No, this card isn’t as good as 217, but most aren’t going to be. We don’t get three title fights at Madison Square Garden. We don’t get a Thug Rose upset and the return of an all-time great, Georges St-Pierre.
What we do get is a salvaged card featuring a rematch of one of the year’s better title fights and a heavyweight co-main that should provide some divisional clarity. There’s a Philly angle with Eddie Alvarez on the card and intriguing flyweight and strawweight fights as well.
Featherweight: Max Holloway (C) vs. Jose Aldo
This was supposed to be a title fight between Holloway and Frankie Edgar, who had to pull out due to injury.
So Aldo, who lost to Holloway just six months ago, gets another crack at reclaiming the title he originally lost to Conor McGregor back at UFC 194. He looked rough at weigh-ins Friday morning, struggling with a short-notice weight cut. Max didn’t look too healthy either.
That said, Holloway is in the best form of his career right now. He was comfortable and focused in his first win against Aldo, beating the former champ on his home turf in Rio. Aldo, after a strong bounce-back win over Edgar last year, just didn’t seem like himself in the last outing. He looked a bit burdened in front of the Brazilian crowd and didn’t throw the savage leg kicks we’ve seen him utilize in the past, apparently because he had a leg injury he hid during build-up to the fight. I wonder if the short preparation and trip to Detroit is actually a boon for Aldo this time around for pressure purposes, and I wonder if the leg is 100%.
I just see two guys moving in different directions right now, with the 25-year-old Holloway on an 11-fight win streak and the 31-year-old Aldo looking mortal after so many great years.
prediction: Holloway wins via unanimous decision