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UFC 245 card: Jose Aldo vs Marlon Moraes full fight preview

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Featherweight strikers Marlon Moraes and Jose Aldo will go to war this Saturday (Dec. 14, 2019) at UFC 245 from inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Moraes came up short in his title bid opposite Henry Cejudo back in June and because of that defeat, it seems like fans have forgotten just how terrifying Moraes looked in his run up to the belt. Prior to that loss, Moraes was on a tear that saw him destroy most of the division’s top contenders, and the Brazilian is likely looking to remind fans of his potential for violence. Aldo, meanwhile, can likely relate to what it’s like to be overlooked following a loss. Still, his decision to drop down to 135 pounds after a competitive loss to top contender Alexander Volkovanovski is an odd one — most fans wanted him to go up to Lightweight! Nevertheless, Aldo will give it his best shot, and a win would put him close to the title.

Let’s take a closer look at the keys to victory for each man:

Marlon Moraes

Record: 22-6-1
Key Wins: Raphael Assuncao (UFC Fight Night 144), Jimmie Rivera (UFC Fight Night 131), Aljamain Sterling (UFC Fight Night 123), John Dodson (UFC Fight Night 120), Josh Hill (WSOF 32, WSOF 18)
Key Losses: Henry Cejudo (UFC 238), Raphael Assuncao (UFC 212)
Keys to Victory: Moraes is a brutal Muay Thai striker, as the Brazilian just kicks ridiculously hard. It only takes a few of his low kicks to immobilize an opponent, and just a single high kick to end things immediately.

This is such a fun fight because the same description could be applied to Aldo! “Scarface” may not be at the height of his powers anymore, but Aldo is still one of Muay Thai’s best representatives in the sport, and he can still destroy people with a single strike (at least he could as a Featherweight).

With that in mind, what adjustments should Moraes make? For one, both men are going to have to be careful with their low kicks, as each is better at checking than most opponents, and a broken foot could definitely sway the momentum in either direction. However, I’d really like to see Moraes focus on volume and pushing the pace. Whether he makes weight or not, Aldo’s new cut will leave him in unfamiliar territory, and the best way to force a major mistake is to attack the gas tank.

Jose Aldo

Record: 28-5
Key Wins: Chad Mendes (UFC 179, UFC 142), Frankie Edgar (UFC 200, UFC 156), Renato Moicano (UFC 232), Jeremy Stephens (UFC on FOX 30), Ricardo Lamas (UFC 169)
Key Losses: Max Holloway (UFC 218, UFC 212), Conor McGregor (UFC 194), Alexander Volkanovski (UFC 237)
Keys to Victory: Aldo is a legend of the sport, perhaps the greatest anti-wrestler to ever compete. Once an explosive ball of Muay Thai rage, Aldo has calmed into a precise and technical kickboxer with pretty excellent defense.

Between the two, Aldo seems the better boxer. Moraes has some tricky counters up his sleeve, but in general, he wants to keep foes way at the end of his kicks. Aldo is more comfortable in the pocket, able to see punches coming and rip brutal counters.

There’s the gameplan.

Aldo has to go on the offensive here and walk down Moraes. For one, if both men plan to kick, it’s easier to kick while moving forward. Secondly, Cejudo managed to exhaust Moraes with forward pressure last time out. If Aldo is able to apply similar pressure, perhaps it will be Moraes’ whose gas tank empties first.

Bottom Line

If Aldo is healthy at 135 pounds, this is a fantastic fight. And that’s a big “if.”

For the better part of two rounds, Moraes was in complete control against Cejudo, seemingly cruising toward the Bantamweight title. The momentum shifted, but it’s important to remember just how close he came to the title. At 31 years of age, there should still be plenty of “Magic” left in his career, and a win over Aldo will put him right back in the mix.

A second consecutive loss would be pretty devastating to his title aspirations.

Speaking of, Aldo has put himself in an absolute must-win position. If he comes up short here, would his body even be able to handle putting on enough mass to go up to Lightweight, which would seemingly be his only other option? Aldo hopes not to find out, and a win over Moraes would immediately introduce him to the title mix. If he looks like the Aldo of old, it could even secure him a title shot.

Remember that will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 245 fight card this weekend RIGHT HERE, starting with the Fight Pass/ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6:15 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on ESPN 2 at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC 245: “Usman vs. Covington” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.

At UFC 245, Marlon Moraes and Jose Aldo will square off. Which man will remain standing when the dust settles?

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