Max Holloway (@1.53) vs Alexander Volkanovski (@2.5)

Our Prediction:

Max Holloway will win

Max Holloway – Alexander Volkanovski Match Prediction | 14-12-2019 23:00

Weve got guys fighting for the title in the middleweights, a New Zealand[er] and Aussie fighting for the title.

Standing at range isnt a solution against a fighter as smart and as dangerous as Aldo, but neither is imperfect pressure; it takes a near-airtight striking game to give Aldo trouble. Aldos showing against Renato Moicano showed what Aldo could do when allowed room to work and his own pace from the start; Moicano functions best as an outside-kicker and Aldo thoroughly nullified that (and outkicked him, landing a leg kick to run Moicano into a clean left hook), out-jabbed one of the better and longer jabbers in the division, and eventually forced the pocket to find the finish. Of course, if Aldo isnt pressed, hes just as dangerous; at range, while Aldo has pared down his game (the lack of leg kicks has become a fairly consistent criticism), hes about as potent as ever and as skilled as any fighter in MMA history.

UFC News: Alexander Volkanovski agrees to give Max Holloway immediate rematch if he wins at UFC 245

Its probably better for me, especially to fight someone like Max for my own title on my own show and yeah, have the world watching me especially over there, Volkanovski said. It gives me more time to prepare. Im not too bad here.

Darren Elkins did a decent job (even in a losing effort) to exploit that; Volkanovskis defensive reactions (guard up high, back off) gave Elkins decent opportunity to land body kicks on the exit. Volkanovski is an improving fighter who showed the ability against Mendes to make countering tough as a function of his offensive thoughtfulness, but his defense is appreciably less polished. However, Volkanovski did have some trouble in the Mendes fight; while he was eventually able to force a more confident Mendes to back off (with a nice left hook that allowed Volkanovski to regain the initiative off being dropped), his defense was largely the high guard as Mendes swung.

Ive got many tools that he needs to worry about, so I believe its a very dangerous fight for him. Hes the type of person that does come forward and hes not the hardest hitter, hes got a lot of volume, but again if youre there trying to throw volume at me, youre gonna receive some and theyre gonna be heavy and theyre gonna be powerful. Then youve got my wrestling to worry about, then youve got everything else to worry about.

ROUNDTABLE: Staff predictions for Jose Aldo vs. Alexander Volkanovski

But hes game, he knows the Australian fans will love him as well. Everybody knows thats gonna be a cracker of a fight, so I dont think it will be as hostile a crowd or something like hed have to worry like it is in Rio, I think that would be a bit more crazy than it would be in Australia. He doesnt want to fight in Australia, I guess hes the champ, whatever. I should get a fight with Max Holloway, definitely, 100 percent I deserve that title fight, Volkanovski told host Luke Thomas. I reckon hed do it and we just need to make it happen.

Chad Mendes looked to force the issue against Aldo in their rematch, and dedicated to pushing Aldo despite his counters, but Aldo nevertheless forced Mendes to pick his spots with his own counterpunching; Holloway pushed a pace, but his offensive diversity and his nuanced jab kept counterpunching from being easy even as he forced exchanges, and he had the resilience to take the counters when they had to land. Its worth noting, though, that just being unafraid of Aldo and willing to make him work isnt enough; it took one of the soundest and most aggressive offensive boxers to gas Aldo out while still in position to capitalize. For most fighters whose boxing isnt as deep as Holloways, Aldo doesnt leave them a good option; the choices are to press Aldo and get destroyed by counters (where Aldos excellent defense mostly nullifies a punchers chance), or to be scared off by those counters and have no chance at making Aldo gas.

Aldo has looked like a man with something to prove in his last two fights and I expect that to continue. My guess is that it doesnt mean much and Jose Aldo is going to walk through Alexander Volkanovski in his home country. I think were going to learn here what a win over Chad Mendes means in 2019. Aldo is a big step up in competition for Volkanovski so Im calling for a first-round KO for Aldo in what may be a rare feel-good moment for the Brazilian fans on this card.

Tale of the tape

I said 2019 Im going to be champion. Ive got these goals, Im ticking them off. Next year, Were going to look at that pound for pound list, Volkanovski said. I want to be right up there.

Until I see him decline against everyone else, Ill go with Aldo over most fighters. Volkanovski is good, but Im staying with Aldo because Ive only seen a few people beat him and theyre among the best ever at what they do. I think Aldo win by decision. If hes not fighting Max Holloway or Conor McGregor, Aldo has looked almost unstoppable.