Veteran Jose Aldo heads into Saturday's co-main event riding the first three-loss skid of his MMA career.
The co-main event of Saturday’s UFC Fight Night from Las Vegas sees former featherweight champion Jose Aldo take on rising star Marlon Vera in a bantamweight bout.
It will be age and experience versus a promising up-and-comer as Aldo is looking to prove the move down to bantamweight wasn’t a mistake, while Vera is looking to add a big name to his growing list of defeated opponents. Aldo is favoured at -145 on the MMA odds, while Vera comes in at +130.
Jose Aldo UFC Vegas 17 Odds
The move to bantamweight hasn’t been smooth for Jose Aldo (28-7), as he lost his bantamweight debut by split decision to Marlon Moraes at UFC 245, and then lost by TKO to Petr Yan at UFC 251 in July. Before losing the featherweight title to current featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski, Aldo was a force in that division. He successfully defended his featherweight title seven times and at one point had a 15-fight win streak. On the first three-fight losing streak of his career, Aldo is in desperate need of a win to prove he can be relevant in the bantamweight division.
Aldo likes to come at opponents a variety of ways, whether it is a pressuring forward attack or a patient counter attack. He has proven difficult to get on the ground as he boasts a 90 per cent takedown defence and his fast combinations have helped him average 3.48 significant strikes landed per minute (absorbing 3.18). This is a big fight for Aldo. The bantamweight division is far from stable and he knows a win moves him close to the top, while a loss could drop him out of the Top 10.
Marlon Vera UFC Vegas 17 Odds
Vera (18-6-1) comes into this fight on a very different trajectory than his opponent. The only loss he picked up in his last seven bouts was a controversial decision to Song Yadong in May, which also won Fight of the Night honours. After punishing Sean O’Malley with a first round KO at UFC 252 in August, Vera likely moves into the Top 10 of the bantamweight division with a win on Saturday.
Vera is a consistently improving and well-rounded fighter. His eight finishes is tied for most all-time among bantamweights and his average of 1.45 submissions per 15 minutes is the third highest in the division. He has a variety of kicks at long range, averaging 3.7 significant strikes per minute, but he absorbs 4.11, which could pose a problem. On the ground he is usually able to gain leverage with his wiry frame and is equally able to find a submission on his back or from the top. Stringing together a few more wins would likely put Vera near the top of the contender list. It all starts Saturday against Jose Aldo.
UFC Fight Night Predictions: Aldo vs. Vera
It would be a shock to not see Aldo dictate the pace of this fight from the start. Vera has been strong since joining the UFC, but he’s not ready to beat a former UFC champion. If Aldo is careful and watches for Vera’s grappling and submission attempts, his kicking and quick counterstrikes should be the difference in this fight. Look for a unanimous decision win for Aldo.