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Video: Free Fight – Jose Aldo vs. Chad Mendes II
At UFC 212, UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo will face interim champion Max Holloway to unify the promotion’s 145-pound title.
For some time, the division has been in need of clarification, particularly after Conor McGregor’s featherweight title was taken from the Irishman and awarded to Aldo — the man he originally defeated for the belt.
Now though, Aldo and Holloway both have an opportunity to re-affirm their stamp on the division, and prove to fans that they are the new kings at 145.
In anticipation, the UFC are releasing the two main eventer’s best fights, and of course with that comes Aldo vs. Chad Mendes II, one of the best featherweight title fights of all time.
Why José Aldo Is One Of The Best Fighters In The World
José Aldo is the current UFC featherweight champion and ranked #4 in the UFC’s ‘pound-for-pound’ rankings, but it can be argued that he has lost his aura of invincibility and is now ignored in debates regarding the best fighters in the world. This is mainly due to the tsunami Conor McGregor imposed on the featherweight division.
After ruling the WEC featherweight division and receiving promotion to the UFC featherweight title, Aldo stepped inside the octagon for his debut against Mark Hominick and won by a unanimous decision, solidifying himself as the king of the new UFC featherweight division. He then went on to win seven fights in a row, slaying contender after contender and cleaning out the division. The conviction in which he picked off the best featherweights in the world was captivating and despite several bouts that went the distance, this is a fighter that goes out to finish and inflict as much damage as possible. Combining his devastating Muay Thai and effective takedown means we’ve hardly been able to witness his skills as a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
Chad Mendes and Frankie Edgar, two of the best featherweights of all-time, got two shots each at taking on the Brazilian but were still unable to enforce any of their strengths. Aldo simply made a talent-enriched division look average, but this all changed when a not-so shy and understated Irishman stepped onto the scene.
Brutal – Left hook against Mendes Spectacular – Superman punch off the cage against Edgar
It took McGregor just over two years to storm into the UFC and walk away with Aldo’s belt, setting out his intentions from the very beginning. Aldo had never come across any opponent like McGregor before. He was cocky, brash, invasive, and he was determined to unsettle Aldo mentally and get personal before they met in the cage. After an injury setback pulling him out of the UFC 189 card against McGregor and a tiring world promotional tour leading up to UFC 194, they eventually met in December 2015.
Punished – McGregor’s title-winning counter
This was by far the most emotional Aldo had ever been going into a fight, which may have been his downfall as the fight only lasted 13 seconds. McGregor countered Aldo’s early attack with a left hand that landed clean on the jaw. The Aldo-McGregor chapter was over, and the McGregor hype train sped up and many wrote off the Brazilian. The fight could not have ended more convincingly but this was 13 seconds, one mistake and a mistake he will learn from. Every fighter makes mistakes but due to the stage, the timing and the build-up, Aldo received the greatest punishment.
At the lowest point of his career with the doubters and critics in full force, he bounced back in his next fight, outclassing the future ‘Hall of Famer’ Frankie Edgar in their rematch, proving his championship calibre. He showed he is still at the top of his game, and this was arguably the most impressive performance of his career. To back this up, we have gathered the stats to illustrate his superiority. Firstly, we have compared his numbers with the top eight ranked fighters of the featherweight division, to provide a current analysis:
With only two losses in 28 fights, Aldo’s win percentage is unmatched, but what makes this more impressive is the fact that the majority of his opponents were all top contenders, with an even higher percentage in the WEC/UFC. He has several wins against top 10 ranked opponents, and due to his success he has remained in the top five for nearly eight years. It is also important to mention the amount of title fights, as it is much harder to defend a belt than win one, and to do it repetitively for six years is a remarkable achievement that has rarely been matched in UFC history.
