UFC 179 takes place Saturday night from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The event is headlined by a UFC featherweight title bout between champion Jose Aldo and challenger Chad Mendes. Aldo hasn't lost an MMA contest since November 2005 and has been the undisputed king of the 145 pound division for many years. Mendes is 16-1 in his own right with excellent wrestling and increasingly dangerous striking. The only loss of his career was to Aldo in 2012 and he won five straight following that to earn a rematch. In the co-main event, elite light heavyweights look to rebound from losses when Glover Teixeira battles Phil Davis.
In preliminary action, Tony Martin scored his first UFC win with a first round kimura submission over Fabricio Camoes and undefeated jiu jitsu world champion Gilbert Burns submitted Christos Giagos with an armbar in the waning seconds of the first round.
UFC featherweight title: Jose Aldo vs. Chad Mendes
There is no shortage of storylines going into this fight. Aldo and Mendes are the clear #1 and #2 fighters in one of the deepest weight classes in the sport. Their first fight was controversial, with some feeling an illegal fence grap altered the course of the fight. Mendes is gunning for revenge for that fight while Aldo would like some revenge for his training partner Renan Barao losing to Mendes' training partner T.J. Dillashaw. They've traded words as well and grown to dislike each other. And Aldo is defending the only UFC title left in proud Brazilian hands. It's a big fight at 145.
Round 1. Mendes lands a leg kick early and pressures Aldo. Aldo connects with a series of crisp hooks to the head and then lands a shot to the body. Mendes counters with a hard shot. Mendes drops Aldo with a left hook. He throws a heavy uppercut that misses. Mendes continues to walk down Aldo and they trade hard shots from close range. Mendes punishes Aldo with a hard punch to the body. They exchange stiff hooks and then Aldo lands a big leg kick. Mendes answers with a hard punch combination concluding with a looping right hand to the chin. They trade hard punches and Aldo lands a huge knee. He then drops Mendes with a vicious hook. Aldo looks to finish on the ground. Aldo works his way into mount but Mendes gets out and returns to his feet. Aldo was landing huge punches at the close of the round and landed two extra punches after the close of the round. The second one connected really hard but the referee didn't discipline Aldo. 10-9 Aldo.
Round 2. Mendes eats a hook early and finally goes for a takedown. Aldo blocks it but then eats an accidental low blow. After a break, Mendes throws a kick to the body. Mendes is a lot more hesitant to stand in front of Aldo this round after what happened last round. They exchange leg kicks. Aldo is using his jab a lot while Mendes is throwing more kicks. That's a switch from Aldo's usual pattern of relying heavily on leg kicks. Mendes lands a straight left punch late in the round. Very close round that could go either way. 10-9 Mendes.
Round 3. They touch gloves and a big Aldo hook goes soaring by Mendes' head. Aldo takes a poke to the eye, the third infraction by Mendes of the fight (an eye poke in the first and low blow in the second). Aldo connects with a few hard punches after the break and then snaps back Mendes with a straight punch. Mendes connects with a big uppercut and then a hook that staggers Aldo. Mendes moves in looking to finish but gets dropped with a big looping punch by Aldo. Aldo looks to close himself and Mendes pushes for a takedown. Aldo stops it and lands a series of punches. Mendes backs away and Aldo attacks again with big punches. Mendes clinches and looks for a takedown. Mendes stomps Aldo's foot repeatedly and the round comes to an end. This has been a very exciting fight. 10-9 Aldo.
Round 4. The pace is noticeably slower early in the fourth, after three action packed rounds. Mendes lands a hard punch to the body and then an uppercut. Mendes follows with a head kick and then a jab. Aldo is now bleeding badly near the eye. He responds by connecting with a couple hard punches including a straight shot right up the middle. Mendes lands a hard right hand and then moments later lands another. Aldo stuns Mendes a little with a punch and then goes for a flying knee that just misses. 10-9 Mendes.
Round 5. Mendes lands a pair of hooks early. Mendes gets a takedown 45 seconds into the final round. Aldo stands back up. Aldo lands a nice pair of punches and then a hard knee. They exchange punches from close range with Aldo getting the better of it. Mendes cracks Aldo with a hard jab but Aldo answers back with a nice punch of his own. Mendes is looking to land a key shot late but he is tired and not moving as quickly as he once was. Aldo throws a couple of kicks late that don't connect solidly. 10-9 Aldo, 48-47 Aldo.
