When the cage door closes on Max Holloway (18-3) and Jose Aldo (26-3) come December 2nd in Detroit, it’ll be for the second time in just six months. For Aldo, it’ll mark the first time that the former 2-time Featherweight King will represent the blue corner in his UFC career. And it’ll be the first time he’ll be given the opportunity to avenge a loss in his career.
After Aldo dropped the title to Holloway this past June at UFC 212, it appeared that this would be the beginning of a new path for Aldo. Instead of being given an immediate rematch as a 9-time defending champion during his UFC/WEC career, Aldo would be matched up with Ricardo Lamas for the UFC’s upcoming Winnipeg show on December 16th. Holloway would be matched up with Frankie Edgar for his first title defense, a man Aldo had beaten twice, to main event the UFC’s long-overdue return to Detroit. Unfortunately for Edgar, an injury would pull him from the card leading to Aldo being immediately tapped as a replacement.
Winning a world title in the UFC means you’ve truly reached the pinnacle of your mixed martial arts career. Once you lose that title, history has told us that it’s nearly impossible to win it back. Winning it for a third time, well, only Randy Couture has been able to do that.
The big mystery of the first meeting between these two was Aldo’s reluctance to throw his trademark leg kicks of devastation. It would later be revealed by Aldo’s team that a leg injury suffered during his camp leading up to the title bout. As expected, Holloway didn’t take to kindly to that excuse. Here’s what he told ESPN about the situation.
“That was kind of cowardly to me. To say something like that and take away from someone’s win. I’ve never taken away from someone’s win. I just thought it was silly.”
If Aldo can land some combinations (which include leg kicks), he has the skills to beat Holloway and it might not be a bad bet to take the Aldo upset at (+148). But Holloway (-185) is the deserving favorite based on his speed, his multi-faceted attack, and his youthful exuberance. He was able to knock Aldo out at UFC 212 and the writers at SportsBettingDime.com see the same outcome at UFC 218. The official prediction is Holloway via KO/TKO.
Method of Victory Odds for Holloway:
Holloway wins by KO/TKO: 3/1
Holloway wins by decision: 17/3
Holloway wins by submission: 9/1
In the co-main event of the evening, combat sports legend Alistair Overeem (43-15) will attempt to earn another crack at the one title that has eluded him throughout his illustrious fighting career — the UFC Heavyweight Championship. If he can somehow get past the surging Francis Ngannou (10-1), a rematch with Stipe Miocic could be booked for the first quarter of 2018.
The odds haven’t been set for this matchup yet, but the hulking Frenchman should be the favorite at around -150 based on the fact that all his victories have been finishes within two rounds. Overeem certainly has the potential to derail the Ngannou hype-train, but the more likely outcome is that Ngannou’s sheer size and power eventually overwhelm the aging vet. The official prediction is Ngannou via KO/TKO.
Method of Victory Odds for Ngannou:
Ngannou wins by KO/TKO: 2/1
Ngannou wins by submission: 9/1
Ngannou wins by decision: 19/1
Here’s the finalized card for UFC 218 ‘Holloway vs. Aldo’ (subject to change):
Main Card (PPV – 10 p.m. ET)
Featherweight Championship Bout
Max Holloway (c) (18-3) vs. Jose Aldo (26-3)
Heavyweight Co-Main Event
Alistair Overeem (43-15) vs. Francis Ngannou (10-1)
Henry Cejudo (11-2) vs. Sergio Pettis (16-2)
Eddie Alvarez (28-5) vs. Justin Gaethje (18-0)
Tecia Torres (9-1) vs. Michelle Waterson (14-5)
Preliminary Card (FS1 – 8 p.m. ET)
Paul Felder (14-3) vs. Charles Oliveira (22-7)
Alex Oliveira (16-4-1) vs. Yancy Medeiros (14-4)
David Teymur (6-1) vs. Drakkar Klose (8-0-1)
Women’s Strawweight Bout
Felice Herrig (13-6) vs. Cortney Casey (7-4)
Preliminary Card (UFC Fight Pass – 6:15 p.m. ET)
Sabah Homsai (11-6) vs. Abdul Razak Alhassan (5-0)
Light Heavyweight Bout
Jeremy Kimball (15-6) vs. Dominick Reyes (7-0)
Justin Willis (5-1) vs. Allen Crowder (6-2)
Women’s Strawweight Bout
Angela Magana (11-8) vs. Amanda Bobby Cooper (2-3)