Jose Aldo outpointed Kenny Florian tonight to retain his featherweight title at UFC 136 in Texas.
Aldo looked dangerous with his striking in the early exchanges and had Florian backing up in defensive mode.
Florian then began to look for takedowns, but was initially unsuccessful as Aldo quickly scrambled back to his feet. Florian then pressed him up against the cage, trying to wear him down and continue to search for a takedown.
Eventually Florian did manage to get Aldo down, but was unable to keep him there. He was making him work though and may just have edged out the round.
Onto round two and it became clear that Florian’s takedown attempts had made Aldo a little more cautious and he was less aggressive on his feet now.
Conversely, Florian was looking more comfortable with his own striking and was working well from range with his jab and leg kicks.
Only in the later stages of the round did Aldo begin to loosen up again himself and he was immediately effective with it, landing some heavy leg kicks and also some hard punches which had Florian again looking for a takedown in the final seconds of the round.
Aldo came out more confidently in the third round and he was back to being the dangerous striker we saw early in the first. His punches were landing with regularity to the face of his opponent while his leg kicks were also paying dividends, with one in particular appearing to buckle Florian’s rapidly brusing lead leg.
Realizing he needed to change things up Florian tried for a takedown but got it all wrong and Aldo ended up in mount.
A battle for position then takes place with Florian getting out of the immediate danger of the mount and then a relative stalemate occuring as Aldo tried unsuccessfully to get back out from half guard.
In the final minute they got back to their feet with Aldo getting back to landing strikes while Florian tried but failed to even the takedown score. Good round for the champion.
The fourth round isn’t particularly eventful with neither landing much of note offensively, but Florian is perhaps pushing the pace more and getting the better of the frequent clinch work.
Onto the final round and it’s still a close fight with Aldo having the more notable moments and causing the greater damage, but Florian has been scoring points with the judges with his spells of control.
As the two engage blows early in the round Florian appears to slip to the mat and Aldo capitalizes, securing top control and then moving swiftly to the mount. He’s unable to do anything with it though and Florian is able to scramble out and eventually gets to his feet.
Florian’s corner are urging him to put in a final flurry but he’s clearly tired and the bout comes to a close with neither man able to land something particularly meaningful.
Overall Florian hung in there gamely and managed to go the full five rounds with the champion but never really looked like he was putting Aldo in too much trouble.
The judges agree and award the fight to Aldo by 49-46 on all three scorecards.