Given his history, pitting José Aldo as the favorite in his recent UFC 212 title defense against Max Holloway would’ve been an understandable perspective. But despite fighting at home, having more experience and owning a black belt in jiu-jitsu, the Nova União athlete and two-time UFC featherweight champion was defeated after he abandoned two weapons that are said to be his most effective tools: takedowns and kicks.
Andre “Dedé” Pederneiras, Aldo’s longtime coach, analyzed his star pupil’s defeat in an interview with AG. Fight, claiming that straying away from the game plan was his undoing as well as – and that might come as a surprise – winning the first two rounds.
“What went wrong was [Holloway’s] punch he landed entering the third round”, Pederneiras said. “Aldo had already adjusted to the distance, I think that gave him extra confidence going into the third round, which was a deadly mistake. The strategy was to stay non-boxing and put [Holloway] down and try to finish the fight on the ground.”
Assuring that takedowns and kicks would’ve surely brought a fighting pace that would’ve been more suited to his student, “Dedé”, however, avoided commenting on rumors of a possible leg injury that is said to have disrupted Aldo’s training.
“We didn’t change anything, we know exactly what went wrong and the conditions we had for this fight”, he teased before dismissing the possibility of Aldo going up in weight in the near future: “He first wants to win his belt [back] and then think of super fights.”
Aldo stayed undefeated for ten years, five of which he was the undisputed UFC featherweight champion, before losing his title to Conor McGregor in 2015. After winning the division’s interim title with a victory against Frankie Edgar and getting promoted to undisputed champion last year, Aldo lost his belt via third-round technical knockout to Max Holloway earlier this month.