The UFC made MMA the first sport to return after the first devastating waves of coronavirus in the world, and having been with live events for two months, the UFC will debut its ambitious full-fledged project in Abu Dhabi: Fight Island. The island will host in its first evening three titular fights, of which will be analyzed below:

Jose Aldo vs. Petr Yan will be the first fight to open the fires of this UFC 251 championship bouts and proposes an interesting duel between strikers

Jose Aldo

Jose Aldo went from being the undisputed monarch of the featherweights, to having a string of defeats and inconsistent performances within the octagon. Aldo decided to turn his career upside down by going down to the rooster weights facing Marlon Moraes in 2019. In this meeting Aldo took a controversial defeat, since for the majority he did what was necessary to obtain a unanimous victory. Following favorable public opinion for Aldo, Dana White decided to give him the opportunity for the vacant 135-pound belt. Given this new opportunity for a former experienced champion like Aldo, it is worth making a review of his performances and evolution

Aldo was characterized in his early years in North American production companies as a fighter of a brutal Muay Thai, and by then, unprecedented. Their rivals were dispatched with ease and violence, reaching the WEC and UFC belts. When Aldo debuted in the UFC, a slightly more repressed and cautious “Scarface” was suddenly seen when it came to fighting. Within this time, it became customary for critical eyes to see a constant and repetitive way of fighting in the featherweight champion. That Aldo was characterized by being a fighter planted in the center, with somewhat reduced mobility in terms of angles and standing game, and with a lower ability to achieve the KO.However, Aldo had everything necessary to stay on top every time he He defended his title, through a unique hitting explosiveness, impenetrable takedown defense and that champion authority to take a victory. Perhaps the best performance he had at that time, was in that defense against Chad Mendes in 2014. But suddenly, the indescribable champion succumbed to the unorthodox game of McGregor; which also set the tone for his next bouts.

Aldo’s one-way move was exposed to McGregor and Max Holloway would eventually ratify it. The Hawaiian knew how to counter Aldo’s explosiveness through the change of pace, pressure, and angles. In both bouts the Brazilian was out of reach and rhythm of the attacks of “Blessed”, and ended up also showing a strong physical fall compared to past times.

Aldo’s success in his bouts against Edgar (for the interim belt), Jeremy Stephens, and Renato Moicano were mainly due to the three fighters allowing Aldo to carry the offense and the counter, as well as the pace. The contemporary Aldo is one that primarily uses boxing, best combining blows to the middle area as well as to the head. This was demonstrated in his fights against Moicano and especially Stephens, whom he cut in the body. Today the Brazilian’s hands are more dynamic and angular, but in a game that still remains planted and static. Perhaps the best acquisition of this new static fight has been his pitch and against pure boxing. The negativity of this evolution, and perhaps also due to a host of injuries, is that he has removed the quick and effective kick that he had in his best years, and for which he gained fame.

The 135-pound Jose Aldo that was seen in 2019 was a slow and hesitant start. In the course of the combat it was seen something faster but less forceful, due, logically, to the loss of weight. Although he won that fight it was not the same way he did at featherweight.

Petr Yan

Petr Yan has been rising as the foam since his arrival at UFC. In a division that is currently full of talents and contenders. Yan has beaten names like Dodson, Rivera and Faber, leaving out of his list many other serious, better ranked opponents, and worthy of starting opportunities. However, Yan is not a fighter who should not fight for the belt, as he has a career with nine consecutive wins and only one loss in 15 fights as a professional.

Yan started in martial arts through taekwondo, later focusing on boxing. In that discipline he would achieve the distinction “Master of Sport”; Russian state certification accrediting the master’s degree in specific disciplines. Of the 15 fights the Russian has, over six years as a professional, he has achieved six wins by knockout, seven by decision and one by submission.

“No Mercy” has a complete fight on all sides of the sport. It combines very well the striking, the clinch, the fight and the “scrambles” of it; even, her skills in grappling should not be underestimated. The characteristic of Yan is that aggressive, tough, intense and unstoppable Russian style. Yan’s fists are always well loaded with the step, which implies that each combination will break or hurt. As a product of his physical strength and his stay at the Tiger Muay Thai, Yan always dominates the clinch situations and the transitions from it to the fight. I think Yan’s most dangerous thing is the volleys and circular blows, which enter fully into the chin, and which go with great power for the aforementioned pronounced step that carry all their body weight

On the other hand, Yan is a fighter who grows in the exchanges and who does not hesitate to press when seeing damage in the adversary; in the same way that he ended up with Faber.

