his favor and even slowed the pace back to a comfortable level. Aldo’s hands were sharp and he ended the round with another takedown that saw him end the round in side control with an armbar attempt.
Clearly ahead on points, the third round saw Jose Aldo counter an early flurry from the Korean Zombie again and slow down the pace by showing off his powerful striking. After that the champion pressed his opponent against the cage and turned the third round into a wrestling match. Aldo won the round by controlling the position of his opponent, although his corner did not like the way he won the round. Afraid he would tire himself out, they told him not to fight that way moving forward.
Behind on points and needing a finish to win, The Korean Zombie had to either knockout or submit Jose Aldo heading into the fourth round. Jung came out more aggressive in the round, but still fought at a slow pace by his standards. He threw flurry after flurry, but did not set any attacks up with feints or footwork, limiting the effectiveness. Aldo stood content to trade with his challenger, and during an exchange the Korean Zombie’s shoulder popped out of socket.
Chan Sung Jung tried to pop his shoulder back in place, however he was unable to do so and Jose Aldo capitalized on his opponents observed weakness. Aldo took the fight to the mat and unleashed ground and pound against a Korean Zombie that appeared more concerned with covering up his injured shoulder than defending himself. The referee was forced to stop the fight giving the champion a TKO victory.
“I did see that he had separated his shoulder and kicked him and put him on his back,” Aldo said during his post fight interview with Brian Stann.
With the victory, Jose Aldo extends his winning streak to 16. It was Aldo’s fifth title defense in the UFC. The 26 year old has not lost since he was 18 years old. Earlier in the week the featherweight champion said that he wanted to break every record in the UFC by the time his career is over, he couldn’t ask for a better start.
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Senior Sports Editor
The Guardian Express