Jose Aldo vs Connor McGregor | Sunday 13 December | MGM Grand | 04:00
The UFC will close out its 2015 pay-per-view campaign with one of the biggest fight’s in the organisation’s history when Jose Aldo looks to defend his UFC Featherweight Championship against the abrasive and oft-exasperating Conor McGregor.
Fight fans around the world are licking their lips at the prospect of seeing two of the most aggressive and practised fighters that the sport has ever seen go head to head – especially after their first bout was scrapped at two week’s notice in July after the Brazilian picked up a rib injury.
To Win Fight
Jose Aldo 11/10
Connor McGregor 7/10
The UFC has never known any other Featherweight Champion other than Aldo. The Brazilian has been wholly dominant since the weight division’s 2011 induction, sweeping aside all challengers who’ve dared threaten his belt.
The Manuas native is renowned for his ability to land devastating kicks and knees to his opponents, perhaps more impressive, however, is the dexterity and deftness in which he sets these blows up. Using feints and punches to work openings, the Brazilian masterfully delivers his kicks with pinpoint accuracy and shattering power.
An accomplished counter-puncher, Aldo will relish going up against the aggressive Irish striker. It’s not uncommon for McGregor to throw more than 50 punches in a round. If he approaches the bout with Aldo a flagrantly as he’s approached his other opponents, he could very well find himself on the wrong end of a hiding.
Aldo boasts an unenviable record when it comes to professional bouts, winning 25 of his 26 fights - his only loss coming 2005 against Luciano Azevedo. On that evening, his countryman secured the win with a rear-naked chokehold on a humid night near in the Amazonion city of Manaus.
Since then, however, Aldo has been the utterly dominant featherweight force in both the World Extreme Cagefighting and the Ultimate Fighting Championship winning his subsequent 17 fights.
Make no mistake, Conor McGregor is a great fighter who possesses enough tenacity to beat a tank into submission, however; he’s never had to face up to someone like Aldo before.
McGregor’s real strength lies in is ability to obliterate opponents with a single well-placed punch. What will worry Aldo, is the deftness at which he manoeuvres into position. The Irishman effortlessly slides into position before unleashing his famed left straight with devastating effect.
He’s most effective when able to bully his opponents, breaking through their guards at will to land his shots. Whether or not he’s going to be able to accomplish this against Aldo on Saturday is a different story. While McGregor does possess greater punching power, Aldo is definitely is better all-round mixed martial artist.
With that being said, it just takes one of the hundreds of punches that McGregor will throw to drop Aldo. If he manages to stagger the reigning champion, he has all of the tools necessary to bring the bout to a swift and bloody end via a TKO.
It there is one perceived weakness to McGregor’s fighting style, it’s his inability to mix it up on the mat. In fact, his only two professional losses have come via submissions, once in 2008 and the next time in 2010. These both came early in his career when he was still fighting in Ireland, and since then, has managed to improve his ground game. Still, he’ll be hoping that Aldo doesn’t look to turn the bout into a wrestling match.
Verdict: Jose Aldo 11/10
For all of the noise McGregor makes, he’s never really fought anyone with the all-round craft and skill of Aldo. The Brazilian is cool, calm and measured and will likely look to counter-punch. If he’s on form, Aldo should have few problems finding chances to counter-punch against the belligerent Irishman.
Should McGregor inexplicably try and fight from a distance, Aldo will have little trouble landing kicks to the Irishman’s legs and body. And there’s only ever going to be one winner if this fight goes to the ground. Back the Brazilian to get the job done against his trash-talking opponent.