I’ve been waiting for this fight for a long time, and I want to give my thoughts before it happens later tonight.
I think Aldo has the highest chance to win (by decision), but I want McGregor to win
McGregor’s greatest strength is speed, relaxation, and mobility. This can easily be removed by two of Aldo’s greatest weapons: leg kicks and jujitsu
McGregor has a much better chance of getting a knockout. He’s just more crafty, and his power is deceiving
I worry about McGregor having the same flaw in thinking that Rousey had, in thinking that he can take shots, survive, and ultimately exert his will on Aldo. That’s a bad move. Even if Aldo doesn’t just knock him out like that, he can inflict so much damage that it’ll prohibit McGregor from being himself. And from there Aldo can keep inflicting damage or taking him down
Aldo could easily get a decision victory if he just took McGregor down and controlled him, did some ground and pound, and tried a couple of submissions. But he’s less likely to do this because 1) he’s emotionally invested in hurting McGregor because of all the disrespect that has happened in the lead up to the fight.
Getting Aldo mad is a calculated effort on McGregor’s part, because the best possible scenario for him is to have Aldo, with shorter reach, come at him directly and angrily. That plays perfectly into his smoothness, his angles, and his deceptive power
The unorthodox kicks that McGregor does work better on MMA fighters than on kickboxers, so they’ll present more risk for him in this fight
Aldo loses energy and creativity in rounds 4 and 5 (and sometimes the third as well). If it goes that far, and McGregor isn’t too injured to be creative and smooth, he starts to get a significant advantage. Aldo could start trying to shoot at this point to get out of danger. If McGregor can’t stop those takedowns it could be a relatively boring fight
McGregor’s reach could help him significantly with his striking, and be a challenge for Aldo. This could lead to more leg kicks and takedown attempts vs. pure exchanges
What I want to happen
I’m hoping McGregor can taunt Aldo into a pure striking match, and I would love to see McGregor dominate him with supernatural striking, resulting in a knockout.
As I explained before, I want McGregor to be as great as he thinks he can be. It’s good for the sport. It’s good for all sports. It’s just really enjoyable to watch and be a part of.
I want him to be our new Ali. So that’s why I’d like to see him win via spectacular striking, in a way that people will talk about for decades.
Also, and importantly, if McGregor wins (and especially if he dominates him), I want McGregor to be humble. To be respectful. And to be super cool in general. It’s fine to hype and all, but he needs to give some respect back to equalize the universe.
The most likely fight map, by round
That’s what I want to happen. But here’s what I think is most likely to happen.
R1: They exchange on the feet due to adrenaline and emotion. McGregor scores more, but eats a couple of leg kicks.
R2: More standing exchanges, with Aldo taking McGregor down 1-3 times. McGregor gets back up and/or they’re stood back up. More exchanges, Aldo shoots, repeat.
R3: McGregor is taunting to prevent takedown attempts. Aldo keeps shooting, and the crowd starts booing. McGregor ups the body language and gets the crowd on his side, basically saying Aldo is afraid to fight.4: R4: More standing exchanges. McGregor is starting to land more now, but doesn’t seem perfect because Aldo has landed some significant shots as well, including numerous leg kicks.5: R5: Aldo gets a couple more takedowns and controls the ground easily, McGregor lands a few decent shots but doesn’t really hurt Aldo too badly.
MOST LIKELY OUTCOME: Aldo wins by decision (not unanimous).
So I’d say my analysis turned out to be pretty good. Aldo did in fact fight off of emotion and came straight at Conor, and got hit by superior speed/timing/fightIQ.
And we have our Ali.
I wish it had gone longer, but it’s the outcome I wanted.
Once the fight starts I will not touch this post, except to add notes at the end in a section titled: POSTFIGHT ANALYSIS, clearly delineating what I thought before vs. what actually happened. I am doing this so I don’t poison my own prediction with hindsight.