Well it’s official, the moment all MMA fans have been waiting for. Today Dana White officially announced that the Jose Aldo versus Conor McGregor fight will take place on December 12th in Las Vegas at UFC 194.
It’s no surprise that these two would be facing each other, but until today the location was a bit of a mystery. Many thought that it would be in Dallas at AT&T Stadium, but as Dana White said it will be held in the MGM Grand Arena.
McGregor has opened just shy of a 2-1 favorite, and I cannot begin to tell you how excited I am for this fight. These are two of the best pound for pound fighters in the world going head to head in the fight capital of the world. Fans had expected to these men square off early in July, but a rib injury forced Aldo to pull from the fight. It was a major disappointment considering the hype that the UFC had placed on the would-be bout, including many TV promos and a world tour that saw the two fighters visit 12 cities across the globe.
Over the course of the tour it became abundantly apparent that the two did not get along with one another. There were constant vocal outburst, stare downs, and at one point McGregor went as far as to steal Aldo’s belt off of the press conference table and hold it up to the Dublin crowd.
I doubt will be seeing any type of world media tour again, but I do expect the trash talk to ramp up a couple levels. As I mentioned in a previous post, Conor McGregor is one of modern sports’ best trash talkers. He is absolutely relentless and, so far in his career, he has been able to back up every word.
McGregor is an Irish born fighter who, over the last few years, has completely busted onto the UFC stage. He uses an excellent mix of stand up striking and tremendous footwork to overpower his opponents and finish with fantastic knock outs.
McGregor is 6-0 in the UFC and out of his six wins, five have come from TKO’s, with one decision win against Max Holloway. McGregor has been absolutely dominant, and in fact out of McGregor’s last 14 professional fights he is 14-0, with only five of those fights going past the second round. One of those fights was against featherweight challenger, Chad Mendes.
While Mendes did not win, he did expose a fatal flaw in McGregor’s game. Mendes repeatedly took Conor to the matt and kept him there. Mendes controlled the fight from the top position and landed significant elbow strikes, cutting Mcgregor above his right eye.
Where Mendes went wrong is that he tried to submit McGregor. With only about a minute in the fight Mendes tried to take hold of the neck of McGregor. McGregor was able to slip out and stand the fight back up. After his ground assault, it was apparent that Mendes was gassed and McGregor was able to take advantage. He cracked Mendes with a solid 1-2 combination and finished the fight with just seconds left in the second round.
It was an excellent fight, but what most impressed me was McGregor’s ability to regain his composure. He had been dominated for the majority, but he did not panic. He let the fight come to him, and when he was given the opportunities, he capitalized on them. If Aldo is going to beat McGregor he is going to have to somehow get into McGregor’s head, and more importantly, not let McGregor get into his.
Now, Jose Aldo is not a talker. He likes to let his performances in the Octagon do his speaking for him. Aldo is a Brazilian born fighter who is specialized in Muay Thai. Aldo is the current featherweight champ, who holds a record of 25-1, with seven consecutive title defenses. Aldo is an extremely technical fighter, who tends to favor a fight of attrition, rather than a slug fest. Most of his victories have come from decision, but that is not to say he doesn’t punish his fellow fighters.
Aldo likes to use a variety of strikes, however, he is known most for his brutal leg kicks. (Just ask Uriah Faber.) These kicks leave his opponents immobilized and vulnerable. From there he was one the widest arsenals in MMA to which he can tee off on his opposition. While not recently, Aldo has showed that he is capable of ending fights in spectacular fashion by way of flying knees, superman punches, and terrific head kicks.
Now Aldo too has fought Chad Mendes, twice in fact, and was victorious in both matches. In the first fight, Aldo finished Mendes with a vicious knee with only a second left in the first round. The second bout went the distance in what has been called the greatest feather weight fight of all time. The two traded shot, but Aldo was ultimately victorious after five rounds.
What Aldo did that McGregor could not was that he made sure the fight stayed on the feet. Aldo is the best in the world at stuffing take downs, and in both fights against Mendes, that skill was on display. Mendes, for the most part, was unable to take down Aldo and he paid the price with repeated shots to the legs, head, and body.
What will be interesting about the Aldo v. McGregor fight is that both fighters prefer to have a stand up fight, rather than taking it to the canvas. In this sense I give the advantage to McGregor. McGregor is an extremely skilled stand up fighter and contains power in his fists, the likes of which Jose Aldo has never seen before.
McGregor also is able to strike from a plethora of different angles, which is a major factor when confronting a Muay Thai fighter. Muay Thai is all based around straight lines and placing your opponent in front of you then attacking. McGregor’s’ footwork, along with his long reach, allow him to hit Aldo in places where Aldo cannot strike back.
Now, Aldo’s main advantage against his opponents is that he is able to wear them down, both physically and mentally. He, however, will not be able to do this against McGregor. Sure, Aldo may be able to hurt McGregor, but he will not be able to break him mentally. McGregor’s will is too strong, and has an intangible aspect about him that just makes you believe in his ability. If Aldo is going to win he will have to knock out Conor, and I just don’t for see that happening.
McGregor is unlike any fighter that Jose Aldo has ever seen before, and in many respects, is the exact opposite of Aldo. In my opinion, Aldo will have a difficult time handling McGregor, and if the fight stays on the feet, I predict Conor McGregor to come out with a third round TKO.
By Jake Cianci