On June 3, the UFC returns to Rio de Janeiro where native son Jose Aldo will attempt the first successful defence of his newly acquired UFC Featherweight Championship against challenger Max Holloway. Below, we take a look at five factors to consider and help determined whether you should bet on the champion or the challenger.
The knockout shook the world. Aldo had previously been unstoppable, the owner of an 18-fight win streak that included eight fights in the WEC (ended by the UFC purchasing the promotion and transferring its Featherweight division to its ranks), seven fights in the UFC and nine consecutive title defenses, none of them particularly close (Aldo had never lost a fight on a single scorecard).
Suddenly, on the first punch of the biggest fight of his career (thanks to McGregor’s promotional guile) Aldo had suffered his first knockout, his first loss in a decade, the loss of his title and the shattering of his previously invincible brand.
With McGregor celebrating his win with huge payday fights against bigger men, Aldo was given a shot to regain his title. He defeated Chad Mendes (again) to take the interim strap and when McGregor was announced to be abandoning the division, the interim tag was removed. Now, the UFC must reinvigorate the title chase in a division that Aldo rendered moot for most of its history.
Even with the McGregor loss, Aldo is the number four pound-for-pound fighter in the world and if you buy that ranking, he has to be your bet.
Aldo’s first challenge as champion is a worthy one. Max Holloway is the division’s number one challenger, holds the unusual distinction of having not lost previously to Aldo, is on a ten-fight win streak and has an awful lot of experience for a 25-year old. That combined with the McGregor match has left Aldo as only a small favourite (1.862*) against Holloway (2.030*). The question is whether we’re getting the pre-McGregor Aldo or a weaker facsimile.
Analysing the betting odds
Jose Aldo’s recent betting odds at Pinnacle:
Max Holloway’s recent betting odds at Pinnacle:
After years of dominance, it’s interesting to see that Aldo bettors got themselves a deal by waiting to bet until late in the Edgar match. Fighters generally decline after suffering their first knockout and the market certainly showed a lack of faith in Aldo for the first time in the wake of the McGregor defeat.
Holloway bettors, meanwhile, do themselves no favours by waiting. Lamas’ price hike was minimal and bettors were convinced enough of Holloway’s pending victory over Pettis to cut profits almost in half. If you think the kid has a win in him, bet sooner rather than later.
Tale of the tape
Tale of the tape
The match up
Five foot and seven inches may not seem tall, but more often than not, Aldo is the bigger man in the ring. One element of this match-up to watch is how the champion handles Holloway’s extraordinary height for the weight class; especially considering how the height advantage played out for McGregor.
Holloway is on a ten-fight win streak and has an awful lot of experience for a 25-year old.
Holloway will do everything he can to keep the fight standing. He scores most of his wins through using that height to outland his opponents to the tune of a 5.67: 3.74 SLpM: SApM average. Aldo prefers a slower standing pace (his SLpM: SApM is 3.28: 2.09) but is also the more versatile of the two.
If the fight gets to the ground it’s all Aldo.
Who will win?
The thing about the McGregor fight is it feels pretty fluky in reflection. Aldo’s taken hundreds of punches over the course of his career and had never been knocked out. In the Frankie Edgar fight, that jaw seemed to be fine, and Holloway, although he is an excellent striker, doesn’t hit as hard as McGregor. He’s a controlling striker facing a guy who’s made an art of that strategy for a decade.
If you believe this is still Aldo in his prime the odds are a gift. Even with the McGregor loss, Aldo is the number four pound-for-pound fighter in the world and if you buy that ranking, he has to be your bet at 1.862*. If, however, you think the punch was either the beginning of the decline or believe that once a jaw has been KO'd upon, it’s never the same, Holloway could offer value at 2.030*. He’s a puzzle that Aldo’s never dealt with before and that makes the fight a really interesting one.
Get the best odds and highest limits for UFC 212 betting at Pinnacle.