If you ask a group of people to analyze the first bout between Max Holloway and Jose Aldo that took place at UFC 212 in June, the evaluation would basically be the same: the Brazilian won the first round, the second was closer and the knockout came in the third.
But what do the athletes’ coaches think about the first encounters between their pupils? I talked to Andre Pederneiras and Ivan Flores to find that out, and also what their thoughts are on the rematch, which takes place this Saturday at UFC 218.
“The first two rounds, Aldo won,” said “Dede,” the Brazilian’s head coach. “The third was close and then the punch landed. It can happen to anyone. I am not underestimating Holloway’s momentum, he’s a great athlete, but he managed to land that combo. I think Aldo stopped in a moment he couldn’t have stopped, the hand landed and that was it.”
HOLLOWAY VS ALDO 2: THIS IS FOR LEGACY
“Definitely, we think Aldo won the first round,” said Flores, the Hawaiian’s striking coach. “The second one was close, I think it could have gone either way. Even before the knockout, I feel we were in control of the third. The change in dynamics had already happened. We feel after Max spent some time with him in the cage, he got more comfortable and things started working for us.”
The interesting thing about a rematch is to know that those two fighters already shared some Octagon time together and had the chance to study and find out the power and speed of each other. But, according to Flores, a second encounter is not necessarily advantageous for both athletes.
“There are pros and cons. Pros for both are that they have already studied each other. But the cons I believe will weigh more for Aldo. That’s because Max already felt his power and he got over it. Aldo broke, and I think that’s still on his mind. If Aldo had won that fight, he would have more advantages. And with Max taking him down and knocking him out, I think it’s his advantage,” he said.
So what can we expect from this reckoning between the Brazilian and the Hawaiian? According to Pederneiras, the matchup has the potential to surprise, no matter what the result will be.
“I think that because Aldo is a faster athlete and with knockout power, the matchup is good for us. ‘Oh, but he was knocked out before.’ Okay, but until that point it was a close fight that was in the third round and he had won the previous two. It’s a fight in which either one can knock the other out in the first round, or dominate for five rounds. I think it’s a very close fight,” he said.