Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Max Holloway and Jose Aldo feather kickboxers will clash this NIGHT (Saturday, December 2, 2017) at UFC 218 within Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Michigan.
Holloway has achieved incredible things in recent years. An 11-fight winning streak on its own is fantastic, but Holloway knocked down half of the division's top contenders and the champion in the final stretch of that race. Now, he seeks to defend his title officially for the first time. Even with the extent of Holloway's greatness and the loss of Conor McGregor in his record, Aldo remains strong as the best featherweight in MMA history. He accepted this rematch with a short notice time and stacked the odds against himself, but Aldo was more than motivated by a shot to claim his belt.
Let's look at the keys to victory for each man:
Record : 18-3
Key victories : Jose Aldo (UFC 212), Anthony Pettis (UFC 206), Ricardo Lamas (UFC 199), Cub Swanson (UFC on FOX 15), Jeremy Stephens (UFC 194)
Key losses : Conor McGregor (UFC Fight Night 26), Dennis Bermudez (UFC 160) )
Keys to Victory : Holloway is one of the main premieres of the sport – revolutionized strikers. Starting from solid fundamentals, Holloway uses many kickboxing tricks by shifting from stance to half combination, suddenly shifting his weight to a new angle or exploding into a flying technique.
The video above explains how Holloway adjusted his stance to deal with Aldo's low kicking skill the last time, and there's no reason for the Hawaiian to deviate from what already worked.
Ultimately, it's up to Aldo to change the game. For Holloway, his combination of pressure and intelligent boxing significantly reduced Aldo. Much of the fight was competitive, but once Aldo's defense was a little less sharp, Holloway connected cleanly and finished the fight.
One of the most important things Holloway did in the first fight was to try at least one advanced Aldo counterattack. He did not land every time, but he stayed in exchanges and taxing even more the conditioning of Aldo.
It worked once, and it is likely to work a second time.
Record : 26-3
Key victories : Chad Mendes (UFC 179, UFC 142), Frankie Edgar (UFC 200, UFC 156), Ricardo Lamas (UFC 169) )
Key Losses : Jose Aldo (UFC 212), Conor McGregor (UFC 194)
Keys to Victory : Aldo is one of the best Muay Thai forwards in UFC history. He has focused more on his boxing recently, but at his best, Aldo uses short combinations to establish devastating kicks that can quickly cripple his opponent. For years, Aldo dominated the competition by being a brutal kickboxer that is almost impossible to knock down.
The conclusion is that Aldo could not kick effectively the last time. Whether it's Holloway's posture, an injury or both, no one can guess, but Aldo was stuck in a long-limbed enemy with a higher work rate.
Whatever happens tonight, Aldo can not allow Holloway to defeat him in the same way. If you have to risk eating a right backlash to throw a low shot, that could be fair compensation.
However, that might not be the case. In the first match, Aldo had some moments in which his punches put Holloway on the defensive, which is the ideal moment to throw low. If the low kick is not landing too early, I would also like to see Aldo throw more kicks to the body and head, which should help interrupt the pace of his enemy.
Conclusion: This is a vital fight in both men's races.
For Holloway, it is the true beginning of his legacy as a champion. Surprising winning streak aside, the champions defending their belts are those who are remembered. Defeating Aldo a second time, and becoming the only man to achieve that feat in the process, would be a great statement for his first defense.
A defeat is a setback, but it establishes a trilogy game.
There's a lot at stake for Holloway, but this is an absolute fight for "Scarface." If Aldo suffers a second consecutive loss, it may be his final fight for the UFC title. At least, a significant streak will be needed to get it back into the mix.
The victory would be huge for Aldo. Rematches rarely serve the older man well in combat sports, particularly if the younger fighter won the initial fight. Becoming a three-time UFC champion is a pretty unique achievement, and doing it as a mbadive underdog makes it much better.
Tonight at UFC 218, Max Holloway and Jose Aldo will face each other for the second time. What man will go with the belt?