Winner: Jose Aldo, unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 49-46).
Glover Teixeira vs. Phil Davis
Teixeira won 20 fights in a row leading into his last fight, a title shot against UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones. Teixeira suffered a setback against Jones and now looks to rebound. On that same card, elite wrestler Phil Davis was dominated by Anthony Johnson in the biggest setback of his career. Now, Teixeira and Davis look to reestablish their status in the 205 pound division and not fall farther from contender status.
Round 1. Davis goes for a takedown that Teixeira stuffs with ease. Teixeira lands a nice hook. Davis goes for another takedown and Teixeira again prevents it. Davis lands a coupe punches and moves out of range of Teixeira's looping power shots. Davis lands a nice straight punch but has another takedown blocked. Davis lands a front kick and then goes for another takedown. Teixeira continues to defend well. Davis finally gets a takedown and lands some punches to the head as Teixeira tries to get back up. Teixeira stands up but Davis drags him back down and lands additional punches. Teixeira gets back up. Davis connects with a solid knee to the body and attempts to drag Teixeira back down. He succeeds and lands additional punches as the round concludes. 10-9 Davis.
Round 2. Teixeira swings with a wild hook that misses early. Davis throws a few jabs and goes for a takedown that is easily blocked. Davis uses another front kick but it is mostly blocked this time. As Teixeira moves in, Davis times it and gets another takedown. He lands some punches by the cage. Teixeira reverses and looks for a guillotine choke. Teixeira stands up and gives up the choke. Davis lands a nice hook and gets a takedown. He immediately moves into half guard and then into side control. Teixeira looks to stand and eats a bunch of punches in the process. Teixeira gets up but Davis maintains control of Teixeira's body and presses him against the cage. They separate and Davis goes back to his jab while Teixeira is noticeably slowed. Davis lands a hook and Teixeira answers with one of his own. Teixeira looks to land a big shot but gets taken down and Davis attempts a choke from the back as the round ends. 10-9 Davis.
Round 3. Teixeira comes out swinging heavy again but Davis shoots in for a takedown. Teixeira defends succesfully. Davis moments later grabs a beautiful double leg takedown that puts Teixeira on his back. Davis works into mount. Teixeira moves out of that but Davis keeps back control even without his hooks in. Teixeira gets up briefly but then is pulled back down. Davis lands a series of punches and just keeps pressuring Teixeira to the ground. They finally separate with 90 seconds left but Davis is able to grab hold of Teixeira again and pull him to the mat. He lands more punches as Teixeira tries to get up. 10-9 Davis, 30-27 Davis.
Winner: Phil Davis, unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).
Fabio Maldonado vs. Hans Stringer
Maldonado is an all action Brazilian boxer with great offense and very little defense. He has won 3 of his last 4 but dropped his last bout to heavyweight Stipe Miocic. Stringer is a Dutch fighter with a 22-5 record who won his UFC debut.
Round 1. Maldonado lands a hard hook and Stringer takes him down. Maldonado just holds on while Stringer lands sporadic punches and elbows. Stringer looks to move into mount but Maldonado stands back up. Stringer takes him back down. He lands a few more shots. Another bad round. 10-9 Stringer.
Round 2. Stringer lands a couple hard shots and moves in for a clinch. Maldonado stops the takedown attempt. Stringer goes for another takedown and it is also blocked. Stinger lands some leg kicks and punches. He then gets a takedown. Maldonado reverses and gets top position. He lands some punches from the top. Maldonado isn't doing much damage but Stringer looks exhausted. The referee stops the fight. Anderson Silva gets up on the cage to celebrate with Maldonado.
Winner: Fabio Maldonado, TKO, round 2.
Darren Elkins vs. Lucas Martins
Elkins worked himself into contender status in the featherweight division by winning five straight fights. However, he dropped 2 of his next 3 and now finds himself decidedly on the outside looking in. Martins is 15-1 in MMA and 3-1 in the UFC, although his only losses was a complete destruction at the hands of Edson Barboza.