Now let’s compare these stats to the UFC’s top ranked fighters:
Although the fighters with a higher win percentage - Joanna Jedrzejczyk (14), Cody Garbrandt (11) and Daniel Cormier (20) - have had less fights, they boast an incredible percentage and if they maintain it with more title defences, they will be worthy greats of the sport. However, the only fighter with as many title fights as Aldo is Demetrious Johnson, who has a lower win percentage of 90%. Johnson matches Aldo for number of wins against top 10 opponents, with Dominick Cruz the only fighter to spend more time ranked in the top five of his division.
So these stats are very flattering for Aldo, even when compared to the ‘pound-for-pound’ best fighters in the UFC. Now let’s take a look at how Aldo has fared inside the octagon in terms of the key striking and grappling stats:
Fight stats obtained via FightMetric.
Fighters have different strengths with a varied number of fights for the UFC so we cannot read too much into the specific numbers, but it is still a great insight into how Aldo compares with the best fighters. For example, Aldo relies heavily on his stand up, so his ‘takedowns defended’ percentage is a great indicator of his skill level. On the other hand, he rarely initiates a takedown so his ‘takedown accuracy’ is not an important part of his game.
Nevertheless, Aldo consistently comes out at the top of the rankings, proving that nobody should be sleeping on him. The next step for him is another tremendously difficult title defence against another hungry fighter in his prime, Max Holloway, and if he comes through with a win, don’t be surprised if he moves up to lightweight on a quest of vengeance to meet McGregor.
Hometown hero: Aldo celebrating a win over Mendes
1. Jose – gone in 60 seconds?
John Kavanagh not only teaches Conor McGregor but learns from him too. His gut feeling that the fight could be over within a minute is a call to roll up, roll up and witness the greatest show the world has ever seen.
McGregor is an expert in the philosophy that has driven prizefighting from the very beginning and has shown what’s possible with elegant knockout power and unbridled backchat. But he seems bored to have solved the money-making equation so easily and is poring over new formulas that many believe are simply illusory. He wants to revolutionise our understanding of the mixed martial arts cosmos. He’s claiming he’s not a company man. He is the company. And his next UFC contract? He says it will have a one, followed by eight zeros. Predictions are blinding flashes of insight if they are made flesh and McGregor’s have been eerily accurate so far. This time he’s going for four minutes. Less audacious than coach Kavanagh.
But still. This weekend in Las Vegas, he is fighting a man who was once a boy in a favela; who as a teenager seeking some semblance of a future left Manaus for Rio and slept on a gym floor; who believes there’s something sleeping inside him – a dragon that breathes fire when awoken; who has not lost in the octagon since he was 18; whose right leg opponents describe as a baseball bat; who is the only undisputed featherweight champion in UFC history, with seven title defences; who, according to T-shirts in Brazil, detonates in the cage; and who is ranked number one in the promotion’s pound-for-pound rankings.
So, 60 seconds or four minutes? The Dubliner boasts bulletproof conviction and a famous left hand, but any class of victory will suffice or that paradigm shift will be interstellar dust. And in the interests of accuracy, Kavanagh did hedge his bets by mentioning the second round. You get the feeling he believes that one.
2. Stance battle: the southpaw advantage
Jose Aldo has faced only one southpaw, Kenny Florian, in his last 11 fights. Florian was a tactically astute fighter but was overmatched in a stand-up battle and the conclusion was foregone when he was unable to initiate grappling exchanges with Aldo. This time Aldo faces McGregor, whose striking is top of the food chain.
While there is no theoretical reason left-handed fighters should have an advantage facing their opposites, reality tells a different story. Southpaws spend their lives fighting right-handed opponents and an open-stance match-up is their default setting. For an orthodox fighter, it’s goodbye familiarity. For an orthodox fighter, whose lead lefts are his offensive bedrock, confronting a lead right can feel as disorienting as reading a clock through a mirror. As analyst Conor Ruebusch has pointed out, the danger is that they start fighting in a completely different way.
Aldo’s lead lefts, including his jab, are viciously potent, but what normally is a clear route to the opponent’s face will be obstructed by McGregor’s outstretched right hand, pawing, measuring, nullifying, as the Irishman pushes forward and seeks to put his opponent’s back to the cage. Aldo may feel like the brainbox in primary school who one day finds himself sharing a small desk with a leftie, who writes with his elbow sticking out. But as one of the most adaptable fighters in MMA, he is unlikely to be slow in passing a message across the desk.
