Jose Aldo has eight finishes during his 15-fight winning streak. | Photo: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
With the HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, as the familiar stage, the Ultimate Fighting Championship on Saturday drags its Octagon into the Southern hemisphere for UFC 163.
Pound-for-pound standout Jose Aldo will defend his featherweight title for the fifth time against Chan Sung Jung in the main event, while 2008 NCAA wrestling champion Phil Davis will attempt to solve the Lyoto Machida riddle in the co-headliner.
The Portuguese chants will be loud and proud since the majority of the card pits native Brazilians against foreigners.
Home Sweet Home: If you bet on Brazilians fighting non-Brazilians in Brazil, you are probably a rich man by now. UFC on Fuel TV 10 in June featured a host of Brazilians battling foreigners, and every foreigner who faced a Brazilian lost. Whether or not this is a premeditated move by matchmakers, Brazilians tend to fight harder at home, meaning those coming through customs are faced with an uphill battle. Nine of the 12 matches at UFC 163 pair a Brazilian with a non-Brazilian. Placing locals on a Brazilian card makes sense from a promotional standpoint: they speak the language, they do not have to travel and they help rally local media. Good luck, imports.
Useless Fact: Recently retired former World Extreme Cagefighting champion Brian Stann will fill in for Joe Rogan as color analyst for UFC 163. The former Marine has plenty of plans for retirement. He will continue in his role as a UFC analyst for pre- and post-fight shows. Additionally, the Silver Star recipient made such a positive impression on Fox that he was signed to call college football games for the network in the fall. It appears Stann, who played linebacker at the Naval Academy, will be wearing makeup more often than he wore the five-ounce gloves inside the Octagon.
Say What: MMA fans love to discuss super fights, as they represent a break from the ordinary. It should come as no surprise that fans are intrigued by the thought of Aldo competing against top lightweights. However, weight classes exist for a reason, and fighters who ignore them generally do not get their hands raised. Look at B.J. Penn’s record at 170 pounds. Aldo said all the right things about the subject during a pre-fight media call: “One step at a time. I want to focus on my fight against ‘The Korean Zombie’ and then we’ll worry about a potential lightweight move. I don’t want to take too big of a step. I respect my opponent and can’t overlook him.”