Main Event: Max Holloway vs Jose Aldo
Betting Odds: Holloway -270 or 1/3, Aldo +263 or 12/5
Earlier this year the pair met at UFC 212, the fight was won by Max Holloway with a decisive finish the likes of which would never warrant an immediate rematch unless a situation like an injury were to take place.
Frankie Edgar’s injury misfortunes have lead Jose Aldo to an unlikely rematch for the featherweight title he held for 5 straight years.
What can Jose Aldo do to change the outcome of the fight this time around? well for starters he needs to utilize the signature leg kick which was the foundation of his dominant run as champion. Earlier in his career, Aldo often battered opponents into an immobile state using primarily the leg kick before unloading his full attack.
During the fight with Chan Sung Jung (better known as “The Korean Zombie”) Aldo sustained a foot injury and ever since he’s been reluctant to attempt leg kicks. Max Holloway is the type of fighter who has a heavy-legged stance so the leg kick is even more inviting.
The other factor to consider is this is Aldo’s third rematch of his career, with the knowledge of the first fight he could possibly use Holloway’s aggression against him. If you take into account the success Aldo had in the first round with Holloway there’s some potential early danger Holloway must navigate past and during that time Aldo can use his experience to set a trap and catch him.
For Max Holloway, there’s little incentive in this fight, he’s the biggest betting favourite on the card, he beat Aldo convincingly 5 months ago & beating Aldo a second time does nothing to raise Holloway’s stock. If he wants to open the door to more lucrative fights in the future, however, he must defeat Aldo regardless of the minimal gain involved.
Alistair Overeem vs Francis Ngannou
Betting Odds: Overeem +211 or 7/4, Ngannou -210 or 10/21
This match-up is the epitome of heavyweight fighting, two titans with incredible athleticism and the ability to take each other out in a flash meet in a fight you could unofficially label as a title eliminator.
Alistair Overeem is the most accomplished striker in the history of the heavyweight division, a former K-1 Grand Prix winner boasting wins over elite kickboxers such as Gokhan Saki, Tyrone Spong, & Badr Hari, Overeem’s striking credentials are incomparable to any other heavyweight.
In Mixed Martial Arts Overeem is not short of titles neither, he’s held the Strikeforce Heavyweight Championship as well as the Dream Interim Heavyweight Championship.
In his first and only UFC title fight, Overeem had current champion Stipe Miocic in all sorts of trouble before the champion rallied to stop Overeem late in the first round. Having defeated Fabricio Werdum and Mark Hunt since Ngannou is the only active heavyweight who stands between Overeem and a rematch with Stipe Miocic.
Ngannou is the young blood in an otherwise established weight division, he brings with him plenty of hype and youthful exuberance. Ngannou is a unique specimen even amongst the prestigious athletes in the UFC, at 250lbs he is deceptively fast, very few human beings have the ability to move as fast as Ngannou can whilst carrying so much lean muscle mass.
It’s been smooth sailing so far for Ngannou in his 5 UFC appearances but this fight is the acid test of his Career if he takes out Alistair Overeem the reverence will be justified and there would be no dispute in his claim to being the rightful contender to the title.
Two athletic heavyweights with serious power, don’t expect this fight to last very long either way.
Henry Cejudo vs Sergio Pettis
Betting Odds: Cejudo -250 or 2/5, Pettis +231 or 2/1
With so many good fights on this card, this one seems to be flying under the radar.
Henry Cejudo has made some drastic changes since losing to Demetrious Johnson. That fight was made a little too early for Cejudo, in any other division which isn’t devoid of genuine contenders, there’s no way a guy with only 10 professional fights gets matched up with such a dominant champion.
The last time we saw him fight he displayed an all-new striking style similar in look to that of Conor McGregor. He was very impressive taking out Wilson Reis in the second round.
There’s not a flyweight in the world Cejudo couldn’t take down but if he wants to entertain the idea of beating Demetrious Johnson he can’t rely on his wrestling alone. When facing an extremely well-rounded opponent like “Mighty Mouse” it’s important to be able to compete in multiple areas. Sergio Pettis is a striker who will provide Cejudo with a barometer as to how well his striking matches up against the superior strikers in the weight division.
Sergio Pettis is enjoying the best run of his UFC career, 4 wins on the bounce he’s slowly moving up the ladder without making too much noise. Pettis much like his older brother and former lightweight champion Anthony Pettis has an unpredictable unorthodox style.
Not improving in leaps and bounds like Henry Cejudo but he’s improving nonetheless.
This will be the first main card appearance on a PPV card for Pettis and there’s no better time for him to validate himself as a threat to the champion.
Eddie Alvarez vs Justin Gaethje
Betting Odds: Alvarez +160 or 6/4, Gaethje -170 4/7
Justin Gaethje introduced himself to the UFC in dramatic fashion during his debut fight with Michael Johnson earlier this year. He earned performance of the night and fight of the night honors for his efforts and the contest itself has to be the leading candidate for MMA’s fight of the year.
With his almost recklessly aggressive style, he pressured Michael Johnson from the opening bell but ran into some trouble.
Gaethje showed how durable he was by surviving the swarm that followed and eventually broke Johnson down with his intense pressure.
Eddie Alvarez enjoys the type of fast-paced fights Gaethje initiates, he is at his most dangerous when facing adversity and that’s something both men have in common.
Alvarez’s last fight was a no contest against Dustin Poirier, he had battled out of a tough situation and looked as if he was turning the momentum of the fight until he was adjudged to have landed an illegal knee on a grounded opponent.
The last year hasn’t been a prosperous one for Alvarez, suffering a loss to Conor McGregor in November 2016 followed by the no contest against Poirier 6 months later. The last positive memory of Eddie Alvarez in an octagon was when he dethroned Rafael Dos Anjos to claim the lightweight title.
This is the people’s main event, Gaethje gets his toughest test to date which providing he wins will see him ranked in the top five of the most talent-stacked weight division in the UFC.
Alvarez who’s coming into this fight with little publicity can use the push Gaethje is currently getting to remind everyone he’s still up there with the best. Much like he did against Rafael Dos Anjos.
Max Holloway vs Jose Aldo (Holloway TKO/KO)
Alistair Overeem vs Francis Ngannou (Ngannou TKO/KO)
Henry Cejudo vs Sergio Pettis (Cejudo Decision)
Eddie Alvarez vs Justin Gaethje (Gaethje TKO/KO)
Tecia Torres vs Michelle Waterson (Waterson Decision)