Until his fight with Jeremy Stephens last summer, Jose Aldo had never participated in a three-round UFC fight. Arriving in UFC as featherweight champion, Aldo only competed in five-round fights during and after his lengthy championship reign. His fight with Renato Moicano this Saturday in Fortaleza, Brazil will be a three-round fight. The scheduled main event is a five-round tilt between Raphael Assuncao and Marlon Moraes.
The decision to put Aldo in the co-main event position is one that was made by his trainer, Andre Pederneiras. Aldo said he would have liked to be in the main event, but defers to the expertise of his head trainer who helped him get where he is.
“I never turned anything down,” Aldo said (via MMAFighting). “The thing about three or five rounds, it was [Pederneiras] who thought it wouldn’t be good. You can ask him. He made the fight three rounds, he thought it would be better. To me, it doesn’t matter.”
While the decision to fight for only three rounds was a tactical decision, Aldo admits that it hurts his pride a bit not to be the headliner after all he has accomplished in his career.
“It’s tough to see me in the in the co-main event,” Aldo said. “Of course, respecting both of them, Raphael (and Moraes) will be the main event, (but) it’s tough to see the name I have and not being the main event. I had that in my mind, but if I got to where I am today was thanks to ‘Dede’, and he knows really well what he’s doing.”
Hiscoe’s Analysis: The way this played out sheds light on the somewhat inconsistent nature of UFC main events, how they are handed out, and three or five-round fights. The main event position typically goes to the most important fight from a championship or rankings perspective, or to the biggest name on the card. In both cases, it can be argued that Aldo’s fight should be the main event.
When UFC began making all non-championship main event fights five rounds, they were running far fewer shows so there weren’t as many of these fights that were going five rounds and the ones that were put in that position were certainly important enough. In the time since UFC started this practice, the championship advantage of having five-round experience has been lost. With UFC running so many shows now, what is considered the main event on one show may not even crack the main card on another.
Assuncao vs. Moraes is an important featherweight fight, but so is Aldo vs. Moicano. Perhaps it may be time for UFC to devise a system to determine what fights qualify as five-rounders other than just the last fight on every show. It can be any fight featuring a top-five ranked fighter or any fight between two top-ten ranked fighters. This would mean that some shows would have multiple five round fights and others may have none, but it would help in taking away the somewhat arbitrary nature of the current system.
-Nathaniel Wood vs. Jose Quinonez, Mike Grundy vs. Nad Narimani, and Danny Henry vs. Dan Ige have been added to UFC London on March 16.
-Kyoji Horiguchi vs. Ben Nguyen, and King Mo vs. Jiri Prochazka at RIZIN 15 on April 21 from Yokohama, Japan.
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