José Aldo made the first defense of his UFC title a successful one tonight, but it didn’t come easily.
The 24-year-old met Canadian striker Mark Hominick in the co-main event of UFC 129: St. Pierre vs. Shields at the packed Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and it took every ounce of his strength and will to earn the unanimous decision victory.
“You’ve got to ake your hat off in congratulations to Mark Hominick,” said Aldo said after the fight. “He’s a hell of a fighter, and he came out for five rounds, giving his all.”
Aldo took it to Hominick early on in the first round, landing leg kicks and liver shots with his trademark brutality, barely giving Hominick the time to react before he reset to fire off another bevy of strikes. The Brazilian phenom even went for takedowns, something seldom seen from his arsenal, putting “The Machine” on his back twice in the first. By the second round though, Aldo’s pace had slowed and Hominick just kept coming forward, putting together combinations that were tagging the champ and had him thinking of the takedown even more.
By the third, the takedown became a staple of Aldo’s strategy, though he found the gas to start putting some snap back on his punches. “The Machine” didn’t back down for a second, but Aldo let him know why he’s been the champion through three title defenses by landing a mean right hand that had him briefly wobbled. The fourth round was where Aldo did the most damage, sending Hominick to the mat with a straight right hand and following him there to continue his assault with elbows and punches. Hominick held tough and would not be put away, but the fist-sized hematoma that was growing on his forehead threatened to stop the fight.
The doctor’s let it go on and Hominick rallied in the last frame, putting the champ on his back and beating him down for the duration of the round. Impressive though it was, it wouldn’t be enough to earn Hominick the decision nod. Aldo deservedly took home his belt, but he looked more human than ever in this title defense, due in part to both a difficult weight cut and Hominick’s sheer tenacity.
“I was never giving up,” said Hominick after the fight. “With Jose, I wanted to be one up on him, and I let him get one up on me. Then I started thinking about the takedown too much. I’ll come back stronger.”
With the win, Aldo increases his winning streak to twelve in a row, makes his third successful title defense, and improves his record to 19-1. Hominick falls to 20-9, but his stock raises dramatically in the eyes of fans for his gutsy performance.