Ever since the match up was announced the question has been on the hearts and minds of avid MMA fans: could Max Holloway defeat Jose Aldo? The answer as of now is that there’s no way to be sure. What’s alarming to me however is that many are suggesting that Jose Aldo is over the hill, that he doesn’t have it anymore, something that is clearly the furthest from the truth. The performance Jose Aldo put on against Frankie Edgar was a true work of art and should have at least informed fans of his incredible capabilities that he still possesses. Nevertheless, people just want to see new blood come in and do work and that’s what they’re hoping to see with Max Holloway.
Jose Aldo is a mutant, and I say that with all due respect. The man can simply do things others can not. The way he was able to shut down Frankie Edgar’s wrestling game was alarming to say the least. But the fact that Conor McGregor was able to knockout Aldo in just thirteen seconds has remained on the minds of many fans. The defeat was certainly crushing to say the least, but Aldo once again proved he’s a force to be reckoned with when he was able to touch up Edgar with ease. On display was Aldo’s usual athleticism and speed. He’ll need all of that plus reaction time in order to thwart Holloway. His jab and leg kicks will be big weapons to ensure that happens.
But a striking battle is exactly what Max Holloway wants. To give it to him would simply make things easier for the interim champion and take away some of Jose Aldo’s biggest tools. While defensive wrestling has carried him throughout his career, Jose Aldo also possesses some sick offensive wrestling abilities. Because of his shorter size and immense speed, Jose Aldo can get in on Holloway’s hips rather quickly and take things to the mat if necessary. The danger here is that Holloway is savvy and will be waiting to unleash knees and uppercuts when he notices the level change. As such, Aldo will need to wrestle during transitions. He’ll have to get into the pocket, exchange punches with Holloway and shoot for takedowns. As an adept counter striker, Aldo could also lure Holloway forward and hit a reactive takedown when the interim champ goes for longer combo strings.
Max Holloway has been nothing short of impressive in collecting ten straight victories in the octagon. With ever outing we see improvement from the Hawaiian scrapper as he polishes off opponents with beautiful striking combinations. In defeating former lightweight champion Anthony Pettis in what was predominantly a striking battle, Holloway showed his ability to take on a high level striker using a variety of different techniques. His range of strikes vary immensely, switching stances in the middle of combinations.
What Max Holloway should do in this fight is twofold. For one, he should keep Aldo on the end of his strikes at distance, using a jab in the orthodox stance and long left straights in the southpaw stance. Second, he needs to be first. If he allows Aldo to dictate the pace he could find himself playing catch up. Aldo’s speed is no joke and he’ll need to be first each and every time to shut down that swiftness. Body work also should be a priority as those who tend to headhunt against Aldo end up getting countered. The body work will also pay dividends later in the fight when Aldo begins to slow down.
Who will leave the UFC 212 as the featherweight king?