UFC 212- Rio De Janeiro: In one of the most exciting up and coming bouts of 2017, Current Featherweight champion Jose Aldo will take on interim champion Max Holloway, in a bid to unify the belts. So why is this such a great match up, and how should the UFC’s top brass go about promoting it?
Max Holloway is currently riding a 9-fight win streak that saw him claim the interim featherweight title last December. The win streak now leads him to Jose Aldo, the featherweight GOAT, with a chance to unify the belts. A 10-fight win streak is incredibly uncommon in the unforgiving sport of MMA and it is a promotional asset that must be celebrated at length in the build up to this fight. Interestingly, the last man to beat Holloway before he embarked on this streak was Conor McGregor- the usurped king. A win for Holloway could potentially set him up with the McGregor Money Fight, perhaps for the lightweight title.
To do this though, Holloway must get past the legend, Jose Aldo. The original and longest reigning featherweight champion who defended the belt a record 9 times.(7 UFC/ 2 WEC). After losing the title to Conor McGregor at UFC 194, he returned in spectacular form against Frankie Edgar at UFC 200. The interim title he won at 200 has since been promoted to undisputed champion.
The promotion must focus on: the impressive 10-fight win streak (noting the rarity); the fact that Conor was the last man beat Holloway (set up for potentional encounter); and build up the legend of Jose Aldo.
The nationalism theme should be in the foreground in the build-up to this fight. Brazil has become used to seeing a number of their countrymen wearing UFC gold, but a loss for Aldo will wipe him from the board and Hawaii will have the undisputed champ.
Max Holloway will proudly represent the state of Hawaii as he enters the octagon at 212. State-pride has been a significant part of Holloway’s identity and has managed to capture the Hawaiian crowd who would once have cheered on BJ Penn. This will be a clash of two proud fighting cultures as they scrap for their only claim to UFC gold.
The promotion must focus on: the fact that Aldo is the last Brazilian champ in the male divisions (adding to the stakes); clearly marking the fighters as national representatives, highlighting the impassioned fan bases and fighting culture from each place.
Youth versus Experience
Max Holloway is only 25 years old and is yet to hit the peak of his career- Jose Aldo 30 and has competed at the top of the game for many years. It’s interesting to observe that Aldo is only 5 years older than Holloway and has only had 8 more fights. Yet, the feel of this fight is very much one of a young up-and-comer versus the legendary veteran. Regardless of the validity of the trope, this fight must be billed as the hype train, hot prospect and would-be-king; taking on one of the all-time greats, the future hall-of-famer and the champion of the world.
The promotion must focus on: the legend status of Aldo; the youth of Holloway.
By Morgan Mcleary