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29th Jul 2018

Jose Aldo scores thunderous knockout victory to snap losing streak

He was the betting underdog.

Ben Kiely

Jose Aldo’s first ever non-title fight in the UFC was a roaring success.

Jose Aldo badly needed a win at UFC Calgary. The consensus greatest featherweight of all time entered into his bout against Jeremy Stephens off back-to-back knockout losses to Max Holloway. He was also finished in three of his previous four fights and already hinting at retirement.

‘Scarface’ closed as the betting underdog against ‘Lil Heathen’ who came into the fight off the back of his joint-best run in the UFC. Stephens was riding a three-fight win-streak after beating Gilbert Melendez, Doo Ho Choi and Josh Emmett respectively.

The oddsmakers got this one wrong though. Even though Aldo’s an old 31-year-old, he proved he had plenty left in the tank in Canada.

The greatest

The fight started off very ropey. Aldo appeared to be a little gun-shy in the opening exchanges. Stephens waded forward, landed a few hard leg kicks and tried to goad the Brazillian into a brawl.

Stephens had Aldo hurt early on. In one of the wilder exchanges, he caught Aldo with a huge uppercut and had him trapped against the fence. Aldo looked a little dazed, but utilised his head movement wonderfully to avoid any further damage and recover.

The beginning of the end came when Aldo landed a seismic body shot. At first, it looked like Stephens ate it well. However, the pain just took a few moments to set in. In a delayed reaction, the American crumbled to the canvas.

Aldo pounced on him and landed heavy ground and pound until the referee had seen enough. He awarded Aldo the TKO victory at the 4:19 mark of the very first round.

Aldo was understandably delighted to get back in the win column. It marked his first finish in five years. The last time he finished an opponent was against Chan Sung Jung in 2013. ‘The Korean Zombie’ actually dislocated his shoulder in the lead up to the TKO.

“The champion is back,” Aldo said with the help of a translator. “I just have to keep it up.”

The result sees Aldo improve to 27-4 (9-3 UFC). Meanwhile, Stephens fell to 28-15 (15-14 UFC).