|Jose Aldo (L) celebrates after being declared the winner of his UFC featherweight title fight against Frankie Edgar (R). Aldo won by unanimous decision, 49-46, 49-46 and 48-47, to retain the UFC belt.
MANILA, Philippines – Jose Aldo of Brazil successfully defended his Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) featherweight title for the sixth time after holding off Frankie Edgar in the main event of UFC 156 Saturday in Las Vegas (Sunday in Manila).
Aldo built a lead on the scorecards in the first two rounds and did just enough to hold off Edgar in the later frames to win with scores off 49-46, 49-46 and 48-47.
"It was a very difficult fight, and Frankie Edgar is a great fighter," said Aldo, who improved to 22-1. "I knew I would have to take it step by step and round by round to get a victory."
Using a stiff jab and brutal leg kicks, Aldo quickly found his range in the first two rounds and was able to land several telling blows on Edgar. As early as the first round, Edgar already sported a bloody nose as the Brazilian easily matched the former lightweight’s speed.
Edgar was more competitive in the third round, as he looked to establish his takedowns against Aldo. But in the middle of the frame, Aldo caught the New Jersey native with a kick to the face that caused blood to pour out of Edgar’s nose.
Despite the blow, Edgar pressed on and was able to turn the tide in his favor with a series of kicks late in the round, as well as a huge uppercut that briefly stunned the champion.
The fourth round was Edgar's best, as he managed to put Aldo to the ground for a moment, although Aldo quickly bounced right up. Edgar was able to lock Aldo up and press him against the cage, where he proceeded to throw knees at the Brazilian’s thighs.
The fifth round saw the fighters exchanging on the feet, with Edgar landing a couple of significant right hands late in the round, although Aldo answered with a huge punch of his own just before the end of the fifth.
The crowd inside the Mandalay Bay booed loudly when the decision was announced, with many believing that Edgar controlled the latter half of the fight.
"You know, it was a close fight and I keep finding myself in this situations," Edgar said. "It is what it is. Congratulations to Jose, it was a great fight."
Edgar was looking to become only the third fighter in UFC history to win titles in two different weight divisions after previously holding the lightweight championship.
"The Answer" was non-committal when asked if he planned to stay at featherweight.
"I'm gonna go home and take some time, that's all," he said.
It was Edgar’s third straight career defeat, dropping his record to 15-4-1. He lost his last two contests at lightweight to reigning champion Benson “Smooth” Henderson.
In the undercard, Brazil's Antonio Rogerio Nogueira took a unanimous decision victory over former light-heavyweight champion "Suga" Rashad Evans with scores of 29-28 across the board.
Antonio "Big Foot" Silva made a statement in his heavyweight clash against Dutch kickboxer Alistair Overeem as he knocked out the former K1 champion in the third round.
Overeem controlled the first two rounds, but Silva was able to land solid shots in the final moments of the second to set up a stunning third round.
"Big Foot" landed a huge kick to the face of Overeem that stunned the kickboxer, and the Brazilian dominated from that point as he landed a barrage of punches that knocked out "The Reem."
Silva's victory drastically changed the UFC heavyweight title picture, as Overeem was poised to become the No. 1 contender to Cain Velasquez’s title.
Silva won "Knockout of the Night" honors and received a $50,000 bonus, while Edgar and Aldo each received $50,000 as well for putting on the "Fight of the Night."”