The UFC Featherweight title will change hands on July 11th and even the champion knows it. Let's analyze why Conor McGregor owns the advantage over Jose Aldo and how we can use this to cash in our UFC picks.
Many don't believe mind games matter at this elite level but though these fighters are supremely talented they are still in fact human. If you have watched the press conferences and listened intently to the interviews preceding this match you are undoubtedly aware that McGregor has gotten inside the head of the soon to be dethroned featherweight king.
McGregor has trash-talked his way through their promotional tour and even stole his belt on the dais at a UFC presser. The Notorious even hurdled out from the Octagon after a victory and lunged for Jose Aldo who happened to be sitting only a few rows back from ringside. Aldo stood flat-footed and unresponsive while McGregor, draped in the flag of Ireland, declared "I'm taking your belt." He is every nemesis that Rocky ever faced. He is Apollo Creed, Clubber Lang, Ivan Drago and Tommy Gunn all rolled up into one 145 pound package of dynamite and Aldo is feeling the heat.
The champion has been lackluster in his rebuttals and drones on about this being just another fight. Aldo has witnessed first-hand the destruction and chaos that McGregor wreaks inside the cage and understands that this is no ordinary fight because McGregor is no ordinary fighter. Jose Aldo has said he will do his talking inside the Octagon on July 11th. He had better hope his performance is far superior to the verbal war of words he has lost so decidedly leading up to this highly anticipated showdown.
Let's give Jose Aldo his due. The man has been the UFC Featherweight champion for over five years, defeated seven challengers and has not lost a fight since 2005. He has legs the size of Redwoods and his hurricane-force Muay Thai kicks are the stuff of legend. There is no doubt that Jose Aldo is a force to be reckoned with and though McGregor will emerge from the cage victorious this will not be a walk in the park for the Dublin Destroyer, yet it will not go five rounds either.
McGregor has a two inch height and a four inch reach advantage which will keep Aldo at bay which means his devastating leg whips will only land a microsecond before he gets tagged with a hook to the face or an uppercut to the jaw. Aldo will not be able to sustain those exchanges as it takes longer to cut down a man's legs than it does to continue to be assailed in the face and head. McGregor has a peculiar fighting style that emanates from capoeira, a Brazilian martial art with African influences that manifest in a desultory, herky-jerky action making it difficult to connect with McGregor and quite easy to get blasted.
Dennis Siver was McGregor's last victim before this championship match with Aldo. Siver is a German kickboxer with plenty of power and a good counter-striker, a poor man's Jose Aldo shall we say in which there is no shame in that. Siver simply could not unload his heavy leg strikes as McGregor was moving and launching forcing Siver to defend. As the fight wore on it became a struggle for survival rendering Siver virtually impotent and unable to muster anything offensively against the relentless Irish menace.
Ultimately this fight will boil down to a test of wills. Those who place UFC picks know that Conor McGregor has a devastating arsenal that is no longer limited to a bone-crushing left hand. The southpaw formerly used his lead hand as a measuring stick to set up his power left but has recently transformed that right hand into a power jab which allows him even more options to do damage. McGregor will seek and destroy on July 11th and Jose Aldo will have no say in the matter. By the time the third round rolls around Aldo will be bloodied and battered leading to a TKO and the UFC Featherweight belt changing hands. Don't believe me? Just ask Conor McGregor.