Welcome to SI.com's live play-by-play blog for UFC 163: Aldo vs. Korean Zombie from the HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro. We're glad you could join us. The play by play is below.
Jose Aldo vs. Chan Sung Jung
UFC feather champion Joe Aldo gets what many are considering a pass against Chan Sung Jung. Correct me if I'm wrong, but Jung -- who everyone knows as the Korean Zombie for his forward style -- is the first South Korean to fight for a UFC title. Too bad it wasn't really earned. Jung is an entertaining fighter, but his last three wins have come against Leonard Garcia (who was dropped by the UFC), Mark Hominick (who's now retired) and Dustin Poirer (who just got handled by Cub Swanson).
Aldo (22-1) is becoming our featherweight Anderson Silva. He has three UFC title defenses (he was handed the belt after three title wins in the WEC). Aldo is a sharpshooter, just like Silva. The Zombie doesn't have a big chance to take this.
Jung enters to "Zombie," by the Cranberries (Go Ireland!).
I guess we had better be prepared for another upset, though I doubt so in this one. Aldo is a brutal finisher. Bless him.
Lights out and Aldo enters to Rihanna. The crowd still seems a little stunned by the last bout's results. They snap out of it quickly as Aldo appears. Some fan snatches his hat. Aldo skips to the cage; Andre Pedernieras and Pedro Rizzo flag him and try to keep up. Aldo looks amped up. Quick fight? Bruce Buffering with the intros. Herb Dean gets the championship bout nod as referee. The fighters opt to touch gloves. Here we go.
Round 1 -- Jung in with an uppercut, but Aldo thwarts. Aldo lands an overhand right, then a body jab. He looks his usual powerful self. So far, very calculated posturing from both, with little bursts. Another minute down. Jung is also biding his time, looking for his opening. Aldo with a left to a low kick that hits its mark. Aldo's defense is top-notch. I think the UFC said he has 93% effective defense. It's showing here already. Jung shoots but it's more a fake to come over the top. Aldo shoots and gets quick TD, but Jung bounces to his feet. :10 to go. Aldo with spinning wheel kick and flying knee (neither connect). Aldo 10-9, though not an impressive, standout round for either.
Round 2 -- Jung lands an overhand right and Aldo is slightly off balnce for a second. Jung in again with more of his trademark crazy combos. Aldo counters as he backs out. Aldo is waiting for his shot. Jung throws, Aldo ducks and counters with lightning speed. Body, body, head by Aldo. Jung is hovering right in front of Aldo, something his corner told him not to do. Aldo is finding his timing. 2:00 to go. Again, a very calculated fight. Aldo with another counter and Jung reacts. Jung moves forward and Aldo loses his stance slightly, plants his feet quick, then lunges into a violent slam TD. Aldo in side control. :30 to go. Jung recovers closed guard. Not much action to bell. Aldo 20-18.
Pretty safe fighting from Aldo, but when he strikes, it's fast. Very fast.
This translation has become a side treat. Jung's corner: "Don't get hit." Jung squinting his right eye in his corner, but we head into round three.
Round 3 -- Jung moves in with a flying knee and Aldo catches him mid-air, spins him and takes him down. Brilliant. Aldo's instincts and athleticism make him special. Jung with back to fence, wall walks up. Aldo leaning on The Zombie, grappling for underhooks. Aldo drops to his knees, trying to drag Jung down. Aldo trips him down, but Jung is clinging to fence, trying to rise again. We're stalling here and ref Dean is moving in. They're stood with 1:30 to go. Jung comes swinging in, lands an uppercut, but Aldo clinches and reverses him back to the fence. Jung is on a single leg, Aldo gripping the other. Jung starts to elbow Aldo's head, who won't let go of that leg. Dean steps in again and re-starts them again. :10 to go. The Zombie again charges on re-start, but is met again mid-air by Aldo and taken down at bell. I have it Aldo 30-27.
Round 4 -- Guest commentator Brian Stann points out that Aldo isn't throwing his kicks. I think just one from R1. Maybe he's hiding an injury. 1:30 in and no real action, until the kick combos suddenly start from Aldo. It looks like Jung's shoulder just dislocated and he tries to put it back in as Aldo pounces. Followup punches as Jung turtles. He's done. TKO stoppage. Jung is in much pain on his stool. Shoulder dislocated. I hope they pop it back in on camera. Replay shows Jung dislocated his own shoulder with an overhead right. Semi-nasty. I guess Aldo was saving his kicks. Tentative performance until the ending flurry. Official: Jose Aldo def. Chan Sung Jung - TKO (Strikes) 2:00 R4.
Not much to glean in Aldo's post-fight comments. When asked, he says that he has no idea who his next opponent is. Fair enough.
And that's that. Our highlights tonight: Cezar Ferreira is a killer at middleweight. Look for the UFC to amp up his opposition to a lower-level name and start promoting him a bit more.
Anthony Perosh with the upset of the night over Vinny Margalhaes. It will earn him another fight in the Octagon, but not much more.
Huh? Judges Moment to Phil Davis' dubious win over Machida, who inches further and further away from a title shot each fight. He has to be getting frustrated.
Look for Jeff Wagenheim's analysis column on SI.com within the next hour. And make your way back here for the UFC 164 live blog, too.
Lyoto Machida vs. Phil Davis
Co-main event. Lyoto Machida vs. Phil Davis.
Reality-check time. This is a very, very tough bout for former Penn State wrestler Davis (11-1). After his loss to Rashad Evans (Jan. 2012), the UFC has bought him on gingerly with easier opposition, but his growth has been slow. Now, it's sink or swim time. Former champ Machida (19-3) is calculated; just a smarter, more experienced fighter. If that were not enough, Machida's last bout was that stinker against Dan Henderson at UFC 157 in Feb., so I'd expect him to come in ready to crush Davis tonight to get back into contention.
Crib notes: Machida fights on counter-strikes, optimizes unconventional stance and weird angles. Davis is a straight-on wrestler. Unless Davis has improved dramatically since his last bout against Vinny Margalhaes (where we saw so-so, sluggish standup), Machida will likely be too clever for him.
The scary thing is Machida's become a very safe fighter of late. Paired with Davis' skillset, this could be a plodding, boring fight. I pray I'm wrong. Lights out and "The Dragon" is set for his entrance. The crowd starts chanting his music -- obviously something very nationalistic that I don't recognize.
Machida has his arms raised, Rocky-style all the way to the cage. Ed Soares, Roger Gracie in his corner. According to the UFC rankings, Machida is still the No. 1 contender. Okey Doke.
Back to Davis, he's cut, but looks a wee bit nervous. This is a big step up. The big opp. Coach Eric Delfierro is shouting out last words over the cage lip, likely telling him to relax. Davis nods. Buffering announces Davis, who's booed. Machida gets the crowd's love. Leon Roberts is our referee. The fighters don''t touch gloves.
Round 1 -- Davis pawing with a left jab to feel out distance; throws a front kick and Machida backs out of the way. Machida has center canvas. He drops his arms, a la Silva, trying to lure in the punch. Not much action as we hit 3:00 mark. Machida with a left-right and Davis is on the defensive. Davis is pensive. Machida lands a left high kick and Davis circles out. Davis with a nice overhand right. Machida with a kick, then a straight left that takes Davis back a bit. Machida is a bit more active tonight, trying to coax out the punch he will counter.
Davis with a high body kick, but Machida uses the balance shift with Belfort machine-gun punches that sends Davis back to fence. He barely escapes getting trapped on fence, as he eats a knee. Davis lands his first TD. He's in half guard. :20 to go. Davis looking for kimura, then switches to body punches. Davis finishes round strong, but Machida should take it 10-9.
I don't know if the UFC translator is a little off. In Machida's corner: "You started out well, but you didn't do so well at the end of the round." LOL.
OK. Davis has to go to his bread and butter. Takedown. Takedown. Takedown.
Round 2 -- Davis with a clumsy body kick, and then a lot of punching that looks more like sparring. It's almost like he's afraid to land. Machida hanging back. Machida connects with a high kick. Davis is dancing around, but his range is off. He's not really landing anything significant. Davis finally clinches, but Machida gets free and takes it back center. 2:30 to go. Machida is blocking most of Davis' kicks, punches. I don't know why Davis is striking and not shooting. Machida with a left-right, but Davis mirrors it. Davis with another TD attempt, but Machida shrugs it off. 1:00 to go. Machida with a straight left. Davis shakes it off. Davis now has center cage. Machida with a right, but Davis clinches and takes him down. Davis, again, finishes with a strong flurry of punches, but it's not enough. He needs to take it down earlier. He didn't steal this round, either. Machida 20-18.
More Machida corner humor: " Don't let him take you down. Pay attention."
Round 3 -- I have a sneaking suspicion that Davis thinks he's winning the fight. He's more active, but not more effective. His punches have little behind them. Again, distance isn't right and Machida is blocking almost all. Davis shoots and meets a Machida knee, which he angles into a TD. Davis to his feet, Machida holding him from behind. Davis wiggles out. 2:00 to go and both pick up the pace. Machida with a left, charging knee, wrestles off a TD attempt. Machida is stepping up his game to take this. Davis clinches and drops for a TD, but again Machida slides away. :30 to go. Machida eyeing the clock. Machida with a high kick. Blocked. Davis with another TD attempt. Stuffed again. Bell. I have it Machida 30-27. Machida easily took Round 1 and 3. I can see a judge maybe giving Davis R2, though they'd be dead wrong. Holy cow. Phil Davis wins! This has to be wrong. Recount the cards. Insane. Phil Davis def. Lyoto Machida - Unanimous Decision (29-28 all).
I am stunned. Davis clearly lost. His punches weren't landing. Davis will need extra security leaving the cage. The crowd is getting ugly. Machida questions the UFC's rules, what the judges are supposed to judge. You're right, Machida. They're supposed to recognize EFFECTIVE striking. I have to see these scorecards.
Cezar Ferreira vs. Thiago Santos
Ferreira (5-2) was the first winner of TUF: Brazil. Very aggressive. He decisioned Sergio Moraes in his UFC debut (June 2012) and was shelved with an undisclosed injury last April. Santos (8-1) is making his UFC debut, having won 2 of his last 3 by TKO. This should be a fast-paced dogfight.
Santos enters to "The Eye of the Tiger." This never gets old for me. That song can get Richard Lewis pumping. Manager Alex Davis is in his corner. Davis has a good eye for young Brazilian talent, so this is a promising sign. Ferreira mean-mugs his way to the cage, Brazilian fans trying to rip him apart on the way. Oh, Brazilian fans. You so crazy. Mr. Vitor Belfort is in his corner.
Ferreira is a monster middleweight -- reminds me of Phil Davis at light heavy. Huge tree-trunk thighs. Our ref is Mario Yamasaki.
Round 1 -- Ferreira with a crushing left hook; and a follow-up high kick that lands. Santos tries a feeble shot, which takes him to his knees. A roll and Ferreira has the guilltine from his back. Tapout. You're done. Ferreira aldos into the crowd, but is ushered back into the cage fast.
In replay, we see Ferreira masterfully fell to his back to secure the lock. Smooth criminal. Official: Cezar Ferreira def. Thiago Santos - Submission (Guillotine Choke) :47 R1.
Ferreira is like butter. Well-rounded. Strong, too. Very promising addition to middleweight division. He'll get a low-level name for his next outing. Ferreira says in his post-fight speech that he's just come out of two surgeries. There's the Achille's Heel. Keep it together, Ferreira. We want to see more of you.
Thales Leites vs. Tom Watson
Leites (20-4) is probably most remembered for his one-sided title bout against Anderson Silva at UFC 97 in Montreal in early 2009. He's been out of the cage for 18 months. UK import Watson last starched Stanislav Nedkov (Feb.) and got a KO of the Night bonus.
Watson, 16-5, enters to the Backstreet Boys, strutting his cajones before a single punch is thrown. He's also wearing a gorilla mask (King Kong. Get it?)
Leites is back in the Octagon after a four-year absence. Bob Marley is his entrance music. He sings it all the way to the cage.
Crib notes: Watson is a banger; Leites is much stronger on the mat. Our ref is Herb Dean.
Round 1 -- Leites swings his way into a clinch on cage. He takes Watson's back and has a takedown in about 30 seconds. He has hooks in and the back of Watson, who turtles and then flips to his back. The RNC is imminent. Leites' feet are high; he's using them to lock up Watson's right arm. Leites softening Watson with punches. He's getting more aggressive with those punches, as Watson tries to free his right arm. Watson's cut. He's just stuck. Leites has a turtled Watson back-mounted. Leites trying to flatten the UKer out and Watson finally escapes. Back to standing. The Brit gets in his first punches. He's cut on his left eyebrow. Leites looks decent on his feet. Exchanging kicks and punches, but nothing monumental as the bell sounds. Leites dominates for his first 10-9 round.
In his corner, Watson tries to catch his breath, his cornermen shouting instructions.
Round 2 -- Leites again moves in with punches and backs Watson to cage, but the Brit answers this time, until Leites takes him down again. Leites swims easily to mount. Watson is fetal, then to his knees, Leites riding him all the way. We're back in RNC position. Leites has the hooks in, and Watson flips to his knees. Leites manuevers to a belly-down armbar, goes to his back, and lays out the traditional extension. Leites is too stacked on the cage to finish it, and Watson escapes.