3. There, not there: distance management
It was McGregor’s precise ability to manipulate distance that most impressed Denis Siver last January. McGregor’s adversaries generally seek to circle left, away from that pulverising left hand; being on the back foot has never ended well, however.
McGregor supplements the reach advantage he brings into every featherweight fight with a wide unorthodox stance, his lead leg stretched forward and head far away. The stance can trick opponent’s into believing they are safe from harm before McGregor’s beautifully clean straight left, carrying all his body weight, violently reveals the deception.
Opponents know that being forced backwards by McGregor is a precursor of doom but what offers little choice is the pressure being exerted; mental and physical pressure based on cage-cutting footwork, beguiling movement and the sheer volume of his strikes. Analyst Robin Black put it best in his breakdown of the fight: “McGregor is the master of the flimflam and in this he is a category of one. The flimflam is a unique blend of alpha posture, broken rhythms and a steady stream of kick traffic to overload your CPU. When you retreat, he gets that left hand ringing.”
So the million-dollar question: how to not retreat? One option is to chop McGregor’s legs with kicks. Another is to wrestle him as Chad Mendes managed in July. Is wrestling really McGregor’s kryptonite? The small sample size prohibits a definitive conclusion, though many are highlighting top control as one of the keys to an Aldo victory.
A third way is to stand and bang in the pocket. That’s easier said than done. Manny Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach has said that in his experience the aspect of boxing MMA athletes find hardest to learn is closing the distance, “getting them to be more comfortable closer to their opponent”. The pocket is the mouth of the volcano. But Aldo has a high tolerance for heat. His footwork is beautifully clean and efficient. His ability to pivot and cut tight angles helps him fire off nasty counter strikes.
Aldo, who is regarded by analyst Patrick Wyman as the best defensive fighter ever in MMA, has never been outmanoeuvred in the octagon. He has never lacked an answer and should he avoid stumbling when McGregor is the interrogator, Wyman believes he will establish his legacy as one of the two or three greatest fighters of all time.
4. I can go all night, Joe: Can McGregor’s pace exhaust Aldo
Diego Brandao couldn’t stop bouncing nor Chad Mendes pacing. As Dustin Poirier waited for the cage door to close, the look of contempt on his face was unwashable. And when the bell rang, Marcus Brimage charged forward with rank indiscipline and was KO’d by backfoot uppercuts within 67 seconds. All were McGregor’s victims, both psychologically and physically.
Writing in The Irish Times recently, Sonia O’Sullivan explained what it takes to be a successful athlete. “There are a number of factors involved: talent is a good starting point, dedication and a good work ethic also help, but the ability to relax is perhaps the most underrated factor of all.”Despite commanding the world’s attention as MMA’s most outrageous heel, McGregor’s most precious gift is being able to relax when it’s time to go to work. While there’s nothing deceptive about the power of Aldo or Mendes – both are muscular and stupendously fast and explosive –- McGregor’s power almost registers as shock on his opponents’ faces. His movement is long and languid. He’s not supposed to hit like a truck. However, he not only possesses a power advantage over his rivals; his striking volume is unprecedented and it is the economy and smoothness of his movement – his ability to stay relaxed – that allow him to work so fast and not seem tired.
Against Siver, in a bout that lasted just under seven minutes, McGregor threw 119 significant strikes. Against Mendes, despite spending almost four minutes of the second round on his back, he threw 92. Conversely, in 25 minutes against Ricardo Lamas, Aldo threw 119 significant strikes; and in 22 minutes against Chan Sung Jung he threw only 87, the same number McGregor fired off in one round against Max Holloway.
One of the criticisms aimed at the Brazilian is that he is susceptible to gassing early and coasts when he can. He certainly loves to coast, which helps explain both his durability as a champion and his failure to capture the public’s imagination. But is it true he is vulnerable to running out of puff?
