Aldo upsets Font in exciting UFC main event

Jeff Bottari / UFC / Getty

Jose Aldo, one of the greatest fighters of all time, is still taking down elite fighters in 2021.

Aldo defeated No. 4-ranked bantamweight Rob Font via unanimous decision (50-45, 50-45, 49-46) in the UFC Fight Night main event Saturday in Las Vegas.

Afterward, the Brazilian said he wants to face former bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw in what would likely be a No. 1 contender bout, with the winner getting a title shot against either Aljamain Sterling or Petr Yan.

Despite the lopsided scorecards, Aldo had to deal with some adversity to get the win. Font started strong, peppering Aldo with punches and not letting him breathe in the stand-up department in what was shaping up to be a borderline-perfect first round. But Aldo stole it in the waning seconds by dropping Font and almost finishing him with ground-and-pound.

From there, Aldo's power and grappling were the difference-makers in the contest. Font had more volume, out-landing Aldo 149-86 in significant strikes, which is the second-largest deficit for a fighter who won by decision in UFC history, according to Fight Metric's Michael Carroll. However, Aldo's offense appeared to have more of an impact than Font's did.

Aldo opened up with his patented leg kicks in the third round, recording 10 or more in a fight for the first time since 2014, according to TSN's Aaron Bronsteter.

The Brazilian tagged Font early in the fourth round before controlling him on the ground for most of the frame. However, Font landed some elbows off his back, and he didn't let Aldo spend much time in full mount.

Font's corner told him between the fourth and fifth rounds that he needed a finish to win. He came out swinging with heavy punches, but Aldo dropped him again with a right hand midway through the stanza and took his back. Aldo attempted to sink in a rear-naked choke, but Font's defense held up.

Many wrote off Aldo, a former UFC featherweight champion, after he suffered a devastating loss to Yan in a vacant bantamweight title bout in July 2020. But the 35-year-old has rattled off three straight wins since, earning decisions over Marlon Vera, Pedro Munhoz, and now Font.

The legendary fighter moved down to 135 pounds in 2019 and holds a 3-2 record in that division; his other loss was a controversial decision against Marlon Moraes. He entered Saturday's main event as the No. 5-ranked contender and will move up to at least the No. 4 position after beating Font.

Font became a top contender over the past year with wins against former bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt and Moraes, but he'll need to rebound in his next bout to keep his title hopes alive. The Massachusetts native saw his four-fight winning streak end. Font, 34, hadn't lost since July 2018.

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Aldo upsets Font in exciting UFC main event
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