Analysis: A closer look at the co main event at UFC on ESPN+ 2

This Saturday on February 2nd, we have another clash between two Brazilians, most likely to determine the next title challenger.

Former WEC Featherweight Champion and former two-time UFC Featherweight Champion, Jose Aldo (27-4) fighting against none other than the former Interim Jungle Fight Featherweight Champion, Renato Moicano.

Jose Aldo has been in the limelight for years and years now; he became known to many when he fought Urijah Faber in the WEC’s only ever PPV card at WEC 48, or when he made his UFC debut against Mark Hominick at UFC 129, or maybe when Conor McGregor drew more eyes to the sport when he was on the rise, or challenging Aldo. Regardless of how long you’ve known him, he’s been there and done that many times over, while Moicano is still looking for his chance to really break through as the top guy at 145 lbs.

Right after winning the Interim Jungle Fight Featherweight Championship, he made his UFC debut, winning via submission in round two, before picking up a pair of split decisions over Zuba Tukhugov, and Jeremy Stephens in his next two outings. He then had his close and competitive fight with Brian Ortega, up until the stoppage with 91 seconds left on the clock, then won via unanimous decision against Calvin Kattar, and dropped Cub Swanson early with a jab and finished him in the first round a few months later.

Many people were questioning why this isn’t the main event, and when Dana White answered that Aldo did not want a five round fight, many still questioned why that is. Well, for starters, if anyone remembers his WEC days, he went 5-0 in three round fights and won all by knockout. He stopped Mike Brown in his first title fight in round two, he went the distance with Urijah Faber, finished Manny Gamburyan in round two, and had since only had two finishes, one of which was a TKO to an injury, and the other with one second left in round one, where many people dispute whether he would’ve got the finish if he wasn’t grabbing the fence. Point being, he often times won decision after decision as champion, why?

When he has to prepare for a five-round fight, it wears on your body more than preparing for a three-round fight; and the fight itself, he doesn’t have to worry about getting tired. What happened in his first three round fight in nine years? He scored a first-round knockout over an incredibly tough Jeremy Stephens, who had never been finished like that before, ever. He knows he’s always done well in the first three rounds and starts to fade afterwards. If he only has three rounds, he can be more explosive and go for the finish more, and I love that. I miss the old Jose Aldo that’d just destroy everyone with beautifully reckless Muay Thai, during his title reign he stagnated, doing a similar thing that Georges St Pierre did, just beat everyone with the basics, which worked for a while. However, St Pierre used his ground game and striking to beat his opponents, Aldo has only ever really used his striking.

Both of these men have two black belts, Jose Aldo’s in Luta Livre and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and Renato Moicano’s in Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. I think this will mainly be a stand-up fight, but who knows, this is MMA with two of the top featherweights on planet earth. Tune in and enjoy the scrap!

Report: Aldo vs. Moicano scheduled for UFC on ESPN+2

 

Former two-time UFC featherweight champion, Jose Aldo (27-4) is set to square off next against fast-rising talent and fellow Brazilian, Renato Moicano (13-1-1) on February 2nd in Fortaleza, Brazil.

Headlining the card will be a rematch between top bantamweights Raphael Assuncao (27-5) and Marlon Moraes (21-5-1). Some may question why they get the spotlight over Aldo and Moicano, but I like this idea.

Firstly, the first fight between Raphael Assuncao and Marlon Moraes ended in an incredibly close split decision over the course of three rounds. Now, in case it goes three close rounds again, they’ll have another two to really decide who the number one contender at 135.

Secondly, I like the idea of Jose Aldo in three round fights if he’s not fighting for a belt; dating back to his WEC debut when he was 10-1, he has a finish in every single three-round fight to this day. He hadn’t had a three-round fight scheduled in 8 1/2 years leading up to the Jeremy Stephens fight, and he finished it in just over four minutes. He knows when he’s scheduled for three rounds that he doesn’t have to worry about his cardio. His cardio is always good until after the first three, and he conserves himself almost the entire fight because five rounds have always been tough for him. He knows he can be explosive and go for it whenever he wants now, which makes for an even better, and more exciting Jose Aldo. He would just destroy everyone until they couldn’t take it with beautifully destructive Muay Thai, it was always violent.

Renato Moicano has some Muay Thai of his own, as he is a black belt in it, and is also longer than Aldo; he stands 4” taller and has a 2” reach advantage on him.

Both men are elite level black belts in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, but we see much more of a ground game from Moicano. We have seen him submit Tom Niinimaki in his UFC debut, a guy that multiple time world BJJ Champion Rani Yahya couldn’t do when he fought him. His next two bouts seen him take a pair of split decisions, one over highly touted Russian prospect Zuba Tukhugov, and longtime UFC vet Jeremy Stephens; before losing to last weekends featherweight title challenger Brian Ortega, and has since rebounded with a UD victory over Calvin Kattar, and first-round submission over Cub Swanson.

A note to take, Moicano has submitted six of his thirteen opponents, all by rear naked choke; Aldo does have one loss via rear naked choke, however that was over 13 years ago at this point. Aldo does have one submission win, it was via arm triangle but that was even longer ago than his submission loss. Sixteen of his wins are by (T)KO, both men are coming off first-round finishes in common opponents.

Until Aldo’s last win, he was in a real rough patch; losing three of his last four, all by knockout. Getting slept against McGregor, then taking a ton of damage in each Holloway fight, many of us thought Aldo would never be the same. To be KO’d, to have a great rematch with Edgar and make it easier the second time, then losing back-to-back poundings, a lot of us assumed his best days were behind him. Then to come out against Stephens like he did, getting hurt against a guy like that, not quitting and getting the stoppage shortly thereafter, it was the Aldo of old for sure.

This is a very interesting fight, and it’s looking like it’ll be a promising card I’m very excited for this one.