Round 1. Elkins gets a takedown early. Martins stands right back up. Elkins ducks down and looks for another takedown. He gives it up, throws a few punches, and backs off. Elkins continues to throw. He isn't landing that much but Martins isn't throwing much at all. Elkins clinches again halfway through the round. They break and Martins opens up a little with some shots. He lands a knee as Elkins drops down for a takedown. Bad round. 10-9 Elkins.
Round 2. Elkins moves in for another takedown. He can't get it. Elkins continues to throw different strikes. He lands little. Martins throws less. This is an awful fight. Neither man looks good at all. Elkins clinches and grinds on Martins. Martins does land one uppercut. He lands a head kick that stuns Elkins and he follows with additional punches by the cage. Elkins recovers and looks for another takedown. 10-9 Martins.
Round 3. Elkins moves in and eats another knee. He goes for a takedown and eats yet another hard knee to the head. Martins hammers Elkins with another knee as Elkins looks for a takedown by the cage. Elkins clinches again. They separate. Elkins instigates another clinch. They separate. Elkins lands a right hand. Elkins clinches. Martins lands a punch and Elkins goes back to the holding. 10-9 Martins, 29-28 Martins.
Winner: Darren Elkins, split decision (30-27, 27-30, 30-27).
Carlos Ferreira vs. Beneil Dariush
Ferreira is an undefeated ground ace looking to improve his UFC record to 3-0. Dariush is an Iranian ground fighter with a 2-1 UFC record.
Round 1. After a feeling out period, Dariush lands a head kick. Dariush follows with a couple leg kicks and moves out of the way of Ferreira's strikes. Dariush looks much smoother on the feet than Ferreira. Ferreira lands some looping punches moving in and eats a few knees to the body in the process. Dariush is finally the man to initiate a takedown and he gets it. He lands some punches from top position and avoids a heel hook attempt. 10-9 Dariush.
Round 2. Dariush clinches and looks to get Ferreira down again. Ferreira lands a few nice punches from the clinch and backs off. Dariush mixes up some punches high and low. Dariush gets a takedown. Dariush works over Ferreira with punches and Ferreira isn't active much at all from the bottom. 10-9 Dariush.
Round 3. Ferreira aggressively moves in and lands a flurry of punches on Dariush before Dariush answers with a hard hook and Ferreira backs off. Ferreira looks for a takedown but Dariush blocks it and gets a takedown of his own. Dariush lands punches from the top and controls Ferreira, who isn't threatening much from his back. Ferreira finally works his way back up to his feet towards the end but it is too little, too late. 10-9 Dariush, 30-27 Dariush.
Winner: Beneil Dariush, unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).
Andre Fili vs. Felipe Arantes
Fili is a highly regarded 24-year-old prospect who trains out of the same Alpha Male camp as Chad Mendes. He is looking to rebound from only the second loss of his career against Max Holloway. Arantes is a well rounded 16-6-1 (2 NC) fighter who has been lucky enough to get all seven of his UFC fights in his native Brazil.
Round 1. Fili lands a nice straight right punch to start the fight. Arantes moves in with hooks and Fili catches him off balance by taking him to the ground. Fili postures up and lands some big punches. He looks to grab a guillotine choke submission but Arantes uses the opportunity to take top position and then quickly moves into dominant mount position. Fili take some big shots before standing up. Arantes lands a few knees and they separate. Fili is cut on his forehead. Fili lands a couple stiff kicks to the body. He follows with some vicious knees to the body and Arantes answers back with a few punches. Fili gets a takedown to close the round. 10-9 Fili.
Round 2. Arantes catches a Fili kick and takes Fili to the ground. Fili is able to take top position but then Arantes nicely threatens the leg to reverse Fili and take back top position. He drops down some elbows and avoids a triangle choke attempt. Fili lands an illegal upkick and after a stop in the action, the referee incorrectly starts them back on their feet. Arantes scores another takedown but Fili gets up and takes Arantes down. Like in the first round, Fili postures up high so he can drop down punches with added impact. 10-9 Fili.
