Detroit is getting a good one, since the Octagon takes up residence in the Motor City for UFC 218 on December 2. The most important event is a rematch between featherweight champion Max Holloway and Jose Aldo, who owned the branch for nearly a decade.
But this card is much more than just the main event. The PPV part of the card also features a banger of a heavyweight fight between Alistair Overeem and Francis Ngannou, in addition to a bout between Justin Gaethje and Eddie Alvarez to ascertain who’s the most barbarous fighter in the company.
Max Holloway vs Jose Aldo
Max Holloway (-300) has a game program built on excellent fundamentals and footwork. “Blessed” is constantly angling and moving his feet to find the very best chance to strike, working a pressure-based style. That having been said, Holloway is also plenty capable of using his height and reach advantage that he typically holds to stick-and-move. The Hawaiian enjoys bullying his competitor against the cage where he can place his feet and toss wicked combinations.
Grappling isn’t something that Holloway partakes in voluntarily and his amazing takedown defense — he hasn’t yet been taken down in his previous eight fights — means his resistance rarely has the chance to. His size generally leads to Holloway having a massive leverage advantage if the fight goes into the clinch, which allows him to break easily and get back into area.
Jose Aldo’s (+230) game is built around defense and time. Though that does not sound the sexiest, it’s enabled”Scarface” to methodically dismantle nearly every opponent in his way. He’s more of a counter-striker who will wait on his opponent to commit before angling off, with some of the best footwork in MMA, to land an stinging punch or signature reduced kick. But this didn’t happen in the first fight. Aldo ended up throwing first — and leaving himself open — rather than throwing leg kicks, which was a huge issue.
In terms of grappling, it’s largely utilized medicinally for Aldo. The Brazilian has some of their best defensive wrestling ever seen in MMA and, on the rare occasion if he can get taken down, he’s got the grappling capability to create a scramble and get back to his feet. Although he rarely uses it , Aldo is a solid wrestler in his own right. Again, he unites great technical abilities with his incredible timing to explode into takedowns. Once on top, Aldo’s seldom seen BJJ black belt takes over and he moves with ease.
I simply don’t think much has changed since the very first fight. Holloway will enter confident and will nevertheless have a decided advantage in terms of size. If Aldo is more patient and gets back to his leg-kicking manners, then this may be a tight struggle. However, I don’t think there is an obvious route to success for Aldo.
Prediction: Max Holloway (-300)
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