The under-card starts with two former top flyweight contenders in Joseph Benavidez and Ian McCall throwing down.
Next, former No. 1 middleweight contender Demian Maia takes his third bout at welterweight and will challenge former No 1. welterweight contender Jon Fitch.
The third fight will showcase some of The UFC’s top heavyweight talent. Alistair Overeem makes his long awaited return to The Octagon to face Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva.
The co-main event is between former light heavyweight champ Rashad Evans and the legendary Antonio Rogerio Nogueira.
Finally, the main event pits defending UFC featherweight champ Jose Aldo against former UFC lightweight champ Frank Edgar in what should be Aldo’s most significant test to date.
Joseph Benavidez vs. Ian McCall:
Let me start by saying Uncle Creepy is a great name. Joseph Benavidez shows great defense, as he defends Ian McCall’s aggressive take down attempts. McCall lands a great body kick that moves Joe back, and Benavidez returns fire with a wicked combo right on Ian’s face that clearly staggers him. Benavidez again lands a strong right staggering McCall, and Ian is really starting to take some damage. The pace slows a bit, and both guys take a breath. McCall begins to get his timing in order, as he lands a straight kick. There’s only 30 seconds to go, and Ian manages to cut Joe open, but the round ends before anything to significant becomes of it. MMAConvert Score: 10-9 Benavidez
Round 2 gets under way as Benavidez picked up right where he left off by using his hand speed to land successful punches. McCall returns with a power left and a good kick. The two trade shots, and Joe takes the upper hand in the exchange with a big hook right to Ian’s chin. With just under 3 minutes left, Joe engages in a clinch against the fence, but they break up pretty quickly. The cut above Benavidez’ eye has begun to bleed again, as Ian has settled into a maintainable pace and lands a few jabs. The two dropped to the ground where McCall is able to mount Joe with about 45 seconds to go. Ian lands a good knee as the two men split. Joe was in trouble, but he survives. Ian steals the round in the last minute. MMAConvert Score: 10-9 McCall
The third starts with the guys even on the cards, but Benavidez wastes no time in engaging Ian with a flurry of punches right out of the gate, as he hurts Ian early. The two exchange kicks, and Ian falls during the exchange, but he gets back up immediately. Benavidez again lands a kick and follows it up with another barrage of punches and he lands a great right, as they separate. The guys start to let loose with under a minute to go. Benavidez lands a solid combo that moved Ian back, and Benevidez shakes off a take down, as the bell rings. MMAConvert Score: 10-9 Benavidez.
J. Benavidez def. I. McCall via Decision (Unanimous) (29-28, 29-28, 29-28).
Demian Maia vs. Jon Fitch:
Demian Maia immediately takes Jon Fitch’s back, and as Fitch stands, Maia is landing hard punches on Jon’s head. Maia is continuing to just hang on to Jon’s back, but he’s really not attacking. He is slowly working for a choke, but Fitch is defending perfectly. Fitch may be allowing Maia to hang on to him for so long to gas his arms and legs. Maia finally lets go briefly, but he swarms Jon again, and Fitch isn’t answering with any offense. Maia’s attack is slowing, and Fitch’s defense is working flawlessly. However Fitch has scored no points with only 20 seconds to go. MMAConvert Score: 10-9 Maia
Fitch comes out fast and lands a good body kick. Maia again quickly takes Fitch to the ground, but Fitch is able to get up to his feet quickly. Maia again takes Jon down, and now Jon looks to be getting frustrated. Maia has Jon’s back, as they sit against the cage. Maia stinks in a great rear naked, but Fitch, as always, escapes the submission attempt. Maia still has Fitch’s back, and he’s holding on to a body triangle. Maia doesn’t appear to be interested in advancing position. With under a minute, Fitch tries to get up, but the body triangle smothers his attempt. Fitch loses another round, but his submission defense is amazing. MMAConvert Score: 10-9 Maia
Jon has to know he’s got to finish to win, and he gets tied up immediately. Fitch finally appears to be interested in the fight, as he stops a take down for what seems like the first time tonight. As soon as I say that, Maia scores another take down. Maia resumes his early attack plan by just holding on to Fitch’s back, but Jon spins and stands. Jon miraculously sinks in a guillotine choke, and it looks solid, but Maia gets out. Fitch is being held against the cage. Maia’s pace has slowed, as he knows he’ll win the decision. Fitch then was taken down again, and the time is now under a minute. Fitch literally threw his hands in the air in frustration, as his game plans has been turned against him. Maia has done it he out-grind-ed Jon Fitch. MMAConvert Score: 10-9 Maia
D. Maia def. J Fitch via Decision (Unanimous) (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).
Alistair Overeem vs. Antonio Silva:
Alistair Overeem comes out and controls the center of the cage right off the bat. He clinches and lands a knee or two into Antonio Silva’s body. As the clinch breaks, Overeem lands a left, and Silva returns the favor. Overeem’s hand are low, and Silva is just standing in front of Alistair. Again, Alistair moves Silva’s back into the cage, and they break. Silva landed a kick, but Overeem countered him with a big right hand that moved Silva back, and he follows it with a huge damaging leg kick. Overeem clinches briefly, but Silva broke away quickly. With 10 seconds, Alistair landed a sweet counter upper-cut. MMAConvert Score: 10-9 Overeem
They engage early, and Alistair Overeem takes Silva to the ground about 30 seconds into the round. Overeem stays in full guard, and fires some short body shots into Silva’s ribs. The assault to Silva’s body continues, as Overeem just keeps chipping away at his ribs. Silva slows the pace, as he holds Overeem’s head into his own chest. A quick triangle choke attempt went south for Silva before is really even got started, and Overeem continues to work Silva on the ground. Silva has continually been trying to get Overeem off of him, and they are finally stood up by Herb Dean. Silva landed a great hook, as they stood. It got Overeem’s attention, but it didn’t hurt him that badly. MMAConvert Score: 10-9 Overeem
A big body shot starts the third round for Overeem, and wow Silva just lit up Alistair. He’s out on his feet, and Silva’s teeing off on him, and he’s out! Silva just finished Alistair off with a combo that started with head kick and ended with a flurry of punches.
