Holloway’s Keys to Success
With an average of 5.67 significant strikes* landed per minute, the foundation of Max Holloway’s success has been his striking output. Holloway has shown great conditioning which aids his ability to swarm opponents with constant movement and activity.
Complementing the volume of strikes is the unpredictable nature of Holloway’s attacks. He frequently changes the pattern of his offence making it difficult for opponents to read his angles and set themselves.
We’ve never seen Holloway get seriously hurt in his UFC career, partly because he’s defensively sound partly because he’s got a good chin. When you strike with the sort of output Holloway does you’re bound to get caught as there are more opportunities for opponents to land shots. The few times Holloway has been cracked he’s hardly blinked.
Aldo’s Keys to Success
Debilitating leg kick
After breaking his foot attempting to low kick Chan Sung Jung we’ve seen Aldo become more selective with his leg kicks. Since the fight with Korean Zombie, the current number of leg kicks attempted stands at 33* from 4 fights, to put that into perspective Aldo threw 29* in a single fight back in 2010 against Urijah Faber.
Aldo has been able to deal with recent opponents (excluding McGregor) without having to use the leg kick which is maybe why he’s refrained from using it. Max Holloway brings with him some unique problems that may well force Aldo to use the leg kick more frequently. When those kicks land they severely compromise the movement of whoever is unlucky enough to be on the receiving end.
In contrast to Max Holloway, Aldo fights in bursts choosing to control opponents primarily with the jab waiting for little openings to explode and throw power shots. He uses those bursts sparingly in order to conserve energy but when he does let rip, the speed with which he delivers those strikes is blinding.
Aldo can do serious damage with just one or two of those explosive bursts.
Veteran of five round fights
Aldo is 7-0 in fights that have gone all 5 rounds, following the contest with Mark Hominick where we saw Aldo fade badly in the last two rounds he’s used the experience to pace himself far better.
Max Holloway has yet to see the championship rounds. If the fight does go to rounds 4 & 5 Aldo’s ability to edge close rounds especially with his crafty work in the last minute will be a big factor.
I feel as if the loss to McGregor has caused people to forget just how great Jose Aldo is, most likely because it’s rare to see great fighters get knocked out in such emphatic fashion so early into a fight.
A better yardstick of Aldo’s ability is how well he’s dealt with Frankie Edgar on two separate occasions, Edgar is a fighter who’s barely dropped any rounds against every other featherweight he’s fought yet Aldo handled him without much trouble both times.
Holloway will have periods of success I just don’t see him having enough of them to win the fight. Aldo’s pivots under pressure and ability to exploit mistakes should cause Holloway’s output to drop, without that trademark volume the fight will be at a pace that suits Aldo perfectly. The odds have it close but I don’t think it will be,
Jose Aldo wins by decision.
(*All stats via FightMetric)