A special spectator, Palhinha, drew a lot of attention to himself in the front row at UFC 129, near the octagon. The Brazilian from Belém do Pará screamed himself hoarse for his idol Lyoto Machida but also for featherweight champion José Aldo, who quickly made his way to talk to the karateka following the event. He’d heard Palhinha shouting the whole time.
Aldo’s coach, Dedé Pederneiras, was brimming with pride: “He did everything like we’d planned it. The only thing he he did that was off the program was go for that guillotine, when he sat back. He’d never done that in training,” he told GRACIEMAG.com’s editor, Marcelo Dunlop.
“We got tense at the end of the fight,” admits chief training partner Marlon Sandro.
“I saw his neck exposed and went for it, I thought I could get it,” said Aldo in response, already with the belt dangling from his arm, Nikes on his feet, and wearing Nova União shorts. Then he added: “I knew I’d won the earlier rounds, so I took it easy playing guard in the last one. I’m a Flamengo (soccer team) fan and like excitement. That’s why I liked the fight – that excitement in the end!”
Now it’s more than likely he’ll face the undefeated Chad Mendes, more than likely at UFC Rio, which anyone following GRACIEMAG.com on Twitter (@graciemag_br) knew even before Aldo had stepped into the octagon this Saturday.
“Now UFC Rio is coming up and the foreigners will get to see what it’s like fighting in their opponents’ hometown. Chad Mendes is a really tough guy who’s been moving up the ranks in the event. If the boss gives the go-ahead, it will be a good fight; I’m a UFC employee.”
However, Dana White says the fight may end up taking place at another event, perhaps in Philadelphia.
Mark Hominick, the opponent at the 129th installment of the show, didn’t fold. White also had nothing but good things to say about the doctors not interrupting the fight, even after a worryingly huge welt developed on Mark’s forehead – the fighter went straight to the hospital alongside his wife, who is near the end of her pregnancy.
“It was an awesome fight! Mark really brought the goods, he’s a great fighter, really tough. I knew his boxing was great and had sharpened up his muay thai for this. I looked to kick his legs a lot and strike. But all my fights leading up to this one were tough, not just this one. It was great for the crowd to see that I’ll go a full five rounds,” said Aldo, breaking down the fight.
Despite the black eye, there’s only one thing concerning the champion for the time being: the upcoming final game of his beloved soccer team, Flamengo, against Vasco da Gama on Sunday.
“I don’t know if I’ll get to see the game, I’m catching a flight to Orlando tomorrow.”