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Keys to Victory! Who will win Max Holloway vs. Jose Aldo UFC 218 main event fight tonight

MMA: UFC 212-Aldo vs Hollway Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports

A highly-anticipated featherweight title rematch will transpire later this evening (Sat., Dec. 2, 2017) at UFC 218 live on pay-per-view (PPV) from inside Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Mich., when current UFC champion Max Holloway steps inside the Octagon for his first title defense opposite former champion Jose Aldo.

Remember, Holloway defeated Aldo via third-round TKO back at UFC 212 this past June. “Blessed” was scheduled to take on Frankie Edgar later tonight at UFC 218, but Edgar was forced to withdraw due to injury and Aldo happily stepped up on a few weeks notice.

In order to prepare ourselves for UFC 218’s impending headliner, let’s take a closer look at what both Holloway and Aldo need to do in order to leave Detroit victorious.

Max Holloway

1. Lead the dance...

As one of the most efficient offensive strikers in UFC today, Holloway is at his best when he’s able to dictate the pace, find his range, land in bunches, and force his opponent to absorb copious amounts of damage in little time.

While Holloway was able to put an end to Aldo the first time around, “Blessed” was tagged more than he’d like in the early going. To remedy that this time around Holloway must get out to an early lead, be first to the punch, turn Aldo into a reactionary fighter, and let his creativity fly.

2. Volume over violence...

With a naturally long build and the ability to land from the outer edges of the pocket, Holloway often picks his opponents apart with sheer volume (sort of like Michael Bisping). That’s not to say that the Hawaiian doesn’t possess considerable power in his punches and kicks, he’s just better when he’s throwing out combinations, relying on his footwork, changing up stances, switching up levels, and attacking more than just the head.

Considering Holloway was able to sting Aldo back at UFC 212 and put him away within three rounds “Blessed” may be on the prowl for a finish tonight in the rematch. That’s not going to bode well for the champion as Aldo’s going to come out a different fighter. So instead of head hunting and searching for a violent end to his first title defense, Holloway should pick his shots, score in bunches, conserve his power, and turn it on what it matters most.

Jose Aldo

1. Back to basics...

For whatever reason Aldo did not utilize his legendary kicks against Holloway in their first title fight. It was a shock to many considering the Brazilian is known to turn legs into minced meat. Instead of letting his kicks lead the way Aldo relied on just his hands against a rangy striker like Holloway, which eventually led to his demise.

Fortunately for Aldo, he’s going to have the opportunity to improve his gameplan for Holloway this evening in Detroit and it all starts with his leg kicks. If the former champion wants to do enough damage in the beginning of the fight in order to set himself up to control the action in the later rounds he’s going to have to lean on his Muay Thai, attack with knees inside, keep Holloway at bay with whipping leg kicks, and look for openings to the body.

2. Embrace the ground game...

Odds are this title rematch is going to stay on the feet and both Holloway and Aldo will duke it out like they did at UFC 212. However, that gameplan didn’t work so well for Aldo the first time around so maybe he should change up things tonight at UFC 218.

Instead of standing in front of Holloway and letting the Hawaiian establish range and find his rhythm from distance, Aldo should look to level change in spurts and force the champion to defend a takedown or two. While Holloway is active off his back and has recorded a few submission finishes throughout his career, Aldo is in a different league when it comes to grappling. Maybe that’s the area he can expose to open up more holes in the standup.

Prediction: Holloway via unanimous decision

MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 218 fight card, starting with the Fight Pass "Prelims" matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6:15 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on FOX Sports 1 at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET.