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This is a LIVE Simulcast of the Aldo-McGregor fight taking place at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, NV. If you’re in Boston, now you won’t have to miss the much anticipated face-off between McGregor and Aldo, Saturday, December 12th. Witness the fight live via Simulcast at Boston’s own Wilbur.
Any comprehensive list of great Brazilian MMA fighters would have to include Jose Aldo – a champion and sports deity by anyone’s measure.
The reigning UFC featherweight champion, who has successfully defended his belt seven times since 2011, is regarded as one of the greatest fighters produced by his homeland. He belongs at or near the top of a list of notable Brazilian stylists such as Royce Gracie, Anderson Silva, Lyoto Machida and Vitor Belfort, among others.
Aldo’s popularity among UFC fans is far reaching – so much, in fact, that a movie about his life is currently in production in Brazil.
The Brazilian jiu jitsu black belt, who owns a 25-1 record and hasn’t lost since 2005, has wins over Cub Swanson, Chad Mendes (twice), Urijah Faber, Kenny Florian and Frankie Edgar. He entered 2015 with a streak of 18 consecutive victories, nine by knockout.
Aldo’s story is one of rags to riches. Born in poverty in Manaus, Brazil, he moved to Rio de Janeiro and lived in the notorious favelas while training. He has spoken of having no money for food and often hearing the sound of gunfire at all hours.
His perseverance and desire to succeed carried him through difficult times. “I left my home and my town to chase a dream,” he once said.
Aldo made his professional debut in 2004 and won the World Extreme Cagefighting featherweight championship in November 2009 with a second-round knockout of Mike Brown in Las Vegas. He defended the belt twice.
When WEC was absorbed by the UFC in 2010, Aldo retained his title as the UFC’s first featherweight champ and defended it with a unanimous decision over Mark Hominick at UFC 129. Aldo followed with a unanimous-decision win over Florian at UFC 136, a first-round knockout of Mendes at UFC Rio and another decision over Edgar at UFC 156.
Aldo has a superb ground game but is regarded as a strong striker, with 14 knockouts. His takedown defense is above 90 percent, making him a difficult opponent for anyone in the division to handle.
Whether you appreciate his style or consider him loud and excessive, there’s no denying this about Conor McGregor: the UFC has seen nothing like him.
In the two years since he swooped into the UFC, McGregor has become a lightning rod for controversy. But he has backed up his braggadocio with skilled MMA and an ability to draw fans – most to cheer him, some hoping to see him cut down to size.
At UFC 189 in Las Vegas, he made good on a vow to knock out Chad Mendes, capturing the interim featherweight title and setting up a showdown with Jose Aldo, the UFC’s pound-for-pound king.
McGregor’s impressive rise in the UFC took place in a little over two years. It was almost impossible not to notice him after he knocked out Diego Brandao on UFC Fight Night Dublin in July 2014, then spectacularly announced, “We’re not here to take part. We’re here to take over.”
He and his legions of fans have done that. McGregor won 13 bouts in succession from February 2011 to January 2015, culminating with a knockout of Dennis Siver. When he leaped over the Octagon fence to challenge Aldo, sitting in the front row, there was no denying him a title shot.
It looked like it might happen. The two took part in a world tour, but less than a month before their bout, Aldo was forced to withdraw because of a rib injury.
McGregor, although disappointed, didn’t miss a beat, insisting he would stop Mendes and claim the interim belt, which he insisted was the legitimate title. He struggled in the first round, landing on his back and absorbing a cut over his right eye, but he charged back. In the second round, after another takedown, he got back on his feet and finished a weary Mendes with punches.
The fight attracted a record 16,019 fans to the MGM Grand Garden Arena with a $7.2-million live gate, proving McGregor’s sizable drawing power. Some 3,000 Irish fans converged on Las Vegas and left deliriously happy.
McGregor’s 18-2 record includes a 6-0 mark in the UFC. He has 16 knockouts, one submission win and 12 first-round finishes.
As he promised, he’s definitely taking over.
• Pro since 2008
• 16 wins by KO, one by submission (RNC)
• 12 first-round finishes
• On 14-fight winning streak
• Cage Warriors 145-pound Champion, Cage Warriors 155-pound Champion consecutively, Brown Belt BJJ