The Ultimate Fighting Championship returns from a rare weekend off thanks to the annual American bonanza that is Thanksgiving, but is back with a bang. Headlining the card is former two-weight champion Jose Aldo, who will be fighting off the back of two consecutive wins. He faces a man just one place ahead of him in the UFC’s rankings at 135lbs, Rob Font, who can make it five wins in a row and stake his claim for a title shot after the rematch between Aljamain Sterling and Petr Yan.
Aldo’s reputation precedes him immensely; a defensive wrestling expert with a penchant for brutal leg-kicks and prolific Muay Thai striking ability. At the age of 35, the Brazilian has entered the twilight of his career but you wouldn’t know it. He might not have the same fight-ending ability as his younger self but his last two bouts against Marlon Vera and Pedro Munhoz have seen two unanimous decision wins.
His last time out was an incredible return to form and proved that he hasn’t lost his title credentials, with a dominating final ten minutes of the fight earning him the decision. His losses to Yan and Marlon Moraes do highlight that he may have lost his power but a fight against a strong boxing opponent like Font will give him a chance to prove that he’s worth a spot in the top three of the bantamweight division. After his boyhood football team, Flamengo, lost the Copa Libertadores final last week, he might also have some built up aggression to release in the cage.
Font made the switch to the UFC back in 2014 from the New England-based CES MMA. Aged 34, Font is in a similar position to his Brazilian counterpart, in that he too is in the twilight of his career. This is potentially the last chance he will get to reach ‘contender’ status for the bantamweight title and he needs to make the most of what could be the toughest fight of his career so far.
For the neutrals, this fight is sure to stay on the feet, with Aldo’s impressive 91% takedown defence rate and Font’s preference to ‘stand and bang’ rather than get caught in a clinch or on the ground. The American may also have to take a page from the Tony Ferguson book of conditioning, and perhaps practice kicking some lead pipes to help protect him from the vicious leg kicks that will be coming his way. Aldo tends to chop down the tree from its base, and if Font is unable to defend those kicks, it’s going to be a long night.
Also featured on the card is fighting veteran Clay Guida, who will be facing another old hand in Leonardo Santos - a fight that might be a slow burner, rather than one of a barn variety. Jamahal Hill also returns to the cage for the first time since having his arm broken by Paul Craig last year, fighting Australia’s Jimmy Crute who found his way to the UFC via Dana White’s Contender Series back in 2018.
*18+ | BeGambleAware