In 2014’s fight of the year, Mendes was determined to test that stamina. From the first bell he pushed Aldo as Aldo had never been pushed before and that first round became one of the greatest stanzas in MMA history, as Mendes brought fire and found an inferno. Good morning, dragon.
In the third round Mendes landed a devastating left uppercut and two left hooks. Time almost stood still after the first blow as Aldo stared at Mendes and shook his head clear like an astonished Elmer Fudd. It was the two hooks that sent him reeling. The end of the fight seemed nigh. However, it was just then, when he was most damaged, that he proved most dangerous. Seconds later it was Mendes who was on the canvas trying to survive. Aldo threw 269 significant strikes over the course of five rounds and went on to retain his belt for a seventh time, with a dapper McGregor ringside. After such a war, the question ‘did he look tired?’ seems silly. Of course he did. But he looked slightly less worn out than Mendes, whose squat muscular frame is built for 100 metres and not the marathon.
The true test will come when he meets a man who infuriates him. Will Aldo become snared in his own emotion and drift from his gameplan? Or will it drive him to unprecedented heights?
McGregor, who has promised “a masterpiece”, may adopt a similar strategy to July, when he winded Mendes with repeated kicks to the midsection. What he also did in that fight was prove that he loves the smell of napalm in the morning as he walked through bombs from the Californian and smiled. It’s inevitable McGregor will move relentlessly forward against a man who doesn’t know the meaning of the phrase backward step and whose counter punching is ferocious. What’s not, is the outcome.
“I don’t predict fights,” said UFC president Dana White, “but I predict this: the first round of Aldo-McGregor will be one of the sickest first rounds of any fight you’ve ever seen.”
5. Say hello to my little friend: Aldo’s kicks
The best piece of journalism in the build-up to UFC 194 was written by Shaun Al-Shatti. It is not for the faint-hearted. Al-Shatti spoke to the majority of Aldo’s previous opponents and the main topic was the Muay Thai specialist’s venomous low kicks. Shin bone on thigh. Here’s Urijah Faber: “I’ve never been hit with a bat. But I think [that experience] would be kind of like how it feels to get hit with a bat. Like somebody aiming at you with a bat. That’s the best way to describe it. Over and over and over.”
Aldo’s low kick will have further to travel to connect with the inside of a southpaw fighter’s lead leg. McGregor will have more time to check the kick and checked kicks can result in broken bones for the assailant. McGregor has history there. An Aldo with his back to the cage will find his best weapon decommissioned and in the centre of the octagon the Irishman will seek to counter with high interest rates. How did Aldo’s last southpaw opponent fare? “I didn’t get full feeling in my legs back for months,” Kenny Florian told Al-Shatti. “He was kicking the inside of my leg, which affected the nerves in my legs so much that it took about a full two months to really get the feeling back.”
Tristar coach Firas Zahabi sees the fight as 50/50 battle. However, he is quite clear about the importance of Aldo’s leg kick – and McGregor’s left hand. “If his leg kick gets going, it will be the beginning of the end. How do you stop that pressure? Aldo needs to land that leg kick and he needs to land it hard and often. He needs to punish the wide stance of McGregor. When McGregor is in his wide stance, he’s accentuating his reach and Aldo needs to take away that reach to take away the pressure, and the way you do that is you chop that leg down like a tree.
“McGregor has to check, or land that left. That left hand of McGregor is so powerful that it would maybe make it too risky for Aldo to kick if that left hand is always ready to counter.”
We wait for the cage door to close.
Who is Jose Aldo? From being beaten up in the streets to becoming UFC world champion – here’s what we know
WITH a long scar down the left side of his face, Brazilian Jose Aldo is as tough as he looks.
He left his hometown in the Amazonas to make a name for himself in Rio with nothing but the clothes on his back.
After making his way up through the ranks, Aldo was eventually rewarded and is now recognised as one of the best featherweight fighters around.
Who is Jose Aldo?