A. Silva def. A. Overeem via KO at 0:25 of round 3.
Rashad Evans vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira:
This is the first fight that’s had a “feeling out” stage. Both guys engage with light lunches and kicks, but neither has thrown anything significant. The first big strike comes at about 2 minute in as Rogerio Nogueira lands a stiff, stiff jab. Nog again lands a stiff jab. Rashad finally unloads a big right hand that lands flush against Nog’s chin, and he steps back. Evans also gets the first take down with just under 45 seconds to go, but Rogerio bounces right back to his feet. The round ends in a dead even heat that could go either way. MMAConvert Score: 10-9 Evans
Rashad continues to change levels in an attempt to keep Rogerio guessing. Rashad begins an attack on Nog’s body, and Rogerio returns with a jab. Rashad’s pace begins to pick up, and he lets a few more punches flow, but the round remains even. With a minute to go, Nog becomes the aggressor and throws shot of his own. Rashad ends the round with a head kick, but I think Nog still takes the round. MMAConvert Score: 10-9 Nogueira
Evans starts by firing a quick counter right hook, but it misses. Nog continues to circle away from Rashad’s power and is actually coming up on the better end of the exchanges. An inadvertent eye poke from Rashad gives a momentary pause to the action. The action resumes, and Rashad seems to have picked up his pace, but he’s not landing any punches. They come together and exchange punches, but again there isn’t a clear cut winner of the exchange. Rashad is covering up and dodging punches, but he’s not landing any of his own. Rashad swings and misses again. The fight goes the distance and, it will be a hard one to score. It was even, and there wasn’t that much significant damage on either side. MMAConvert Score: 10-9 Nogueira
A. Silva def. R. Evans via Decision (Unanimous) (29-28, 29-28, 29-28).
Jose Aldo vs. Frank Edgar:
The championship fight begins and Frank Edgar comes out quick with a leg kick. The crowd is in Frankie Edgar’s corner. They start chanting “Frankie, Frankie, Frankie” as soon as the fight starts. Jose Aldo gets a good jab. Make it two. Aldo then landed a straight right. Frank fires back with a spinning back kick, and lands few punches and gets a few points. Frank wades in and is hit twice for his troubles. With 40 seconds to go, Aldo scored his first leg kick, and it was a good one. Aldo ends the round with a high kick, but Edgar shakes it off. MMAConvert Score 10-9: Aldo
Edgar’s leg shows damage already from one kick landed by Aldo. Frank holds his own, and he throws another spinning kick. Jose exchanges a few shots with Edgar and smiles, as they step back. Another crushing leg kick staggers Frank, and his leg is very damaged. Despite the damage, Frank is still moving forward and throwing aggressive punches, but Aldo is countering many of his shots. Aldo threw his first flying knee into Franks chest, and Frank has to move Aldo into the cage. With a minute to go, Frank takes it down to the ground, but he can’t keep Aldo down. Aldo lands back-to-back left jabs, and the bell rings. MMAConvert Score: 10-9 Aldo.
Aldo starts out with defending Frank’s take down attempt. Aldo seems to be slowing, but it’s very slight. Aldo gets the better of another exchange, and he follows up with a kick. Frank’s nose has begun to bleed, as Aldo continues to get the better of exchanges. Frank takes control of the center of The Octagon. Aldo shakes off another take down, and Frankie’s weapons seem to be kind of limited now. They exchange a pair of kicks as the horn blows. This was without doubt the most competitive round. MMAConvert Score: 10-9 Aldo
Frank’s best friend now has got to be cardio. Aldo has slowed a little bit, and there are still two full rounds to go. Frank catches a leg kick, and he fires a punch right down the hole. Edgar again goes to the spinning kick which lands this time. After a failed take down attempt, Frank managed to get the better of an exchange that followed. Aldo takes a step back and begins to breath out of his mouth. Edgar gets a take down (more of a slam really), but just like last time Aldo stands up as soon as he was taken down. Edgar had really pick up his pace with a minute to go, and Edgar is now actually kind of throwing Aldo around. Though Edgar’s face is damaged, he wins the fourth round. MMAConver Score: 10-9 Edgar
The final round begins with a glove touch. Edgar throws the first punches. Aldo keeps his pace up though. Edgar gets a good right, and he follows with another, but it misses. Edgar scores a combo consisting of a right upper-cut, left hook and a leg kick. Edgar’s face is really starting to look bad, and Aldo jabs away at him. With 90 seconds, Frankie really needs a finish to get a belt. Frank lands a good shot on Aldo, but he doesn’t follow it up with anything. Time is ticking away now, and Frank isn’t swinging for the fences like he should, but he did land a good shot right on Aldo’s eye. This fight is up it the air; I really think it will come down to how round three was scored. MMAConvert Score 10-9 Edgar
J. Aldo def. F. Edgar via Decision (Unanimous) (49-46, 49-46, 48-47).
Photo credit: MMAWeekly.com