UFC 194 Picks: McGregor vs. Aldo Style Differences

Swinging Johnson

Saturday, December 12, 2015 6:50 PM UTC

Saturday, Dec. 12, 2015 6:50 PM UTC

The most hyped fight in MMA history arrives Saturday night as two ferocious featherweight champs lock horns in Sin City. Let’s look at the style differences between Conor McGregor and Jose Aldo and see if we can gain an edge in our UFC picks.

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UFC Pick: McGregor +108
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle


Aldo Brings Unique Skill Set
One might ask what does Jose Aldo bring to the table that will wreak havoc and mayhem on The Notorious? First and foremost Aldo employs a murderous brand of Muay Thai that can incapacitate an opponent especially when that booming leg whip lands directly on the lead leg of the man in front of him. Aldo continually uses that tactic and it is akin to chopping down an oak tree. Once the talented Brazilian stings that lead leg a few times his opponent thinks twice before every act of locomotion. Oftentimes Aldo's adversary becomes so consumed with protecting his leg it prohibits him from making any forward advances and once Also has his man on that red alert defense you can turn out the lights.

Jose Aldo is not a one-trick pony however. The featherweight king has a skill set that runs far beyond a fundamental Muay Thai attack. Aldo is a black belt in BJJ and Luta Livre which is essentially Brazilian catch wrestling as well as the owner of a masterful takedown defense. Aldo is in the rarified air of having defended a whopping 91 percent of his opponents' takedown attempts which places him sixth among the pantheon of MMA greats.


McGregor Bad to the Bone
Conor McGregor has an eccentric approach that emanates from capoeira, a Brazilian martial art with African influences that is often on display in McGregor's herky-jerky style whether he be attacking or defending. The mad Irishman's success has been inducing strikes against him that he effortlessly defends, causing his attacker to fall off balance. Once that happens the hunted becomes the hunter and McGregor very rarely misses with his counterstrikes when he has set up his target. McGregor has devastating power in both hands and is not reluctant to use knees and elbows when short range attacks are required.

However, unlike Jose Aldo, McGregor is rather pedestrian on the ground. The Interim Featherweight king has only one submission on his record and is not a grappler by any stretch of the imagination. However he does have a decent takedown defense and has defeated such accomplished grapplers as Dennis Siver and most recently Chad Mendes. But Mendes was a tough out for McGregor and he made us sweat as we backed the Irishman in our UFC picks in his last outing where the UFC odds makers installed him as an approximately a -200 favorite over the challenger. McGregor is not often called upon to defend the takedown because he stops it dead cold in its tracks by countering with a fusillade of kicks, punches, elbows and knees.

Must Read: Bet The Most Hotly Anticipated Clashes Of The Year

Betting Analysis
If Aldo can control this fight on the mat then it could be a long night of lay-and-pray for the champion. However, as unremarkable as that game plan is it could in fact be the right one as mat control alone could win this one even if it is diametrically opposed to what Dana White and the UFC want out of this mega hyped match. While Chad Mendes almost had his way with McGregor and even bloodied him up pretty good with a few well placed elbows it was all for naught. Eventually McGregor made it back to the standing position and finished Mendes off in the second round. While Mendes may be the superior grappler to Aldo he does not possess the submission repertoire that the Brazilin enjoys.

McGregor will need to strike and exploit any opening he sees but that will be difficult with Aldo unleashing the full might and fury of his blistering leg kicks. My initial reaction to this fight was partly based on the euphoria of McGregor's dominating performances but then I glance over at Aldo and this dude has not lost in over 10 years making him one of the baddest men on the planet. As of this moment the line has done a fierce turnabout with McGregor originally being slated as a -180 favorite but now Aldo is the small chalk in Sin City on Saturday night. I still say side with McGregor +108. 

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