Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Bantamweight talents, Jose Aldo and Pedro Munhoz, will clash this weekend (Sat. July 31, 2021) at UFC 265 from the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas.
Think of me as one of the analysts who thought Aldo’s move to £ 135 was a bad decision, but the 34-year-old Brazilian quickly proved to us that we were wrong and able to compete even with the best in the division. After his first official bantamweight victory, Aldo wants to build momentum again towards the title mix. Munhoz, meanwhile, would be in a really great position if it weren’t for the split decision on Frankie Edgar against him. As it stands, Young Punisher is possibly the most dangerous contender for ninth place in the sport, a whirling ball of calf kicks and power punches that is seemingly impossible to hold.
Let’s take a closer look at the keys to victory for every man:
Key wins: Chad Mendes (UFC 179, UFC 142), Frankie Edgar (UFC 200, UFC 156), Renato Moicano (UFC 232), Jeremy Stephens (UFC on FOX 30), Marlon Vera (UFC Vegas 17)
Lost keys: Max Holloway (UFC 218, UFC 212), Conor McGregor (UFC 194), Petr Yan (UFC 251), Alexander Volkanovski (UFC 237), Marlon Moraes (UFC 245)
Key to victory: Jose Aldo in bantamweight could very easily become world champion if the fights were just a little shorter. Aldo remains a brilliant striker with incredible defensive wrestling, but it must be noted that he slows down earlier in fights, either due to aging or new weight loss.
Munhoz, on the other hand, thrives in large-scale wars – his gas tank just won’t run out. Aldo faced a similar challenge last time around in Marlon Vera, but the veteran cleverly took the route of least resistance by battling “Chito” when the going got tough, which allowed him to get the all-out nod. Unfortunately, Munhoz’s takedown defense means hearing is less likely to work.
Therefore, Aldo has to focus on slowing down the pace. “Junior” has to be the man who decides when and where exchanges take place, and this can only happen if Munhoz respects Aldo’s power. Jaw, liver or guide leg, Aldo has to land something hard to keep his opponent honest.
If Aldo is able to set a pace that he can keep up, he is by far the better technical kickboxer.
Record: 17-5 (1)
Key wins: Cody Garbrandt (UFC 235), Bryan Kümmel (TUF 28 Finale), Rob Font (UFC Fight Night 119), Justin Scoggins (UFC Fight Night 100), Brett Johns (UFC 227)
Loss of keys: Aljamain Sterling (UFC 238), Frankie Edgar (UFC on ESPN 15), Jimmie Rivera (UFC Fight Night 77), Rafael Assuncao (UFC 170)
Keys to Victory: Munhoz has an iron chin and a deep gas tank that takes full advantage of these properties with a pressure strategy. The Brazilian throws everything with force and tries to defeat his opponent with both speed and calf kicks. Oh, and it has the best guillotine choke in the division too!
As explained above, this fight is likely to be determined by pace. Aldo wants to swap with a measured course, while Munhoz should try to force his opponent to exhaustion, after which everything becomes much easier.
Of course, Munhoz can’t just try to run through Aldo’s offense regardless of his historically solid jawline. He needs to be a little more methodical in his pressure, similar to Petr Yan’s performance against the former featherweight kingpin. If Munhoz holds on to his defense while actively looking Aldo in the face, the pressure alone will tire his opponent.
Perhaps another important weapon for Munhoz could be the snap kick. He manages to poke his opponents in the stomach with this weapon from the boxing area, which is great for quickly exhausting opponents.
It’s just a huge fight.
At this stage of the game, it seems unlikely that Aldo will go on a final title run. It’s not yet impossible, however, and any win against high-profile opponents brings him closer to a second bantamweight title fight. While his first fight against Yan ended miserably, someone like Aljamain Sterling would be a much cheaper match if Funkmaster managed to keep his title.
In short, it’s too early to count Aldo in full.
Munhoz is in a similar dark horse position. His recent performances are among his best ever but it has to be mentioned that the Brazilian is 34 years old and lost to the current champions. That’s not exactly ideal, which means it will take several wins to get him back into the title mix. Fortunately, Aldo’s name still holds a lot of value, so a strong win this weekend could result in a big jump up the ladder.
Remember it MMAmania.com delivers LIVE, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 265 battle map, lap after lap herestarting with the early ESPN + “Prelims” games online that are scheduled to start at 6pm ET, then the remaining undercard balance on ESPN2 /ESPN + at 8:00 p.m. ET, before the main PPV card start time at 10:00 p.m. ET ESPN + PPV.
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At UFC 265, Jose Aldo and Pedro Munhoz will go to war. Which man stops when the dust settles?