LAS VEGAS -- Jose Aldo's speed outdid Frankie Edgar's inherent toughness Saturday as the Brazilian retained his Ultimate Fighting Championship featherweight belt with a unanimous-decision victory.
Aldo (22-1) leg-kicked Edgar to the canvas in the second round and routinely landed the cleaner punches by smartly positioning himself to avoid Edgar's fiercest pressure.
The judges awarded Aldo victory by scores of 49-46, 49-46 and 48-47.
Edgar (14-4-1), who lost two narrow decisions in both losing and failing to regain his UFC lightweight belt against Benson Henderson last year, was left with a bloody nose and swollen left eye this time while Aldo emerged nearly unmarked.
"A close fight I keep finding myself in these situations," Edgar said. "It don't matter. Jose won."
Aldo's speed advantage in punching and kicking was immediately in play, as he landed the best punches in the opening round.
Aldo went to whipping Edgar's left leg with right kicks in the second, knocking Edgar to the canvas with one of the blows and wobbling him on two other occasions.
Aldo said he later opted to minimize the kicks due to the respect he had for Edgar's takedown ability. Aldo agreed it was one of his most difficult tests.
"I knew I had to work — step by step, round by round," Aldo said through an interpreter.
In the third, Aldo landed a right kick to Edgar's chin and the challenger's nose began bleeding visibly. Always game, Edgar hit Aldo with a good right uppercut in the third, but he also fell after shooting for a takedown and took a clean Aldo left to the face.
Earlier, heavyweight Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva stunningly stopped Alistair Overeem from gaining a title shot, delivering a massive attack of right hands at the start of the third round to produce an upset victory by technical knockout.
The result clouds who will earn a fight against UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez, who watched the result at Mandalay Bay Events Center.
Overeem, returning from a 13-month absence after testing positive for synthetic testosterone last year, was in line to land that bout after destroying Brock Lesnar in his most recent fight.
Silva (18-4), a near 4-1 underdog, lumbered through the night's first two rounds, Overeem smirking in confidence as he pressed the action with knees and rights in the first round.
In the second, Overeem (36-12) took Silva to the mat and pelted him with a combination to the head and punches to the side.
Yet, Silva charged in the third, ending the fight in 25 seconds by blasting Overeem with a right to the jaw, another right that sent Overeem's head rocking backward to a padded post.
Veteran light-heavyweight Antonio Rogerio Nogueira improved his title aspirations by out-punching former champion Rashad Evans (22-3-1) and winning a unanimous decision.