Fight

The most intriguing theme of this fight, and also the most attractive thing, is that it will be a duel that will almost certainly be solved in the standing fight. The big difference between the two is that Yan is a more aggressive and forceful fighter than Aldo would be (based on his 135-pound debut). This is mainly because Aldo fights more on reaction than offense, which would be favorable for Yan. I think Yan’s volleys will be key in the exchanges. On the other hand, Yan’s physical pressure will be decisive if the combat reaches three rounds. I think that Aldo should reduce Yan’s step by means of those lethal low kicks of yesteryear, because in addition Yan is often in the almost lateral guard of classic boxing. You should also find the correct time to connect Yan to his knees when he lowers his head to throw his circular fists. However, this may open up the possibility that the fist enters before the knee and Aldo ends up damaged or finished.

I don’t think Yan or Aldo will get to long minutes in clinch situations or behind bars, unless the Russian wants to wear down Aldo’s explosive ability. Due to a long career fighting in a certain way, I also don’t think Aldo wants or gets to use his ability at ground level.

Forecast

It is difficult to think that Aldo can impose a repetitive style of years and that it has not evolved according to the new fighting trends that exist today. It also does not imply that the fundamentals are wrong, on the contrary, Aldo handles the fight on his feet as many new prospects should. What I try to explain is that Aldo has not added more things to an arsenal that is already predictable and predictable by coaches and fighters with the highest fighting IQ. Yan not only has more resources to win, but also an ability to vary more if the fight turns against him. Aldo did not know how to get out of the problems that Holloway gave him in both fights and he only resorted to “throwing” for defense, which was also demonstrated by Barao (from the same school as Aldo) against Dillashaw. In both cases, the two Brazilian fighters were “out of rhythm before a new dance.” The same thing happened with Volkanovski, who worked it through the entire fight. That way I think Yan should take the victory.

Holloway vs Volkanovski 2

Since this fight was previously broken down when they fought in December 2019, I will only limit myself to what happened in the first match and what should happen in this second. Obviously also forecasting what can happen.

What happened

I think there should be no doubt that Volkanovski beat Holloway on points in the previous match. Volkanovski was simply a speed faster than Holloway on innings, like exits, like on exchanges. When Holloway stepped backwards he was hit by the Australian for volleys or low kicks. In the same way, the Hawaiian could not counter because his rival was no longer there, or because he came across the entry of the now champion. I think Holloway’s performance was declining since his fight with Ortega, thus complicating himself in several rounds in his fight with Edgar. I believe that the Holloway camp did not prepare or underestimate the Australian’s fight and his explosiveness.

What should happen

In order for there to be a favorable change for Holloway for this bout, the following adjustments must be made: First, I think Holloway cannot fight with too much “groping” in his punches. By this I mean, Holloway’s classic jabs and straight “screens” have to be dry and forceful to penetrate the Australian guard or to slow down the Australian’s counter. On the other hand, the former champion must hit more “dripping” than in long combinations, since if he does not he will hit a fighter smaller and smaller than himself. If Holloway does not make that adjustment, he will lose in the exchanges and cons (as it happened before), because when colliding with the champion he will leave his axis (while hitting) and will be hit by a more explosive and faster fighter. With that Holloway can choose to hit, either with fists or semi-circular kicks to the Australian’s body to remove air. Another important aspect of scoring is the champion’s low kicks that Holloway must “check” to prevent this advance on the card and to make him think twice before throwing them.

For his part, Alexander Volkanovski must follow the recipe and enter more confident against the eventual version of the former champion and capitalizing on the “overhands” that entered Holloway’s chin.

Forecast

I think there are few times when a former champion took his crown from the same opponent who took it from him. Whether it’s a lack of conviction from the former champion or the empowerment of the new monarch in the rematch, an immediate title change almost never occurs. I think Alexander managed to find the rhythm to make Max uncomfortable and connect him. Due to the closure of the academy where the former champion trains, I don’t think he was able to fix the fight plan for this rematch; What’s more, the Hawaiian pointed out that his training for the rematch has been by the Zoom platform. Outside of details that may sound absurd, perhaps Holloway is going through the same process that Aldo went through after losing his belt. Simply Volkanovski’s IQ, Freestyle Fighting Gym, and City Kickboxing managed to unveil the formula to beat “Blessed. That said, I think the Australian will retain the belt this Saturday.