Jose Aldo and Mark Hominick had a lot to live up to after the excellent fights that made up UFC 129. They delivered in a five-round decision that ended with Aldo keeping the UFC featherweight belt, with him winning 48-45, 48-46 and 49-46. (The score read after the fight of 50-43, 48-46, 49-46 was a miscalculation.)
Aldo started with his trademark leg kicks early, landing several before the first minute of the fight was up. Hominick returned a few strikes, but had a hard time getting close enough to land anything of consequence. Aldo then used a takedown that Hominick tried to turn into an armbar. Aldo got out of it easily and then used the close proximity to land short strikes. The repeated elbows opened a cut under Hominick's eye. They were stood up by referee John McCarthy with 30 seconds left in the round, only for Aldo to get another takedown.
By the second round, Hominick had a lump on his forehead and a cut under his eye, but still came out with several body shots. Hominick had an easier time landing strikes and avoiding Aldo's. He tagged Aldo with several jabs before Aldo got a takedown. Hominick grabbed onto Aldo's arms to try to force a stand-up, and it worked. Back on their feet, Hominick landed a leg kick but again, Aldo got the takedown.
Between rounds, Hominick's corner told him that Aldo was fading. As the two came out in the third, Aldo was able to land leg kicks, but Hominick was getting the better of striking. He stopped Aldo's takedown attempt and was able to land jabs. A cut underneath Aldo's eye opened as Hominick found his rhythm on his feet.
But that's when Aldo took back the momentum. He tagged Hominick, knocking him to the ground with a right hook followed by a left hook, then followed up with several punches on the ground. Aldo was unable to finish Hominick off, but the damage for the round was done.
Heading into the championship rounds, Hominick's left eye was swollen, and he had a cut under his right. Aldo returned to the leg kick and used it to set up knees and and punches to begin the fourth round. Finally, the leg kicks started to add up, as Hominick began to limp. Though Aldo's foot movement wasn't impressive, his head movement was.� Because of that, he was able to avoid Hominick's strikes.
He knocked Hominick down again, then followed up with another series of ground strikes. Hominick sustained a baseball-sized bump on his head. He struggled underneath Aldo, and was so beat up. Referee John McCarthy stopped the bout to call in a doctor to look at it, but the doctor let the fight continue.
With the short time left in the round, Aldo finished with another takedown. The doctor again checked Hominick between rounds, who gave him a more extensive exam. Again, the fight was allowed to continue.
In the fifth round, Aldo landed another leg strike before Hominick and his head hematoma got a takedown. As a cut on his cheek leaked onto Aldo's face, Hominick was able to land several short punches and elbows. Aldo looked exhausted, but held on until the bell rang.
When the bell rang, Hominick did his trademark push-ups. Aldo looked over and did the same. The two laughed and congratulated each other on the fight. Aldo was impressed by his opponent, calling him a tough fighter.
And that's exactly what Hominick proved himself to be. He didn't come away with the win, but he did earn the respect of every person who watched the bout.
UPDATE: This bout was awarded the Fight of the Night bonus, giving both Aldo and Hominick an extra $129,000.