UFC 129: Will Ring Rust Be an Issue for the UFC Featherweight Champ, Jose Aldo?
Jose "Junior" Aldo is the current UFC featherweight champion with an overall MMA record of 19-1 with 12 knockouts.
Prior to the purchase of World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) by Zuffa in October of 2010, Aldo steamrolled through the greatest featherweight competition within the WEC stable of fighters.
Making his WEC debut in 2008 at Arco Arena in Sacramento, Calif., Aldo defeated the extremely talented Alexandre Nogueira at the 3:22 mark of Round 2. Forcing a referee stoppage, Jose was awarded the TKO victory after an onslaught of vicious elbow strikes.
Destroying his next four opponents, Aldo was provided a title shot against then-WEC featherweight champion Mike Brown on Nov. 18, 2009.
Delivering devastating leg kicks, coupled with lightening-fast movement and tactically precise strikes, Aldo won the WEC featherweight championship with a TKO victory of Brown at 1:20 of Round 2.
Just six short months later, Aldo would be tested to his maximum ability in his first title defense as WEC featherweight champion versus Urijah Faber.
Defeating Faber by unanimous decision, Aldo landed a total of 32 kicks on the former champion, keeping Urijah off-balance and unable to control the intensity and momentum of the fight.
On April 30, "Junior" will defend his title for the first time. His matchup with Mark "The Machine" Hominick will be Aldo's first fight for not only the UFC, but in any capacity since his KO victory of Manny Gamburyan on Sept. 30.
Forced to take time off due to a neck injury, how will the ring rust affect Aldo?
Challenging for the UFC featherweight title is Hominick. An extremely talented striker in his own right, Hominick is patient, methodical and unrelenting. In short, Hominick dissects his opponents with surgeon-like precision.
This Muay-Thai kick-boxer from Ontario, Canada has engaged in various memorable battles inside the Octagon. Most recently annihilating fellow countryman, George Roop, on Jan. 22 of this year, Hominick's skills have been consistently tested during Aldo's layoff.
Capable of striking from various angles and with all eight limbs, "The Machine" is not as elusive a fighter as the champion. Mark will stand and trade in the pocket and then bounce out to analyze his next move.
Meanwhile, Aldo is known for his quick, gorilla-style striking with devastating results, which limits the back-and-forth trading conducive to Hominick's style.
The difference in their stand-up strategy favors Aldo and minimizes any adverse effects from his layoff. Even though Hominick has excellent head movement and strikes at various angles and planes, his stand-up style is to always push forward.
This tendency is advantageous against less elusive fighters who are lacking in their striking abilities. However, Aldo is a premier striker and his quick, explosive style counters Hominick's drive for pressure very well.
Who will win the UFC featherweight battle?
Additionally, Aldo's cat-like quickness and ability to move throughout the entire cage allows Jose to threaten his opponent at a multitude of striking angles and with knockout power.
Do I feel that Aldo will suffer from any ring rust come April 30?
Unfortunately for Hominick, I do not believe so. Jose will enter the Octagon as he has done 20 times prior with a fight plan consisting of elusive movement, quick, explosive exchanges and looking to land his bone-crunching kicks, which will ultimately lead to the knockout punch.
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