Unfortunately for Lamas, the trip home will feel quite a bit longer, as he’ll make it minus the belt that he so desperately sought.
Lamas showed a lot of movement and a variety of kicks early in the fight. He was the more aggressive fighter in the opening round, although Aldo checked most of his kicks, and landed harder and with greater accuracy, when he fired his weapons.
Having gotten a feel for Lamas’ attacks, Aldo made the necessary adjustments in round two and began the painful process of destroying Lamas’ lead leg with a brutal onslaught of right leg kicks. As the damage from the kicks mounted, Lamas turned away as nearly each of Aldo’s low kicks found their mark.
Aldo mounted a massive amount of damage to the Lamas’ left leg in round two, and continued attacking it in round three, Lamas’ mobility compromised. Lamas dug deep and started utilizing more of his punching to put on a strong finish in the final couple minutes of the third round, effectively directing Aldo away from the leg kicks.
Lamas shifted gears in the fourth round, trying to score takedowns, but had most of his takedowns stymied. The champion secured a couple takedowns of his own in return, and worked on Lamas from top position in half guard, softening him up with ground and pound, and then taking his back and nearly securing a rear naked choke. Lamas survived the round, but found himself on his back courtesy of Aldo to start round five.
Aldo again went to work from the top and quickly moved to mount. Lamas, however, wouldn’t be denied, as he escaped Aldo’s mount and reversed position into Aldo’s full guard.
Lamas tried with all his might to find a knockout blow from inside Aldo’s guard, but the champion kept working from his back, shifting and moving, proving a difficult target. As the clock took away his chances, Lamas continued to drop the heaviest shots he could muster, but Aldo defended to the final horn.
Aldo retained his belt by unanimous decision, as Bruce Buffer relayed that the three judges all scored the fight 49-46 for the champion.
“I was surprised,” said Aldo after the fight, referring to Lamas’ ability to absorb the damaging leg kicks and keep coming forward. “He took a lot of kicks on the leg, but he’s a great fighter and kept going.
“I knew it was gonna go five rounds and it was a tough five rounds to the end.”
The victory was Aldo’s sixth consecutive UFC title defense, and should add more fuel to the recent speculation that he might be done fighting at featherweight.
Aldo mentioned earlier in the week that he would be willing to relinquish his belt if he were granted a shot at the UFC lightweight title, and UFC president Dana White has said that Aldo has the “green light” from him to move up to 155 pounds if that is what he’d like to do.