Marlon Vera aims to take the biggest scalp of his career against José Aldo, who needs a win after tasting defeat in his last three fights. Will Aldo turn his recent form around to show he can compete with the best at 135lbs?
José Aldo (28-7) is the former two-time UFC featherweight champion and defended the belt seven times – a UFC record for most defenses and consecutive defenses in the division. Now at bantamweight, the Brazilian will be eager to get back to winning ways after tasting defeat in his last three outings.
José Aldo “Junior” joined the UFC in 2010 as the inaugural featherweight champion, and notably defended against former lightweight champion Frankie Edgar at UFC 156 by unanimous decision, also winning their rematch for the interim title at UFC 200 in the same manner, after which he was promoted to champion. He lost his belt for the first time against Conor McGregor at UFC 194, being knocked out 13 seconds into the fight and losing his first bout in nineteen contests stretching back over a decade.
Aldo’s second stint as champion was ended by Max Holloway at UFC 212, and although he was awarded a rematch in his next fight he could not reclaim the gold. Aldo also has a fight against current featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski to his name, losing all rounds in a unanimous decision defeat.
Vintage Aldo! @JoseAldoJunior gets back in the Octagon Saturday 🇧🇷
[ #UFCVegas17 | LIVE Saturday on #ESPNPlus ] pic.twitter.com/VEo27o14ws
— UFC (@ufc) December 15, 2020
Aldo has since moved to bantamweight but has lost both his bouts in the division so far. His most recent was a title fight against Petr Yan in which he was beaten by TKO in the fifth round at UFC 251.
Aldo has lost five of his last seven fights but has a 10-6 record in the UFC, including six unanimous decision victories. His UFC losses have mainly been via KO/TKO, four of his defeats coming in this manner.
I expect Aldo to try and keep the fight standing as he may feel that Vera is stronger on the ground. At 34 years old, Aldo is six years older than his opponent and will hope his championship experience shows this weekend.
👑 If you come at the King, you best not miss…
The surging 🇪🇨 @ChitoVeraUFC looks to vanquish the legendary 🇧🇷 @JoseAldoJunior at #UFCVegas17! pic.twitter.com/u4bu4HFvmo
— UFC (@ufc) December 18, 2020
Marlon Vera (16-6-1) is the only Ecuadorian UFC competitor and appeared in The Ultimate Fighter (TUF): Latin America before making his promotional debut as a bantamweight in 2014.
Now 10-5 in the UFC, “Chito” won his last fight against the previously undefeated Sean O’Malley by TKO with 20 seconds of round one remaining at UFC 252. Despite losing a bout at featherweight before that, Vera has won his last six at bantamweight.
Vera has had three fights a year since 2017 and this will be his third of 2020 – five of his UFC victories have been by TKO with another four coming by way of submission. He has never been finished as all of his defeats have come by unanimous decision.
A win here, after making a step up in competition against a former UFC champion, would likely move him into the top ten in the bantamweight rankings.
Prediction: Vera by KO/TKO.
Follow Rob Bartle on Twitter
Other articles by Rob Bartle via his Medium page