Morning Report: Jose Aldo vs. Anthony Pettis set for August, Aldo earns lightweight title shot with win

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Monday was weird. You should probably know that right off the bat. And the result, sure, it was great if you favor spectacular fights, but not so much if you subscribe to the whole ‘earning title shots in your own division' thing.

To recap, over the weekend UFC President Dana White revealed that featherweight champ Jose Aldo didn't think too highly of fighting No. 1 lightweight contender Anthony Pettis. "He's absolutely refusing to fight Pettis," said White. "Doesn't think he deserves the shot." White later sent a thinly-veiled threat Aldo's way, essentially implying "Scarface" will do as he's told or suffer the consequences.

It didn't seem to matter much though, as early Monday morning Aldo told Brazilian outlet Tatame that he would be willing to fight Pettis, but only -- and he was very specific -- in a non-title bout. The reason? Pettis didn't deserve a shot at the belt. That honor belonged to Ricardo Lamas or Cub Swanson, Aldo explained, before seemingly blasting the UFC's matchmaking practices.

"Who deserves a chance in the first place is Ricardo Lamas, because he has beaten Erik Koch, who was the next contender. He earned the chance after the victory," said Aldo (translated by Five Ounces of Pain). "Cub Swanson is another too. They are athletes in the division, struggling for a long time for a shot at the belt, which never arrives according to opponents the UFC is scheduling.

"They created a ranking that is not serving for anything, because they're pulling people from other divisions. This is only happening on my weight, I see it nowhere else.

"It is an injustice to others," Aldo concluded.

Considering his last two title defense will have come against former lightweights, Aldo had a point. Although that sentiment didn't sit well with UFC officials, so it wasn't altogether surprising when Dana White sent out this pair of tweets a few hours later.

"Aldo vs. Pettis is ON!" White proclaimed, then adding, "Yes Aldo vs. Pettis and it's for Aldo's UFC 145-pound title."

Presumably the UFC sweetened the pot enough for Aldo to fall back in line, and that appeared to be the end of story. Or at least it was, until Tatame broke word that an aspect of the deal brokered by Aldo awarded the Brazilian an immediate title shot at lightweight should he emerge victorious.

I'll go ahead and repeat that. If Aldo beats Pettis in August, he'll instantly fight the winner of Benson Henderson vs. Gilbert Melendez. And yes, if you're asking whether Aldo just took advantage of the exact same practice he was campaigning against hours before, you're right.

So, just to get everything straight, the No. 1 lightweight contender just became the No. 1 featherweight contender without fighting at featherweight, but the featherweight champion also stole the No. 1 lightweight contender's mantle as the No. 1 lightweight contender, unless he loses to the new No. 1 featherweight contender, in which case he's no longer the featherweight champion. Like I said, Monday was weird.

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6 MUST-READ STORIES

Aldo vs. Pettis. UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo initially told Brazilian outlet Tatame he would be willing to fight Anthony Pettis, but not with his belt on the line. Aldo went on to call the UFC's trend of immediate title shots an "injustice," and suggested that Ricardo Lamas or Cub Swanson deserve the title fight more. Hours later, UFC President Dana White revealed that not only was a Aldo vs. Pettis 145-pound title fight a done deal for August, but Aldo also will receive an immediate lightweight title shot if he wins.

Silva talks Jones, NYC. Anderson Silva is notorious for messing with the media, so take this for what it's worth. But according to a report from Brazil's SporTV, "The Spider" teased that he would be willing to fight UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones at a catchweight of 87kg (roughly 192 pounds) for a superfight in New York City later this year.

The MMA hour. Join Ariel Helwani for another loaded episode of The MMA Hour, featuring a lineup of Brian Stann, Ronda Rousey's manager Darin Harvey, Tarec Saffiedine, Conor McGregor, UFC Executive Vice President and Managing Director of Europe, Middle East and Africa Garry Cook, and Robert Sargent of MMARising.com.

UFC women signings. Four additional female 135-pound fighters have been signed by the UFC: former Strikeforce champion Sarah Kaufman, Julie Kedzie, Germaine de Randamie and Amanda Nunes.

