Defending featherweight champion Jose Aldo, from Brazil, celebrates with fans after defeating Chad Mendes, from the US, during their featherweight title bout at the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) 142 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday, Jan. 15, 2012. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
Defending featherweight champion Jose Aldo, from Brazil, top, is lifted by Chad Mendes, from the US, during their featherweight title bout at the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) 142 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday Jan. 15, 2012. Aldo defended his belt defeating Mendes on the first round. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
Ultimate Fighting Championship’s Jose Aldo (21-1) has always been considered one of the pound-for-pound best fighters in the sport of Mixed Martial Arts.
After UFC 142 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Aldo may have made his case that he should be at the top of that list.
Defending his featherweight title against Chad Mendes (11-1) in front of his home country fans packed into HSBC Arena Aldo showed he was a superior fighter.
Mendes a former Pac 10 wrestler of the year tried to showcase his superior wrestling skills but Aldo was able to escape from the takedowns early in the round.
But toward the end of the first round Aldo while escaping from a takedown controlled the wrist of his opponent while simultaneously spinning out of the hold and delivering a knee that connected perfectly with Mendes’ face.
Aldo followed it up with a dead on follow up punch and the referee stopped the match at 4:59 in the first round.
Immediately after Aldo ran through the open cage door and into the crowd where he celebrated his title defense win.
In what has to be one of the most memorable moments so far in MMA this year, Aldo was carried by the crowd who swarmed and cheered him holding his arms up in victory and waving a flag.
Through a translator Aldo thanked his team, trainers and wished his mother a happy birthday.
Mendes loses the first bout of his career while Aldo’s only loss came in 2005.
Belfort submits ‘Rumble’ Johnson
Vitor “The Phenom” Belfort has been fighting in MMA since he was 19 years old.
Now 34, Belfort is arguably a living legend in the sport and in the middle of his second UFC run.
In the co-main event Saturday he faced Anthony “Rumble” Johnson who failed to make weight at the middleweight limit of 185 the day of the weigh in and just made the 205 catch weight limit agreed upon the day of the fight.
Johnson looked to have an advantage early in the round and Belfort’s eye swelled shut from some stiff blows.
But Belfort used is experience to take the back of his opponent and cinch in the rear naked choke for the victory in front of his hometown crowd at 4:49 in the first round.
The UFC released Johnson after loss as many fight fans and experts predicted because of his weight cutting “faux pas.”
Victor Garcia is a Fox News Channel contributor.