Jose Aldo Jr. vs. Jonathan Martinez prediction | UFC 301 1

The King of Rio, Jose Aldo Jr., returns to the octagon after retiring from the sport two years ago. He comes back to fight in his home of Rio de Janeiro against an up-and-coming bantamweight, Jonathan Martinez.

Like Aldo, Martinez is a prolific striker with an emphasis on low kicks. He has undoubtedly taken stock in the legend as he himself grew through the sport and looks to truly showcase a changing of the guard moment. For Aldo, this fight marks the final bout on his UFC contract, so a big win would afford him numerous opportunities in the combat sports world, and a loss, a disappointing way to once again leave the UFC. A lot rides on this bout for both fighters in the co-main event of UFC 301.

Betting Odds

While the odds are close, oddsmakers back Martinez to defeat the former Featherweight champion.

  • Jose Aldo Jr.: +125 (BetUS)
  • Jonathan Martinez: -155 (BetUS)

Fight Breakdown

The men share a similar height and reach but fight in opposite stances. Martinez is a southpaw kickboxer and Aldo a conventional striker who utilizes both high level Muay Thai and boxing.

Jose Aldo typically sets a very high pace, he is a fast-twitch and explosive fighter who sometimes had difficulty maintaining his output over five rounds but should be comfortable enough in this three round event. He likes to plod forward with a light lead leg to check kicks, but thrusts his weight forward to punch at full clip. He does not often jab to cause damage, but he does throw his lead out to draw out his opponent’s boxing or to set up his right hand.

He likes to prod, slip, and counter over the top of his opponent’s left hand with his right hook or left hook to the body and chain from there. Against the southpaw Martinez, this will be even more pronounced. Expect to see them hand fight on the lead side, and for Aldo to rip his hook to Martinez’s liver, where he normally attacks the sternum. Likewise he will have more of an opening attacking straight from his right hand to the open stance of Martinez.

This is, of course, a double-edged sword. Martinez as a southpaw will have had more opportunities to fight and train against conventional fighters like Aldo than vice versa. Martinez also has a devastating left body kick that either lands flush or, at the very least, burns into his opponent’s forearms when they are forced to block. He also has a lot of experience landing the inside low kick on the open stance whereas Aldo became famous for his own leg kicks mostly cutting down into the outside thigh of other orthodox fighters.

That being said, the Muay Thai style lead leg of Aldo will make it easier for him to check the low kicks that will no doubt come his way. He is a much better kickboxer by a high degree than Martinez’s former opponents and if they are to engage in a battle of low kicks, where Martinez has accuracy and volume, I do believe the pure power lies on Aldo’s side.

Martinez should look for a habit of Aldo to slip his opponent’s right cross by leaning back and rolling his chin with the shot. Against conventional fighters given proper space, this is safe enough, but with the left kick loaded behind it, Aldo has to stay zeroed in on his defense. The other aspect to keep in mind is the back pocket jiu jitsu of Aldo.

Although Martinez has thus far shown an ability to hang with very good grapplers, he did lose out positional battles against Said Nurmagomedov just two fights ago and found himself defending his back on more than one occasion. Jose Aldo, while almost always looking for a striking match, knows when to rack up control time in a closely contested fight, as shown in his fight with Marlon Vera. Jose Aldo has the veteran experience to know that if he needs to, he can go to his world-class grappling skills if it seems Martinez is starting to get the better of the exchanges.

Fight Prediction

I think this is going to be a very exciting fight. It will be telling to see which of the two men get the better of the low kicks as they have both become synonymous with. Expect the frequency to come from Martinez however Aldo seems to throw less but do a lot more per individual kick in the latter part of his career.

They share a close height and reach, but there is no doubt that Martinez does his best work from range, with his kicks and sharp, long boxing, while Aldo wants to slip into the pocket and counter inside. distance will play a major factor, but I think because it is a three-round fight and because he does have the jiu-jitsu pedigree in his back pocket, Aldo, as an underdog, has a lot of options on top of a very close striking matchup.

Pick: Jose Aldo to win (+125 at BetUS)

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