Jose Aldo is a two-time UFC featherweight champion - a meteoric rise for the Brazilian who started with nothing.
He has lost just twice in his career with one of those coming against Conor McGregor in December 2015 after he was put to the floor with one punch.
Before he was a household name in the sport, Aldo's dream was to simply be able to buy himself a house one day.
What is Aldo's background?
Born in the Brazilian rainforest of Manaus, Aldo came from a very poor background with limited opportunities.
He was more interested in playing football than fighting but he had enough after he was repeatedly beaten up on the streets where he lived.
That prompted him to take up Capoeira (a Brazilian martial art) before switching to jiu-jitsu.
Throughout his career he was easily recognised with a large scar down the left side of his face which happened after his sister dropped him on a barbeque when he was young.
What is Jose Aldo's net worth?
The Brazilian is thought to be worth around £4million with his biggest year coming in 2015.
Between the years of 2011 and end of 2014 he was earning an average yearly wage of £400,000 but that significantly increased a year later.
Despite his big loss against McGregor, the defeat was sweetened knowing that he pocketed around £1.1m that year.
What is Aldo's fighting style?
Aldo remains number two in all-time featherweights in terms of takedown defence and with his jiu-jitsu background it is no surprise.
But he has the terrific ability to fight based on his opponents strengths and weaknesses.
Every opponent of Aldo's will know the power of his leg kicks. If they have no intentions to talk Aldo down there is no doubt he will punish with his kicks.
What is Jose Aldo's record?
Aldo has a undeniable record which backs up the claims that he is one of the best featherweight fighters.
In 28 fights he has won 26, losing just twice.
14 of those wins were by KO or TKO (technical knockout) whilst his defeats came within 10 years apart.
Preview – Bantamweight Contenders Square Off in Exciting Main Event at UFC Fight Night: Font vs. Aldo
The UFC will return to Las Vegas next week with another exciting Fight Night, featuring some of the best lightweights and bantamweights in the sport today. It’s sure to be an explosive event, filled with some memorable finishes.
Two of the best bantamweights in the world will go toe to toe in the main event, with championship aspirations on the line. Plus, two top-ranked lightweights will look catapult themselves into the title picture while two more will look to bounce back from recent struggles.
Lightweight bout: Clay Guida vs. Leonardo Santos
There are few fighters in the UFC who have stepped into the octagon more times that Clay Guida. At 39 years old, Guida will be participating in his 32 UFC contest and sports an impressive 36-21 professional record. However, he has struggled a bit as of late, dropping four of his last six. Of course, some of those struggles can be attributed to the level of competition he faces, with those two wins in his last six coming over BJ Penn and Michael Johnson. Guida is a tough out for anyone, with superb wrestling skills and maybe the toughest chin in the history of the UFC.
Believe it or not, Guida will actually be the younger of the two fighters in this contest as Santos enters at 41 years old. Santos is also coming off of a loss but he was red hot prior to that. In fact, the loss ended a six-fight win streak and hasn’t lost since 2009. With nine of his 18 wins coming by submission, Santos might actually be happy to let this fight go to the ground. That may be a mistake though as Guida can be overwhelming once he puts his opponent on his back. It will be interesting to see if either of these guys change up their typical gameplans.
Lightweight bout: Brad Riddell vs. Rafael Fiziev
IF you thought the last two fighters were similar, check this one out. 12th-ranked Riddell will be entering this contest with a 10-1 record and is riding a seven-fight winning streak. The 30-year-old has five wins by knockout but has won his last five by decision. His one loss came by submission so you know he is going to be looking to keep this fight on the feet.
The 14th-ranked Fiziev will also be entering this contest with a 10-1 record and is riding a four-fight winning streak. The 28-year-old has six wins by knockout but has won three of his last four by decision. His one loss came by knockout, so perhaps he will look to employ some grappling, but it seems more likely he’ll be willing to stand and bang. With both of these guys having such similar careers to this point, there is a lot on the line for both of them.
