Petr Yan vs Jose Aldo
Petr Yan (-245) (14-1-0)
Yan has fought his way to the top of the bantamweight division and is one win away from UFC gold. He’s an undefeated 6-0 in the promotion and has an extensive boxing record as well, earning a Master of Sport in Russia. He made light work of Urijah Faber in his last fight but Jose Aldo will surely be his toughest test to date. Yan is a patient fighter and throws good combinations with excellent power. He has a solid fight IQ and fights with a lot of confidence. Yan is still young in his career and while a win over Aldo would be big-time, he’d still have a lot of proving to do with guys like Sterling, Moraes, and Garbrandt right behind him.
Jose Aldo (+205) (28-6-0)
Jose Aldo comes into this title shot on a two-fight losing skid. He dropped a tight split-decision to Marlon Moraes in his bantamweight debut, and an unanimous decision to featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski before that. Believe it or not, Aldo’s a mere 3-5-0 in his last eight fights. With that being said, Aldo has an excellent opportunity to rewrite a conclusion to his legacy on Saturday night. He’s looked surprisingly good cutting down to 135 pounds, absorbing some big shots against Moraes and being the busier fighter down the stretch. Despite his recent shortcomings, Aldo has an excellent opportunity to get another belt in another weight class and add to his already legendary career.
Prediction: Jose Aldo via Decision
Jose Aldo’s recent results are a bit deceiving. Sure he’s lost five of his last eight, but the losses have come against Conor McGregor, Max Holloway twice, Alexander Volkanovski, and Marlon Moraes. Among those losses, he’s also picked up early knockout victories over both Jeremy Stephens and Renato Moicano.
While Yan has looked great every step of the way, he hasn’t fought anybody like Aldo yet. His last fight was against a 40-year old Urijah Faber and before that Jimmie Rivera gave him a few problems. Yan took the unanimous decision thanks to a couple of timely knockdowns, but he was out-struck by Rivera in both total strikes (76-58) and significant strikes (73-56).
Yan’s defense needs improvement and while he can get away with it against guys like Jimmie Rivera and John Dodson, Jose Aldo will make him pay. Aldo’s jab was extremely sharp against Moraes and I think it’ll be the deciding factor against Yan. He’ll have a 3-inch reach advantage and I expect him to be the stronger fighter. Take the underdog Aldo by Decision.