If you like your cage-crumpling MMA throw-downs laced with bruised reputations and drizzled in revenge, reserve a spot on the edge of your sofa now!
Just months after octagon icon Jose Aldo was bullied out of his featherweight strap in his Rio backyard by Max Holloway, the two are at it again. Our UFC odds expert Mark Sylvester anticipates fireworks in downtown Detroit at UFC 218.
Jose ‘Scarface’ Aldo must have had Max ‘Blessed’ Holloway in his review mirror for a while, slowly getting closer, and bigger, until finally, the Hawaiian’s juggernaut T-boned him in spectacular style, back in June at UFC 212.
It was a seismic moment for both fighters.
Aldo’s odyssey to rebuild his aura of invincibility after the December 2015 ‘incident’ with Conor McGregor’s fist, took a serious derailing. While Holloway, after years of vaporising every hard man UFC bosses put in his path, finally got his lead-lined fists on gold.
Holloway’s first defence of the featherweight crown should have been against Frankie Edgar, but when ‘The Answer’ was pulled through injury, Aldo leapt like a salmon in spring to seize the chance of some blood-curdling revenge.
To be fair, a rematch between these two terrifying tornados of the featherweight division seems only right after the rumpus in Rio, as steel clashed with steel, and the outcome hung in the balance for three turbo-charged rounds.
On that fiery night, Aldo had climbed into the cage as a clear favourite. Despite the first round starching by McGregor, Scarface was still the cage legend, with a body that should’ve been the target of UN weapons’ inspectors.
His 14 KOs and TKOs from 26 MMA wins are a bone-splintering testimony to Aldo’s ability pull fight finishes from thin air. For opponents, these are the moments when everything stops for a second, and then a breezeblock, shaped like Aldo’s knee lands in their face. Ask Chad Mendes!
But Blessed was not like most of the other fighters!
While Aldo was chalking up nine featherweight title defences on the bounce, in the thousand-watt glare of the UFC spotlight, Holloway was grafting away in the salt mines of MMA, choking out rough-hewn warriors like Cub Swanson, bewildering techno-merchants like Ricardo Lamas, and simply pulverising former champ Anthony Pettis.
— Jose Aldo Junior (@josealdojunior) November 9, 2017
Before Rio, Holloway said he’d been preparing for the fight his whole life. And it showed. After soaking up everything that Aldo could throw at him – which included punches that could jellify bone – the winds of war changed direction.
As Aldo wilted (probably from unleashing a megaton of strikes), Holloway could smell blood in the water. He started to circle and strike until a brutal combo sent Aldo crashing to the canvas.
Scarface slipped all Holloway’s submission attempts, but his battery was spent, defence became a bid to roll into a ball so tight it’d defy the laws of physics, and the challenger’s unrelenting ground ‘n’ pound stuck a fork in affairs.
So, this time round roles are reversed.
Holloway’s the favourite and some fight fans are debating whether to switch off the life-support on Aldo’s career!
And, if you do the math, cross your Ts and dot your Is, that seems sensible. Holloway has shown he has the right ammunition to beat Aldo, and his eight decision wins are proof he’s as durable as the stuff they put on the outside of space shuttles. 33/100 gets you a win by any means for Holloway.
And, if he comes out of the blocks quicker than he did last time he could finish it again.
In Rio, he showed the champ respect, and it was a superhuman effort to weather the storm and get on top. He’ll know Aldo will have shifted his game plan and Holloway will have to throw those forward gears.
If he walks forward from the bell and puts together the dizzying combos he’s capable of, he could get Aldo on the back foot and end it early.
Last time against Holloway Aldo did start strong, but he was still happy to sit in the pocket and trade white-hot exchanges.
Yes, he landed plenty, but so did Holloway.
If he mixes things up, throws in some takedown attempts to blunt Holloway’s attack and remembers his right leg’s not just for standing on, he could really hurt the new champ. Aldo to finish matters is at 6/1.
— UFC (@ufc) November 27, 2017
Holloway’s only been submitted once, back in 2012, but if Aldo does manage to get him back-peddling and finds a decent position, it’s not off the table. Aldo to submit Holloway comes in at 14/1.
Ok, gut, your turn.
Aldo’s lost just three of 29 fights. Two of those defeats have come in his last three outings. Do we really think one of the greatest MMA exponents of all time is going to go 1-3 in his last four fights?!
I don’t think so. Aldo’s seen what Holloway has to offer, and like the octagon ace he is, he’s not going to let it happen again.
Aldo will litter this one with cage smarts and possibly take the decision. Snap it up at 9/2 and watch the legend continue!