UFC Featherweight Championship: Jose Aldo vs. Mark Hominick – Round 1
John McCarthy is the referee for the first featherweight title bout in UFC history. Aldo stares at the ground during final instructions, only looking up at Hominick as they retreat to their corners. The Brazilian looks relaxed, the Canadian twitchy as they touch gloves and circle. Aldo fires a one-two, a leg kick, an uppercut, another leg kick. He dodges a big right hand from Hominick and then drives a left hand to the gut. Another leg kick buckles the left knee of Hominick. Left hand from Hominick finds it mark; Aldo replies with another leg kick. Hominick catches a front kick and Aldo falls down, but hops right back up. Aldo is going after the left leg of Hominick, who’s now checking the strikes. Aldo plows Hominick down with a double-leg and avoids an armbar attempt. Working from Hominick’s closed guard, Aldo lays a forearm across his challenger’s throat and slams him with short staples. Aldo postures up, can’t find space, and goes back down. Hominick’s doing well to tie up and avoid punishment, prompting McCarthy to tell the pair to get busy. Aldo responds by dropping elbows on Hominick’s face. Some more strikes come from on top and Hominick is bleeding from the nose and cheek, looking lumpy around the forehead. They’re not active enough for McCarthy, who stands them up with 30 seconds left. Hominick pops the champ with a left hook, but eats another leg kick and is taken down again by Aldo. That’s where the first round ends.
Hominick comes out the aggressor, looking for uppercuts and left hooks. He drives a particularly hard left to Aldo’s body. Right uppercut from Aldo and he ducks a left hook. Hominick stuffs a shot and punches to the body again. Aldo has slowed significantly and is not dodging Hominick’s punches as well as he did in the first frame. Just after he eats a one-two, he uses head movement to avoid about six consecutive Hominick shots. Aldo gets a takedown with three minutes to go and Hominick goes back to tying up. The Canadian uses his feet to push off the fence and further neutralize Aldo. The champ drops a few hard punches from on top. McCarthy warns Hominick for grabbing the fence with his hands and pushing off, an infraction Hominick has repeated a few times now. They’re stood up with a minute to go, but Aldo soon floors Hominick with another double-leg. Hominick is pushing off the cage with his feet again with Aldo in side control. Again, Aldo can’t get space to do damage and the round ends in a stalemate.
Hominick looks the much fresher fighter at the start of the third. He circles the champion and flicks out his left jab while Aldo tries to counter and lobs leg kicks. Aldo ducks in behind an uppercut and tries a takedown, but Hominick slips it. Aldo’s head movement still looks good, as he dodges punches while standing almost stock still. Another chopping leg kick from the champ, then a straight one-two down the pipe. Hominick snaps Aldo’s head back with a jab. Both men dig to the body at the same time. Aldo gets a single-leg takedown, but Hominick’s right back up, jabbing away. The Brazilian’s face is reddened, even as he continues to move out of the way of a number of Hominick’s punches. Aldo throws a right that clips Hominick behind the ear and a follow-up hook sends the challenger to his back. Aldo pounces and lands a few flush shots, but can’t finish and settles down into Hominick’s guard with a minute to go. Aldo drops a few elbows; Hominick boxes his man’s ears with open palms.
Hominick’s left eye looks to have sustained serious damage as the championship rounds begin. Aldo gets back to his leg kicks and then cracks Hominick with a left that stumbles the challenger. Aldo thinks an inside thigh kick catches Hominick low and offers to stop, but Hominick wants to keep going. Twenty seconds later, Aldo steps in with a knee and does clip Hominick’s cup. Hominick is ready to get going seconds after and they go back to swinging. A few more kicks from Aldo and Hominick’s left leg is looking like rubber. Left hands from Aldo find their marks on the badly moused cheek of “The Machine.” Another direct hit to Hominick’s left leg. Double jab from Hominick is answered by an Aldo right straight and Hominick falls to his back. Aldo goes into the Canadian’s guard and tries to elbow. Hominick ties up but now has a giant, Hasim Rahman-sized knot on his right forehead. McCarthy allows them to fight on for 20 seconds before calling for the cageside physician. The doctor surprisingly clears Hominick to continue and they resume with 40 seconds left. Aldo scores another takedown before the end of the frame.
Just as the final round is set to begin, McCarthy calls for the doctor again. The doctor performs some eye checks and clears the challenger for battle once more. The featherweights slap hands to begin the last frame and Aldo goes to his leg kicks. He slips a one-two from Hominick and drills an uppercut to the gut that seems to hurt the Canadian badly. Hominick gets a takedown and tries to punish from top position. Aldo eats a few left hands before trying to tie up with Hominick, who’s now bleeding profusely from the left side of his face. Short right hammerfist bounces off Aldo’s face. The champion is shrimping, but weary and unable to escape the punishment. Still 2:30 to go as Hominick works from the Brazilian’s open guard. Aldo covers his head and Hominick punches to the body. Zero offense coming from the champion on the bottom and plenty coming from Hominick on top in the form of elbows, forearms, punches. Dozens of unanswered strikes come from Hominick with Aldo helpless to prevent it. Aldo hangs on for dear life with 30 seconds to go. Hominick stands and tries to dive past Aldo’s guard. He lands a few left hands on the way in, but can’t pass. It’s right down to the buzzer and it looks as though Aldo will hold on. He does and Hominick helps him up at the final horn. The pair embrace before Hominick drops down for some push-ups; Aldo follows suit and the Toronto crowd laughs.
Official scores: Judge Douglas Crosby scores it 50-43, while Nelson Hamilton has it 48-46 and Sal D’Amato 49-46, all in favor of the winner and still UFC featherweight champion, Jose Aldo.
For continuing coverage of the UFC 129 PPV, click the links below for the results of the fights earlier tonight: