Posted: Tue January 28, 2014 8:06PM; Updated: Wed January 29, 2014 6:19PM
Jeff Wagenheim
Jeff Wagenheim>INSIDE MMA

Crash Course: José Aldo vs. Ricardo Lamas

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José Aldo has not lost during the past eight years, a remarkable string of 16 consecutive victories.
José Aldo has not lost during the past eight years, a remarkable string of 16 consecutive victories.
Eric Jamison/AP

In the week leading up to every UFC championship bout, SI.com presents a crash course on the big fight. UFC 169, which takes place on Saturday, will feature two title tilts. Later this week we'll preview the main event, in which Renan Barão defends his newly awarded bantamweight championship against Urijah Faber. For today, here's a guide to the co-main event.

Overview

Anderson Silva lives. Just in a Mini-Me size.

The longtime pound-for-pound king of mixed martial arts, Silva has been knocked down a few pegs by a pair of losses to Chris Weidman. And as he nurses his broken leg and contemplates a return to the octagon to try to seize back the UFC middleweight championship he owned for nearly seven years, the Brazilian marvel can sit back and watch a young countryman do what he did for so long. Namely, look unstoppable.

José Aldo has been a relentless winner for a long time, too. Over the last eight years, he's been victorious in 16 straight fights, the same streak Silva once had.

When Aldo meets Ricardo Lamas at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., on Saturday (10 p.m. ET, PPV), it will be Aldo's seventh defense of the featherweight belt he was awarded in 2011 after the UFC absorbed the 145-pound division from its corporate cousin, the WEC, where the Brazilian had reigned for nearly a year and a half. The fight is the co-main event of UFC 169, headlined by another title bout, in which Renan Barão -- Aldo's training partner on Rio de Janeiro's vaunted Nova União fight team -- defends his bantamweight belt against Urijah Faber.

The 27-year-old Aldo (23-1, 5-0 in the UFC) burst onto the American MMA scene in 2008, winning his first six WEC bouts by knockout, the last of them earning him the brass-and-leather strap that to that point had been worn by Mike Brown. Since then he's defended it against a line of luminaries that includes Faber, Kenny Florian, Chad Mendes, and former lightweight champ Frankie Edgar. Aldo stands at No. 2 in both the SI.com and official media-voted UFC pound-for-pound fighter rankings, behind only light heavyweight champ Jon Jones.

Lamas (13-2, 4-0 UFC), No. 4 on the SI.com featherweight list and the No. 2 contender in the UFC rankings, earned this title shot on the strength of consecutive victories over top-shelf guys Cub Swanson, Hatsu Hioki and Erik Koch. The 31-year-old Chicagoan, a Division III wrestling All-American, was an underdog each time, yet he submitted Swanson, KO'd Koch and earned a unanimous decision over Hioki. For a fighter who doesn't talk about himself very much, that's called making a statement.

In addition to the pay-per-view telecast of the five-fight main card, four prelims will be shown on Fox Sports 1 (8 p.m. ET) and the card's other three bouts will stream on the UFC Fight Pass digital subscription service (6:30 p.m.).

Background

Lamas has been orbiting the championship world for a little over a year.

In late 2012 he was expected to fight Edgar, but because of a training-camp injury to Aldo's scheduled opponent, the former 155-pound belt holder was pulled away from Lamas and put in the cage with the champ for the title.

Déjà vu struck last summer, when Lamas was scheduled to fight Chan Sung Jung but the Korean dynamo also ended up being yanked from that bout and inserted in a championship fight with Aldo. Like Edgar, "The Korean Zombie" did not fare very well.

Now it's Lamas' turn.

Last Five Fights

Aldo

8/3/13 Chan Sung Jung W TKO 4

2/2/13 Frankie Edgar W UD 5

1/14/12 Chad Mendes W KO 1

10/8/11 Kenny Florian W UD 5

4/30/11 Mark Hominick W UD 5

Lamas

1/26/13 Erik Koch W TKO 2

6/22/12 Hatsu Hioki W UD 3

11/12/11 Cub Swanson W Sub 2

6/26/11 Matt Grice W TKO 1

12/16/10 Yuri Alcantara L KO 1

 
Tale of the Tape
Aldo
vs.
Lamas
Sept. 9, 1986
Birth Date
May 21, 1982
Manaus, Brazil
Birthplace
Chicago, Ill.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Residence
Miami, Fla.
23-1
Record
13-2
145*
Weight
145*
5'7"
Height
5'8"
70"
Reach
70"
* Official weights announced at the weigh-in (Friday, 4 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1)

Other Numbers To Count On

19:24: Average fight time, in minutes, for Aldo, second longest in the UFC behind only Benson Henderson. (All statistics by Fight Metric.)

89.7: Percentage of opponents' takedown attempts that Aldo has fended off, fourth best in UFC history.

72.1: Percentage of opponents' significant strikes that Aldo has eluded, sixth best in UFC history.

Greatest Hits

Aldo was already UFC champion when he made his octagon debut against Mark Hominick.

Lamas secured his status as a top contender by beating Cub Swanson (Audio in Spanish).

Matchup

Aldo can be beaten in the later rounds. That's the book on him. Of course, no one has ever opened that book and successfully turned to the page that reads, "And new UFC featherweight champion ...!"

The thinking, though, is that if you can hang in there through the Brazilian buzzsaw's early-fight fury, you have a chance to take charge of the bout as Aldo fades over time. We've seen evidence of Aldo slowing and a challenger -- Edgar, Florian and Mark Hominick, to name a few -- making a run at him. Problem is, in all of those fights Aldo had already built a lead that proved to be insurmountable.

So Lamas' best chance here is to utilize a fast pace right from the start to have a twofold effect: Keeping the fight competitive in the eyes of the judges, maybe winning an early round, and pushing Aldo to work hard with no break in an effort to tire out the champ.

The Odds

Aldo is the heavy favorite at all sports books checked, with his money line ranging from -576 (bet $100 to win $17.36) to -667 (bet $100 to win $14.99). The lines on Lamas range from +400 (bet $100 to win $400) to +480 (bet $100 to win $480).

Prediction

How do you pick against Aldo? When a man wins 16 straight fights, you can only assume he's damn good. Lamas is an aggressive fighter, but Aldo feasts on those guys. His defense is impenetrable -- he's difficult to find with your standup strikes, near impossible to take to the canvas -- and his own attacks and counterattacks will drain the life out of you. As they eventually will to Lamas. Aldo by KO

Must-See Photo

José Aldo was engulfed by the crowd in Rio de Janeiro after he defeated Chad Mendes in 2012.
José Aldo was engulfed by the crowd in Rio de Janeiro after he defeated Chad Mendes in 2012.
Ricardo Moraes/Reuters

Fighting Words

"Ricardo Lamas' main asset is his heart. Even though we respect each other outside the cage, when we are in there, I'm going to show my game. And that's how I win my fights."

--José Aldo on the Countdown to UFC 169 preview program on Fox

"A lot of people go into the fight already mentally defeated, before they step into the octagon with him. It's not going to be like that for me. I'm very strong mentally, physically. I'm going to go in there and not be intimidated by his name ... It's realizing he's a man just like anyone else. He puts pants on one leg at a time, I think. Unless he has some mutant powers that I'm not aware of, whenever you step in there with another man, it's an even match. Anybody can beat anybody on any given day."

--Ricardo Lamas, speaking with reporters prior to last Saturday's fights in Chicago

The Tweet Beat

Join the conversation about Aldo vs. Lamas on Twitter. Track the hashtags #AldoLamas and #UFC169 to see who's tweeting what about Saturday's fight.

@josealdojunior (José Aldo, champion)

@dedepederneiras (Andre Pederneiras, Aldo's coach)

@ricardolamasMMA (Ricardo Lamas, challenger)

@MMA_Masters (MMA Masters, Lamas' team)

@ufc (Ultimate Fighting Championship)

@danawhite (UFC president Dana White)

@jeffwagenheim (SI.com's Jeff Wagenheim)

@lorettahuntmma (SI.com's Loretta Hunt)

@MelissaSeguraSI (SI.com's Melissa Segura)

@chuckmindenhall (Chuck Mindenhall, MMAfighting.com writer)

@arielhelwani (Ariel Helwani, Fox Sports 1/MMAfighting.com interviewer)

@LukeThomasMMA (Luke Thomas, MMAfighting.com writer)

@MikeChiappetta (Mike Chiappetta, FoxSports.com MMA writer)

@benfowlkesMMA (Ben Fowlkes, USA Today/MMAjunkie.com writer)

@kevini (Kevin Iole, Yahoo! Sports MMA/boxing writer)

@bokamotoESPN (Brett Okamoto, ESPN.com MMA writer)

@davedoylemma (Dave Doyle, MMAfighting.com writer)

@MMAjunkiejohn (John Morgan, USA Today/MMAjunkie.com writer)

The Rest Of The Card

· Renan Barão vs. Urijah Faber, for UFC bantamweight championship (Main event)

· Frank Mir vs. Alistair Overeem, heavyweight

· John Lineker vs. Ali Bagautinov, flyweight

· Jamie Varner vs. Abel Trujillo, lightweight

· Preliminary card (8 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1): John Makdessi vs. Alan Patrick, lightweight; Chris Cariaso vs. Danny Martinez, flyweight; Nick Catone vs. Tom Watson, middleweight; Al Iaquinta vs. Kevin Lee, lightweight.

· Online prelims (6:30 p.m. ET, UFC Fight Pass): Clint Hester vs. Andy Enz, middleweight; Tony Martin vs. Rashid Magomedov, lightweight; Neil Magny vs. Gasan Umalatov, welterweight.

Programming Notes

Mike Goldberg will handle blow-by-blow and Joe Rogan analysis for the main-card telecast on pay-per-view as well as prelims on Fox Sports 1 and the UFC Fight Pass. An hour-long postfight show begins at 2 a.m. ET on Fox Sports 1.

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