The UFC is back in New Jersey this weekend for a stacked pay per view event. UFC 169 features two title fights in the Bantamweight and Featherweight divisions respectively. Long time Featherweight champion, Jose Aldo, will take on surging contender, Ricardo Lamas, in the co-main event of the evening.
Jose Aldo has not lost a fight in 9 years. Under the Zuffa banner he is 13-0 including marquee victories over Chad Mendes, Urijah Faber, Frankie Edgar, and more. Aldo has looked seemingly unbeatable and indomitable during his reign as the WEC/UFC Featherweight champion. He has defended his title twice in the WEC and five times in the UFC. His most recent win was a TKO victory over Chan Sung Jung at UFC 163.
Ricardo Lamas has not lost since coming into the UFC from the WEC. Unfortunately for him, he has only fought 4 times in the last three years. Regardless, Lamas holds victories over Cub Swanson and Erik Koch, both by finishes. He has been passed over for a title shot numerous times, but he finally gets his chance this Saturday night.
Today, I compile and breakdown some GIFs of the two fighters, previewing their battle this weekend.
Ricardo Lamas is a bruiser. He can hurt you on the feet or on the mat and has the ability to dictate where the fight goes. In the GIF above, watch Lamas’ fight ending ground and pound on Erik Koch. Lamas brutalizes Koch with hellacious elbows, causing a nasty gash, and forcing the ref to step in. Koch was thought to be the new breed at Featherweight, and Lamas put him away in violent fashion. If Lamas is able to get Aldo on the mat in the later rounds, he could hurt him with his ground and pound.
The point of the GIF above is to show Lamas’ toughness. Anyone who fights Jose Aldo will be put in bad positions, and will really have to dig deep if they want to pull out the victory. Lamas has shown heart and determination before, especially in his fight against Cub Swanson. In the GIF above, Lamas is in Cub Swanson’s full guard and gets caught in a deep guillotine. Swanson is not only a black belt in BJJ, but he is also an expert when it comes to the guillotine choke. Lamas does not panic, but fights back to his feet, forcing Swanson to let go of the choke. While his escape may not be the most technical, the fact that he fought out of the choke at all is impressive. Even more impressive is that Lamas was able to latch on a fight ending arm triangle in the second round. Lamas will need to show the same type of determination against Aldo who will likely put him in many bad positions.
As noted earlier, Lamas is dangerous on the feet because he mixes it up so well. Lamas will throw kicks, knees, elbows, punches, and even utilize capoeira techniques if he sees fit. His offensive arsenal keeps his opponent guessing, leading to openings in their defense. In the GIF above, watch Lamas finish Matt Grice in uber impressive fashion. Lamas nails a perfectly placed left high kick off of an uppercut to the forehead of Grice. Once his opponent is wounded, Lamas pounces and finishes the job with a powerful left hook. Obviously Matt Grice is not Jose Aldo, and it would be unlikely for Lamas to hurt Aldo in this fashion. The point here is that Lamas mixes it up very well, and that could leave holes in Aldo’s defense.
There is no glaring weakness in Jose Aldo’s game. He is truly an all around expert in Mixed Martial Arts. In the GIF above, NCAA division 1 All-American wrestler, Chad Mendes, attempts to take Jose Aldo down. Incredibly, Aldo’s takedown defense is impeccable, as he stuffed all seven of Mendes’ attempted takedowns. Aldo’s defense is a mix of technique, balance, and pure athleticism. This GIF is not to say that Lamas could not takedown Aldo, but Mendes is certainly the more decorated wrestler of the two. The key will be if Lamas can make it to the later rounds, where we have seen Aldo gas slightly and be taken down.
If you have ever seen Jose Aldo fight, you know his unbelievable striking acumen. Often times fans will focus on Aldo’s offense, but miss the expertise in his striking defense. In the GIF above, Mark Hominick attempts a jab, 1-2, and hook that all miss due to Aldo’s head movement. This is on the level of Anderson Silva vs Forrest Griffin, minus the counter striking. That is not to say Aldo can not counter strike, but he chooses to utilize head movement to frustrate Hominick. Head movement will be key against a savvy striker like Lamas. Hominick does not mix it up the same way that Lamas does, so Aldo’s head movement will need to be on point in order to avoid the big shot.
As mentioned earlier, the point of this GIF breakdown is to show Aldo’s all around game. We already know his unbelievable mean streak, his ability to finish fights, his BJJ acumen, and his takedown defense. Well, in his last fight against Chan Sung Jung, Aldo showed off a new fold in his game; the takedowns. In the GIF above, Aldo paws out a left jab, which Jung attempts to counter. Aldo ducks Jung’s wild left hook, clinches him, and gets the outside trip takedown. This is high level grappling at it’s finest, and shows that Aldo is dangerous everywhere.
Final thoughts: Jose Aldo may very well be the best fighter on the planet right now. He has been so dominant in all aspects of MMA for quite a while, and there seems to be no end in sight. The point of this GIF preview was to show off parts off Aldo’s game that are rarely exposed and broken down. Aldo’s highlight reel finishes tend to get all of the hoopla, but those come as a result of his all around game.
If Lamas wants to win this fight, he will need to survive the early rounds. Aldo definitely slows down in the championship rounds, and that could be the perfect time for Lamas to capitalize. If Lamas mixes it up on the feet well enough to confuse Aldo, he may be able to get him to the mat and do damage with his ground and pound.
Aldo will look to utilize his offense, including his deadly leg kicks, in order to win this fight. Both of Lamas’ losses have come by way of TKO/KO, so expect Aldo to look for the finish early. As noted earlier, Lamas will have to show a lot of heart and determination when he is eventually put in a bad spot from Aldo.
At the end of the day, I see this fight going in favor of Jose Aldo. Aldo will work his leg kicks early and often to slow down Lamas, who will likely get frustrated and leave openings in his defense. Aldo will look to capitalize off Lamas’ aggressiveness and I expect him to get the finish in the the third round.