How does each fighter want this bout to unfold and will this analysis help us in our UFC picks when the two top featherweights in the world clash on July 11th?
McGregor’s Game Plan
The Irish Terror is planning on standing and trading with the venerable king of the featherweights. While that is ordinarily not the best game plan for most fighters when facing a striker of Aldo’s elite caliber it is indeed the best course of action for a fighter like McGregor who has made his bones, not to mention his 15 KO’s, with devastating power. McGregor will look for counterpunching opportunities but that may be hard to come by as the champion is an extraordinary counterpuncher in his own right.
Space – it is not the final frontier, it is the only frontier for Conor McGregor. He will need plenty of room to unleash his particular brand of punishment and can make it happen if he utilizes his height and reach advantage to its fullest. McGregor must be cognizant of Aldo’s tree-chopping leg kicks but because he stands as a southpaw to Aldo’s orthodox stance he may very well avoid, to some degree, the sheer volume of leg whips to his front leg as Aldo routinely uses his back leg to punish the lead leg of his opponent. In this instance Aldo’s weapon of choice will have to travel a longer distance to find its target due to McGregor’s southpaw stance.
Ironically it could be Aldo’s most lethal tactic that could ultimately afford McGregor the counterpunching opportunity to level the champ. When Aldo chambers that rear kick and launches from his back foot all the way across to the inside of McGregor’s lead right leg there will be a fleeting moment for the Irishman to counterpunch using his devastating left to land upon Aldo’s exposed chin. If McGregor can get off cleanly, it could be a stunning end to this highly anticipated fight.
Jose Aldo’s Game Plan
Jose Aldo’s camp is going to be fully prepared for Conor McGregor’s brand of mayhem. While the native of Dublin is going to seek plenty of space to unload it will be Aldo’s job to eat up that distance and back McGregor against the cage where the champ can unleash short strikes to the face and deliver knees to the body. Aldo is deadly with his knees and his dirty boxing is nothing short of sensational. Obviously he will look to pound McGregor with his legendary leg strikes but for reasons I mentioned above it may be difficult to connect on McGregor’s lead leg. However, Aldo could use an advance tactic to close the distance and strike with his lead foot to the outside of McGregor’s lead leg. This is could be the entrée Aldo needs to attack by launching a snap lead leg whip to the exterior of McGregor’s right leg followed by an overhand right to the left side of McGregor’s temple. Neither fighter will be looking to bring this fight to the mat but if McGregor decides to take the unconventional route then Aldo is more than capable of defending. The champion’s takedown defense is superb and McGregor, not known for his mat skills, will be flummoxed and could very well see himself on the short end of a good old fashioned beating if he shoots and misses.
The UFC odds on this one have shaded the champion as a -125 favorite as of this writing and he could be a decent play in your UFC picks if McGregor back peddles and let’s Aldo control the pace and tempo of the fight. However, if McGregor is able to dictate his terms based on his superior height and reach this could get ugly for the champ.
Ultimately this one could get interesting if it lasts into the championship rounds as McGregor has rarely gone three full rounds and has never fought into the fourth or fifth round. Jose Aldo on the other hand has gone beyond three rounds on seven occasions and has won all seven fights, one by TKO and the other six by unanimous decision. If McGregor cannot finish Aldo within three, the UFC odds will be in the champion’s favor.