Round 3. The fighters trade kicks early. They scramble for position before Arantes grabs a guillotine choke. It looks tight but with the fights slippery late in the contest, Fili quickly slips out and takes top position. Fili looks to grab a choke as Arantes moves up but can't get it and Arantes gains top position. Fili, looking more energetic at this stage, gets right back up. Arantes is able to get another takedown. He lands a few punches and elbows from top position. Fili looks for an armbar from the bottom but Arantes rolls out. They end up back on their feet and Fili takes Arantes down. He drops down a big punch but then eats an upkick at the close. Close final round but Fili has it in the bag either way. 10-9 Fili, 30-27 Fili.
Winner: Andre Fili, unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28).
Scott Jorgensen vs. Wilson Reis
Jorgensen is a longtime contender in the lighter weight classes, a wrestler who likes to strike and had a lot of exciting fights particularly earlier in his career. He has looked like a spent force in recent years, losing five of his last seven bouts. Reis had success in the Elite XC and Bellator organizations before finally signing with the UFC, where he is 2-1.
Round 1. As Reis moves in with strikes, he gets clipped by a Jorgensen left hook and goes down. Reis appears in big trouble momentarily but recovers and returns to his feet. Reis dives in for a takedown but Jorgensen stuffs it with ease and they return to their feet. Reis opens up with some kicks from different angles including a hard body kick that stuns Jorgensen. Reis takes Jorgensen down and begins aggressively throwing punches. He then grabs an arm triangle choke and gets the tapout.
Winner: Wilson Reis, submission, round 1.
Yan Cabral vs. Naoyuki Kotani
Cabral sports an 11-1 record and trains out of the same Nova Uniao camp as Jose Aldo. Almost all of his wins have come via submission but he lost his last fight to journeyman Zak Cummings. Kotani is a very experienced fighter in his native Japan but he lost his UFC debut.
Round 1. Cabral quickly moves into close distance and looks to pressure Kotani. He throws some strikes before clinching and going for a takedown. Kotani reverses and takes Cabral down. Cabral works his way back to his feet. Kotani then slips throwing a kick and Cabral immediately takes advantage by moving down into top position. Cabral isn't terribly active but is able to land a few punches here and there. 10-9 Cabral.
Round 2. They clinch and grapple for position. Cabral briefly gets a takedown but Kotani stands up and they continue to battle for position. Cabral pulls Kotani down and Kotani again stands up. This time, Cabral climbs on his back and looks to set up a rear naked choke. However, he can't get his hooks in right and gives up the position before they separate. Cabral gets a takedown and this time is able to take Kotani's back. He then sinks in a rear naked choke and gets the submission.
Winner: Yan Cabral, submission, round 2.
Neil Magny vs. William Macario
Magny struggled early in his UFC career but after four straight wins, he is emerging as a prospect in the welterweight division. Macario gained notoriety by making it to the finals of the second season of the Ultimate Fighter Brazil and sports a solid 7-1 MMA record.
Round 1. Magny lands a few punches early. Macario answers back, confidently diving into the range of the taller and longer Magny. Magny connects with a couple straight right hands up the middle. Macario pressures Magny against the cage and lands one hard shot before Magny backs out. Magny answers with a few punches of his own. Magny looks for a takedown but doesn't come close. Macario goes for a takedown of his own late and almost gets it but Magny is able to avoid that. 10-9 Magny on the basis of more activity utilizing his reach advantage.
Round 2. Magny lands a few jabs and a nice leg kick. Macario pours in some offense, attacking Magny wildly with looping punches. He doesn't land all that much but throws an uppercut with bad intentions. Moments later, he lands his best shot of the fight in a hard hook to the chin of Magny. Macario blocks a takedown and lands a few punches as Magny tries to get back up. Magny then uses a throw and takes top position. He quickly moves into full mount. Magny lands shots for the remainder of the round while Macario principally holds on and covers up. 10-9 Magny.
Round 3. Magny looks to reestablish his jab early. Macario will dive in with single punches but struggles to stay in proper range with Magny. Magny lands a hard 2 punch combination and then takes Macario down. He goes to work with rapid fire punches from the top and looks to isolate an arm for a kimura. He can't do that and gives up on the attempt quickly. Instead, he moves up and goes back to dropping down hard punches. The referee steps in and stops the fight.
Winner: Neil Magny, TKO, round 3.