Bantamweight bout: Rob Font vs. Jose Aldo
The bantamweight division is very top heavy, with a handful of incredibly talented fighters at the top of the division. So whenever two of those top guys in the division meet, it’s guaranteed to be a very important fight. This is also a very exciting matchup stylistically that should lead to fireworks.
Rob Font has solidified himself as a contender as of late, winning four in a row including a highlight knockout of Marlon Moraes and a decision win over former champion Cody Garbrandt. Font comes into this main event with a 19-4 record and eight wins by knockout. He’s absolutely one of the most dangerous strikers in the division but this might not be the fight where he wants to put that to the test.
And the reason for that is simple: Aldo is nothing short of a legend. The 35-year-old former champ comes in with a 30-7 record and back-to-back wins. With 17 knockout victories, Aldo is one of the greatest strikers the sport has ever seen. Leg kicks will be a key here as they usually are for Aldo. If he can take Font’s legs out from under him, this will be his fight to win. That will be easier said than done though, as Font is more than talented enough to handle Aldo’s kicks.
UFC Fight Night: Font vs Aldo will be held Saturday, December 4 at 10 PM ET. Fight fans can watch live on ESPN+.
Mike is a writer that has covered comic cons, theme park events, video game showcases and other fun events. He is a fan of theme parks, sports, movies, Marvel Comics and is a self-proclaimed “nerd.”
UFC Fight Night: What is the UFC Vegas 44 UK Start Time?
The UFC will be returning to the APEX on Saturday 4th December for the next UFC Fight Night event of 2021, UFC Vegas 44.
There are several well-matched fights taking place on the card, with the main event of Rob Font vs Jose Aldo at 135lbs potentially being one of the best Fight Night main events of the year.
If you’re in the UK and you’re hoping to stay up late for the fights then we’ve got all of the information that you need, including how to watch and the platforms that the event will be available on.
Sadly, it’s going to be a very late night for UK fight fans, as UFC Vegas 44 will be starting late from Saturday 4th December night into Sunday morning!
Here is everything you need to know about the UK start time of UFC Vegas 44, including the GMT timing of the Prelims and Main Card.
UFC Vegas 44 UK Start Time
The Prelims for UFC Vegas 44 are set to start at midnight on Sunday, 5th December. Prelims for the event are available to watch on UFC Fight Pass, which is available to subscribe to for fans in the United Kingdom from £6.99 per month.
The Main Card for UFC Vegas 44 is set to start at 3 am GMT on Sunday 5th December, so it is going to be a late one if you’re hoping to stay up and watch the full card.
UFC Vegas 44, along with most UFC numbered events, are available to watch on BT Sport.
UFC Vegas 44 FIght Card
Here’s the full fight card for UFC Vegas 44 on Saturday, December 4th 2021:
- 135 lbs.: Rob Font vs. Jose Aldo
- 155 lbs.: Rafael Fiziev vs. Brad Riddell
- 170 lbs.: Jake Matthews vs. Jeremiah Wells
- 155 lbs.: Chris Gruetzemacher vs. Claudio Puelles
- 115 lbs.: Cheyanne Buys vs. Mallory Martin
- 185 lbs.: Brendan Allen vs. Roman Dolidze
- 170 lbs.: Bryan Barberena vs. Matt Brown
- 135 lbs.: Vince Morales vs. Louis Smolka
- 205 lbs.: Jimmy Crute vs. Jamahal Hill
- 125 lbs.: Zhalgas Zhumagulov vs. Manel Kape
- 155 lbs.: Clay Guida vs. Leonardo Santos
- 170 lbs.: Mickey Gall vs. Alex Morono
- 185 lbs.: Maki Pitolo vs. Dusko Todorovic
- 205 lbs.: William Knight vs. Alonzo Menifield
- 205 lbs.: Philipe Lins vs. Azamat Murzakanov
Fight cards are always subject to change; however, this is what the Ultimate Fighting Championship believe will be on offer when they head to the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada on Saturday, 4th December.
Read More: UFC: What Are The Top 10 Biggest PPV Events Ever?
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