Sonnen blasts Machida. Following Lyoto Machida's widely-panned bout against Dan Henderson, TUF 17 coach Chael Sonnen said this about awarding the Brazilian another title shot: "Does Lyoto Machida deserve another title shot? Absolutely. Is he a great fighter? Absolutely. I'm in on the business. I'm in on the pay per view. So is Jon Jones, but neither of us want to fight him because he can't draw flies. That's the bottom line. He got booed tonight, he got booed in his last fight. I can't sell out an arena with you. I can't sell PPV's with you. I'm not giving him the shot. Alexander Gustafsson, Gegard Mousasi, step up and I'll take the winner."

Mean Street Pizza lawsuit. Speaking of Chael Sonnen, "The American Gangster" is apparently suing his business partner, "the co-owner of his West Linn restaurant, claiming he embezzled $20,000 and owes Sonnen another nearly $23,000 in borrowed money and unpaid rent," according to a report from OregonLive.

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MEDIA STEW

Most striking part of this Backstage Pass: Liz Carmouche's broad smile as she strolls into the arena. Hard not to be impressed by this woman's positivity.

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Ladies and gentlemen, the most dangerous 185'er in the world:

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Six seconds of regional violence? Well, okay. But only because you asked nicely. (Just go ahead and jump to 4:15.)

(HT: MiddleEasy)

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Tonight's TUF 17 fight: Team Jones' Josh Samman vs. Team Sonnen's Tor Troeng. In the meantime, Gilbert Smith needs to put on some clothes.

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I know, I know. Believe me folks, we were done posting Harlem Shake videos. But then Shinya Aoki went and donned a tutu.

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Back in 2007, the first James Thompson-Don Frye fight ended in six minutes and 23 seconds. Their recent rematch was significantly shorter.

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THE BOSS HAS SPOKEN

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ALDO-BENDO?

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CASUAL CONVERSATION

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:(

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WELL PLAYED

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WINNER

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FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Announced yesterday (Monday, February 25, 2013):

  • UFC: Jose Aldo (22-1) vs. Anthony Pettis (16-2) set for August
  • ONE FC 8: Melvin Manhoef (27-9-1) vs. Brock Larson (36-7)
  • KOTC: Fighting Legends: David "Tank" Abbott (10-14) vs. Ruben Villareal (20-25)

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FANPOST OF THE DAY

Today's Fanpost of the Day sees Grappo try to settle the discussion with: Machida vs. Henderson striking stats

As usual, there seems to be some small amount of debate regarding the scoring of certain rounds in a Lyoto Machida fight. Thanks to Lyoto's style, going back and rewatching this fight for the purposes of collating an accurate strike count doesn't make you want to kill yourself. I usually like to give Machida's fights a second look anyway, and slow things down to get a better understanding of things. It's hard to pay attention to who is landing what when both fighters are engaging at the same moment, or when one fighter is so skilled at evading strikes by the narrowest of margins.

So anyway, I went through all three rounds and tallied up every single strike thrown by either of them that landed to any real degree. Hendo's leg kicks that just smacked with the foot are in there (and they were many), as are Lyoto's quick little strikes to the face that are meant more to distract than to do serious damage. Every Hendo knee or elbow to the thigh is accounted for. I even included a couple that I'm not sure about since the angle was bad. It's up to you to decide which strikes were significant. I'm just doing this because I was interested in finding out how my personal tally would add up against Fightmetric's, and because people are making statements that I thought didn't reflect reality, and I wanted to know for sure. It's just a little more info for the people that care one way or the other to draw their own conclusions.

Fightmetric has the total strike count as follows: Machida: 28, Henderson: 54

I have it a little different. Machida: 38, Henderson: 57 (56 if you discount the groin shot)

But don't just take my word for it, I gots pitchers.

Check out a round-by-round breakdown, including screenshots, after the jump...

Found something you'd like to see in the Morning Report? Just hit me on Twitter @shaunalshatti and we'll include it in tomorrow's column.

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