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Rarely has Aldo been given a challenge on the feet as tough as what Pettis will bring him, but he should still hold the advantage there. He should also be able to keep the action upright, just like he has against strong wrestlers Frankie Edgar and Chad Mendes in the past.
If the bout does see the mat it doesn't look as though Aldo will be at any grave disadvantage, though being on his back is not ideal.
The champ could a little tricky is he so chooses and put Pettis on his back. It would probably work to some extent and could help to preserve his energy for the championship rounds of the match.
Pettis is powerful and dynamic on the feet, but he is fighting Jose Aldo, so he's still in danger. It's possible he could land a big punch or kick and stop the Brazilian, but it's more likely that Pettis is the one who receives his first knockout loss rather than Aldo.
For "Showtime," his best chance in this one is to maintain a torrid pace and do what he can to wear Aldo down. The featherweight champion has a tendency to slow in the fourth and fifth rounds of his fights, so if Pettis can keep the action lively he could get a stoppage or score enough points for the win.
Whether he looks for the takedown often or decides to rely on his standup will be an interesting storyline to follow as the match progresses.
Projected winner: Aldo
Aldo's combination of remarkable striking and stout takedown defense make him a legitimate pound-for-pound player. While Pettis is certainly an excellent fighter, he's not at that level.
Aldo's sprawl and the threat he poses on the feet give him a big edge in the wrestling game, which will likely be of great importance.
A finish for the champ is improbable, though not impossible. A win, on the other hand, is not guaranteed, but it is probable.