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UFC 212 – Aldo vs Holloway Betting Lines and Fight Prediction

Max Holloway(17-3) @ Jose Aldo(26-2)

  • Where: Jeunesse Arena. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • When: June 3, 2017 8:00 pm EST
  • Moneyline: Aldo (-150) vs Holloway (+120)
  • Over / Under: Over 4.5 Rounds (-190) vs Under 4.5 Rounds (+135)

Unity of mind and body is a common trope in martial-arts films. The more wisdom and political power a character has, the better he or she is at Kung Fu or other fighting disciplines. World religions and cultures differ on this point, so while the Wizard of Oz is a meek man behind the curtain, the Japanese mob boss is always a tough out in a sword-fight.

The latter is usually the case in sports. After all, even the fact that a competitor is in top physical shape is a sign of wisdom and discipline. It is the unwise fighter like Roberto Duran who spends weeks carousing after winning a title match…only to lose the next one to Sugar Ray Leonard.

For an MMA talent to become a star, brains and charisma must back up the brawn. But not all competitors are good at handling success. Bettors have observed perpetual change in almost every UFC weight class. Amanda Nunes is a much stronger and more resilient fighter now than in 2015 or 2016 – gamblers who predicted her demise based on results of earlier matches have gotten rear-choked right out of their cash.

Max Holloway appears to be the next big deal in the Men’s Featherweight division, carrying a 10-fight winning streak into this weekend’s title match against Jose Aldo. Aldo is still smarting from a freak insta-loss to Conor McGregor in which he was knocked out after only 13 seconds. Scarface recovered enough to score an impressive win at UFC 200 over “The Answer” in a match that didn’t leave many questions, and is a slight money line favorite for Saturday’s main event.

But if Holloway comes out smiling and shooting punches at Aldo’s head, as McGregor did, will the Brazilian veteran react like Pai Mei, or The Wizard? And is the younger Hawaiian, who went from owning a paltry 7-3 record to being one of the most feared featherweights in MMA, a potential value wager as the hot up-and-comer and an underdog on the betting board?

Let’s take a look.

Aldo vs Holloway – History vs hot streak

MSB always recommends betting on what will happen next, not on what has happened in the past. The Brazilian’s minus-ML for this fight could be a product of over-zealous “historians” among the book-makers who have witnessed his decade of dominance.

While the shock-knockout at the hands of McGregor might not be the death knell to a championship career, it showed that Scarface isn’t always bringing his A-game beyond his 20s. Once a fearsome lightning bolt that could cut opponents to pieces, Aldo has not scored a knockout since 2013, hasn’t stopped a fighter with a single blow since 2012, and hasn’t forced a submission in the current decade.

Instead, the 30 year-old has become like an aging Floyd Patterson or Michael Spinks, excellent at defense and point-scoring but vulnerable to unique, energetic opponents. When Mendes and Aldo met over five years ago, the Brazilian landed a KO on block-splitting knee in the 1st round. When the pair fought again more recently, Aldo had to dodge and weave his way to a decision.

Holloway, meanwhile, looked like a predator when overwhelming Pettis at UFC 206 in December. A swarming counter-attacker, the American has a tricky sweep-takedown technique that we predict will be the key to this fight.

Aldo’s defense is par excellence, but he knows that Holloway is dangerous on the ground. “Blessed” Max has perfected a guillotine choke that finished Cub Swanson two years ago. The veteran will defend and stay on his feet, but the threat will keep him backing up and unable to use his arms and legs in combination to punish Holloway’s head and upper body.

That means the furious 25 year-old is the real favorite. Backing up, guarding your knees, chucking and ducking is excellent concussion-protocol but won’t win Aldo a decision over Holloway. MSB calculates a better-than-50% chance the Hawaiian will score the minor upset on a decision or late-round TKO. That makes the (+120) money line bet a strong value at two or three units.

Click here to wager on Max “Blessed” Holloway to beat Jose Aldo at UFC 212 and receive a welcome bonus from Bovada Sportsbook.

The undercard

UFC 212 had its share of disappointments and last-minute switch-ups in cobbling out a complete card. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t good bets hiding in front of our eyes.

Speaking of eyes, even if yours aren’t being treated to pay-per-view or the friendly scenery of a bar, all seven of Saturday’s undercard matches are available streaming or on Fox Sports 1. Two of the cable TV match-ups are likely to earn a payout for the savvy bettor.

Bantamweight Rafael Assuncao is carrying favorite’s odds to beat Marlon Moraes, a unique fighter with tremendous spin moves and punishing strikes. Somehow, bookies have overlooked that not only is Moraes unbeaten in his last 13 fights, winning six by TKO and two by submission. Wager units on the Brazilian upstart, who we expect to come out at a fast pace and overwhelm the part-timer in short order.

Johnny Eduardo is another 135-pound athlete who has been in and out of the ring while coaching superstars full-time. Eduardo’s appearance here seems like too much of an ol’ college try to stop his opponent Matthew Lopez (-150) who recently chain-wrestled Mitch Gagnon’s ears off and has won seven fights by 1st round knockout.

Play the upward trajectory

Brock Lesnar’s recent flame-out due to a PED scandal looked inevitable in retrospect. The brutally-strong athlete is just too flighty and undisciplined to handle success. But that wasn’t the narrative when he was in the ring, menacing opponents.

Saturday’s main event presents the opportunity for a forward-looking value bet that predicts its own hindsight. Holloway is five years younger, twice as aggressive, more consistent, and more dangerous than Aldo at this stage.

Bet on the young American lion to win the Featherweight title in Rio.

Kurt BoyerThis article was written by Kurt Boyer

A freelance sportswriter from Missouri, Kurt has covered court, gridiron, rink and ring for 10+ years. He muses about High School football on social media as The Gridiron Geek.

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