For nine years between 2006 and 2015, José Aldo was the Featherweight. Undefeated in those nineteen fights, he wasn’t only cementing his legacy as the best 145lb mixed martial artist of all time, he was making an argument as the greatest pound for pound fighter of all time. As Conor McGregor rose the rankings and got closer to challenging Aldo for the gold, there was talk that the man at the top of the hill could be dethroned. Of course, we know how this story ends: with a 13 second knockout, with José on the losing end.
Conor began taking superfights in other weight classes, and an Interim Featherweight Championship was made by the UFC as to not hold up the division. Aldo won that title, eager to get his rematch with Conor McGregor, but McGregor was then stripped of his belt for moving up a weight class, and Aldo was promoted to Featherweight King once again. When he didn’t defend that title, the UFC once again made an Interim Featherweight Championship, won by Max Holloway…one of the two men who McGregor was unable to knock out in the UFC. Tomorrow, these two will meet in the main event of UFC 212, and it’s one of the best matchups the sport has to offer right now.
UFC Featherweight Championship: José Aldo (C) (-145) vs Max Holloway (IC) (+135)
Right now, I think a lot of casual fans look at these two as nameless fighters McGregor beat. If you’re even slightly a fan of the sport, you would know that’s not the case at all. José Aldo is the greatest Featherweight of all time, and Max Holloway is, in my opinion, the current best Featherweight in the world. Meaning yes, I do think it’s going to be a sad night for Brazil. Holloway pressures and pressures and pressures and throwing long, fast, and hard combinations like nobody else. When I say long, I don’t mean he has a reach advantage, because he doesn’t. He has an advantage in how he uses his reach, however. Many of Aldo’s former opponents have struggled with range, especially when shooting for takedowns, but Max probably won’t be looking for any of those. The key to victory will be maintaining pace, as José has is 7-0 in fights that go into championship rounds.
If José Aldo wants to take Max Holloway down, I’m not sure if he’ll have much difficulty in doing so, and that could be a very legitimate x factor. José has VERY good jiu jitsu and it’s constantly overlooked because of his phenomenal striking. He’s stronger, faster, and more versatile. His signature leg kicks can also affect Max’s footwork to a level he’s never dealt with before, and footwork is something you can’t slip up on against Aldo. And if you’re superstitious, Aldo’s 3-0 in Brazil. He undoubtably has home octagon advantage.
Winner: Max Holloway
Cláudia Gadelha (-325) vs Karolina Kowalkiewicz (+300)
Karolina Kowalkiewicz is maybe my favorite female fighter…
…obviously. I don’t think she’s coming out on top of this one, however, because I think Cláudia Gadelha will be on top of her for the majority of the fight. ( ?° ?? ?°) But seriously, I think Gadelha’s too strong and her wrestling is too good for Karolina to contain it. It’ll be a unanimous decision win there.
Winner: Cláudia Gadelha
P.S. Wanna impress you friends at your fight watch party? Cláudia is pronounced “Claude-ja”. They’ll either think you’re an asshole or be proud of you. Take the risk. Do you.
Vitor Belfort (-160) vs Nate Marquardt (+150)
I’m not really sure who wants to see this fight. We’ve got post TRT Vitor and Nate “Meh” Marquardt, and the appeal is like, “These guys have been fighting for so long that their chins have completely deteriorated so one of them will get knocked out!” I think it’ll be Vitor, and I think he should “retire” from the UFC, pump up those TRT levels, and fight for RIZIN in Japan. They’ll let ya do that shit in Japan. Just ask Donnie, he’s been looking real big recently.
Winner: Nate Marquardt
Other predictions include Paulo Borrachinha (look out for this guy, he’s a fucking monster), Erick Silva, and Marlon Moraes. Should be a pretty decent night of fights, potential for a fight of the year in the main event, and possibly some fireworks on the undercard.