UFC 212 Primer: Back Aldo to Unify Featherweight Title Vs. Holloway

aldo holloway

Friday, June 2, 2017 5:03 PM GMT

It's UFC 212 from Rio de Janeiro on Saturday night, and like all cards in that country it's headlined by a Brazilian: Jose Aldo looks to become undisputed featherweight champion when he takes on No. 1 contender Max Holloway. Our capper shares his thought on that and other bouts.  

The UFC will head to Rio on Saturday as Brazilian Jose Aldo will face Max Holloway as the two featherweights will look to unify the 145-pound championship at UFC 212. On the surface, it is a very solid but not terribly spectacular card with star power. But if you dig a little deeper, you will find some very intriguing lines that could garner you a little extra cash.

Starting at the top is a fascinating showdown between Holloway and Aldo. Both fighters are champions (Holloway is the interim champion) and both have lost to Conor McGregor, who is no longer a featherweight. How they looked against McGregor shouldn’t be taken into account considering that Aldo was caught cold with a left hand and Holloway was still very early in his MMA career.

Although Aldo was widely recognized as the best (or tied for the best) pound-for-pound fighter in the world before losing to McGregor, the oddsmakers have given Holloway a great deal of respect. Aldo originally opened up as a -135 favorite and has shifted to near even money. As of this writing, he’s a -145 favorite. That’s where he should be.

Granted, Holloway has put together an impressive 10-fight winning streak since losing to McGregor but hasn’t quite faced the level of competition that Aldo has. Although they have both fought Ricardo Lamas and Cub Swanson, there are very little similarities between the two portfolios.

It’s difficult to see Aldo as anything less than a -150 favorite here because of his tenure. Granted, Holloway has looked like a young lion ready to claim his place on the throne. However, Aldo looked remarkable when he defeated Frankie Edgar at UFC 200 for the vacant featherweight title. It was probably the sharpest he has looked since knocking out Chad Mendes five years ago. Age won’t be a factor, and Holloway’s length won’t be an issue, either.

It all boils down to experience, and Aldo has the edge. If he deploys the leg kicks that have made mincemeat out of his opponents’ thighs, Holloway could find a lot of his offense nullified. Aldo at anything less than -150 is an easy wager, here.

Elsewhere, we have a women’s strawweight tilt between Claudia Galdelha and Karolina Kowalkiewicz. Both have suffered losses at the hands of champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk and are looking to find their way back into the title picture. The winner is immediately tossed right back into said picture.

Despite only having one loss to Jedrzejczyk, Kowalkiewicz comes into this fight as a +280 underdog with Galdelha sitting as high as -373. This line seems completely unreasonable, although Galdelha is the more well-rounded fighter. However, with the division still being relatively new, it’s odd to see such a wide line between the two fighters who have only lost to the champion.

Neither is a devastating finisher, and this fight truly depends on where it is contested. If it remains standing, Kowalkiewicz will have an advantage in the striking department, while Galdelha has the edge if the fight goes to the ground. If the fight were even money, the advantage would go to Galdelha but since it is not you shouldn’t pass up on this opportunity. The fight should be competitive and doesn’t come close to reflecting why this line is so wide.

Vitor Belfort has been steam-rolled in his last three fights but is a -160 favorite against Nate Marquardt. Considering that he’s provided little resistance to his opponents defensively, having Belfort as the favorite is a gift for Marquardt. Although both fighters are a shell of their previous incarnations, Marquardt is worth taking a hard look at as a +140 underdog.

Erick Silva (+125) has been difficult to trust because you just don’t know which version is going to come out and fight. Some days his aggression sets up some exciting finishes, while other times he looks lethargic. But in front of his countrymen, he should have all of the motivation he needs to perform against Yancy Medeiros (-145).

Free UFC Pick: Aldo -140Best Line Offered: 5Dimes

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