Back to its feet and Watson is breathing hard. He's mixing up punches and kicks, but he's winded and Leites is walking through them. Leites takes the Brit back to the fence. 30 seconds to go. Back to center. Watson lands a nice uppercut and suddenly Leites is the one looking tired. Watson shoots; it misses, but he's gaining a little momentum. Bell sounds as Leites shoots himself. Leites takes this round, but the bottom seems to be falling out of his stamina. Should be an interesting third round. Leites 20-18.
Round 3 -- Leites in with a BIG left that opens Watson. Blood spurting as they tangle on the fence. Leites leaning on Watson to ride out the round for the UD. Watson finally breaks free, but he's too spent to get anything in. Leites rides him back to the fence and gets the crucial TD. Right to mount. I doubt Watson has the strength to stand. He's up for a second, but Leites drags him back down and takes mount, then back mount again. 1:30 to go. Leites is close to an arm-triangle. And he's got it. 1:00 to go. Watson rolls to his side and alleviates the choke enough to stay alive. Leites modifies the choke. Watson gives thumbs up, but his consciousness is the only thing he'll preserve. Official: Thales Leites def. Tom Watson - Unanimous Decision (30-27 all).
Impressive return for Leites, who looked more mature, stronger than the fighter we've seen in past. His stand-up was surprisingly decent, too.
Leites speaks clear English in his post-fight interview with Stann. Score! Leites dedicates the fight to his daughter, who had her birthday last week. Ah, cute.
John Lineker vs. Jose Maria Tome
10:10 p.m. -- John Lineker's (21-6) most recent Octagon wins came against Yasuhiro Urushitani and Azamat Gashimov (May), but this might be his last go in the 125-pound division. He missed weight Friday, the second time he's done so in his three UFC fights.
Jose Maria Tome (33-3) has won 17 of his last 18 bouts (1 NC). This is the Brazilian's UFC debut. Jose Maria Tome, who is going by Maria, enters with a burnt orange mohawk. His nickname is "No Chance," I assume that refers to his opponents' prospects against him.
10:12 -- Lineker enters next to some slow jam (don't ask me to name these songs). Alex Davis, management to Big Foot Silva and others, is in his corner. Bruce Buffering breaks out some Portuguese to open the show. Leon Roberts is our referee.
Round 1 -- Linkeker connects with his first right, sending Maria back slightly. Maria is circling on the outside. A quick clinch and they're out again. Lineker clips Maria and has him turtled for a few seconds, but Maria escapes to his feet. Maria connects with a spinning-back fist and Lineker wobbles. Another right-left and Lineker falls backward to his backside. He's up and trying to find his feet again. Maria catches Lineker's kick and muscles him down, but Lineker takes his back standing. Maria wiggles out and it's back to center. Maria with a spinning back kick (his second of bout), but it only grazes. Lineker looks recovered and is hunting Maria -- gets a quick TD to end round, but Maria is ahead. Maria 10-9.
Lineker's corner tells him he was dominating the round - I assume that means before he was killed with that spinning backfist and follow-up punches that sent him to his a--.
Round 2: Some clinching, then Maria shoots, but his distance is way off. He manuevers the failed shot into a quick heelhook attempt, but Lineker pivots to top and they're back to standing. Maria hurts his foot on a kick and goes to his back. Lineker pounces and ref Roberts steps in for the stoppage. Official -- John Lineker def. Jose Maria -- TKO 1:03 R2
· In his Octagon debut, welterweight Viscardi Andrade clipped TUF 16 vet Bristol Marunde with a left hook, and followed up with punches for the finish at 1:36 into the first round.
· Light heavyweight Francimar Barroso swept the cards (30-27, 30-27, 29-28) for a unanimous decision over Ednardo Oliveira.
· At featherweight, Rani Yahya grappled his way to a unanimous decision (29-28 all) over John Clopton.
· Former WEC flyweight standout Ian McCall notched his first UFC win with a unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28) over Iliarde Santos. McCall goes to 1-2 in the Octagon.
· Sergio Moraes submitted TUF 16 alumnus Neil Magny with a triangle choke at 3:13 into the first round of their welterweight clash.
· Amanda Nunes grounded striker Sheila Gaff early and grinded out the referee stoppage with elbows and punches at 2:08 into the first round of their bantamweight bout.
· Anthony Perosh pulled off the upset and quickly stopped Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt Vinny Magalhaes with a scathing 14-second knockout. Aussie import Perosh (age 40!) connected with his first right, dropping his light heavyweight opponent before finishing him cold with follow-up shots. Talk about a reversal of fortune: Perosh was KOed by Ryan Jimmo in 7 seconds during his last fight at UFC 149 one year ago.