In the main event of UFC 212, featherweight champion Jose Aldo will attempt to unify the title against interim champion Max Holloway. Aldo got back on track at UFC 200 after losing his title against Conor McGregor, while Holloway is riding a 10-fight winning streak that dates to 2013.
The following is a breakdown of the statistical categories that could end up being the difference on Saturday night.
Both fighters are particularly hard to hit. Aldo avoids 71 percent of his opponent's significant strike attempts, while Holloway has forced his opponents to miss 67 percent of the time. Among ranked featherweights, Aldo is first in striking defense. Holloway is tied with Mirsad Bektic for fourth-best. Since Holloway and Aldo are extremely difficult to land against, the more aggressive fighter could possibly have the advantage.
Holloway is a more active striker. In the UFC, the Hawaiian has attempted 13.2 significant strikes per minute. In his last two fights combined, he has thrown 413 significant strike attempts. On the other hand, Aldo has a more measured approach. During his combined UFC/WEC career, the Brazilian has attempted 7.6 significant strikes per minute. If both fighters struggle to land meaningful strikes, the fight might swing to Holloway. His style will give him many more opportunities simply due to his higher overall volume.
Both fighters land 43 percent of their significant strike attempts, but due to his edge in volume, Holloway lands more significant strikes per minute than Aldo. Holloway lands 5.67 per minute compared to 3.28 for Aldo. The downside of higher volume is that it leaves fighters open for reprisals. Despite having stellar defense from a percentage standpoint, Holloway still eats 3.74 significant strikes per minute. That number is well ahead of Aldo, who absorbs only 2.09 per minute. Holloway holds a small edge in striking differential: 1.93 to 1.19. However, if Aldo can slow the fight down and counter in the striking exchanges, the bout might align more with his style.
Aldo and Holloway both have standout takedown defense. Aldo has stopped 92 percent of his opponent's attempts in his UFC/WEC career. Holloway has successfully defended 83 percent. Considering those stats and the style of both fighters, takedowns are not expected to be a major element of the fight on Saturday night. However, wrestling could turn out to be an X factor of sorts. Holloway has not lost since dropping back-to-back fights against Dennis Bermudez and Conor McGregor in 2013. In both of those fights, he allowed his opponents to land four takedowns each. Since then, Holloway has shored up that part of his game, but it might still be a weakness that Aldo could attempt to exploit.