Kenny Florian has always been one of MMA’s top guys when it comes to fight preparation. There is no doubt that Florian will have a strategy for the third title fight of his career, but how do you prepare for a fighter like Jose Aldo?
Florian meets Aldo in a bout for the UFC featherweight championship at UFC 136 Saturday night in Houston. If Florian intends to dethrone the champ, he is going to have to be prepared to do something that no one has been able to do in twelve fights. Aldo is 19-1 with his lone loss coming by rear naked choke in 2005.
Florian on the other hand has split his last two fights with a win over Diego Nunes and a loss to Gray Maynard. Florian made the move from lightweight to featherweight following the loss to Maynard. That move made him the first fighter in the UFC to compete in four different weight classes.
There have been questions about whether or not Florian can perform in the “big” fights. Florian came up short early in his career against Sean Sherk in a lightweight title fight as well as against BJ Penn which was also for the title. Then, with a title shot on the line, Florian was defeated by Gray Maynard.
While it can be said that Florian has never faced a fighter with the skill set of Aldo, it is also fair to say that Aldo has not faced someone with the skill set of Florian. Florian is a dangerous striker with elbows that cut like razors. He is a very technical striker that possesses sharp accurate strikes.
Aldo is a deadly striker with even deadlier speed to go along with his striking. He is untested on the ground in the UFC and WEC but holds a black belt in jiu jitsu. Aldo also works well in the clinch.
Florian does not bring the speed that a Urijah Faber does, but Florian will bring a more technical level of striking. Florian will have a four-inch reach advantage that should allow him find the mark with his jab. Florian will need to counter the brutal leg kicks of Aldo early and try to force Aldo into using his hands more than his legs.
This is going to an extremely technical battle. Florian has only been finished twice in his career. Aldo recently went to decision with Mark Hominick who is also a very technical striker.
Most of this bout will be contested on their feet. Florian may attempt a takedown early in the fight and throw in a few attempts to mix it up. Aldo will look to keep it standing.
Both men have the ability to finish the fight either standing or on the ground. However, this is a fight that will go the distance. Florian pulls out the narrow split decision victory. That may not be a popular pick as Aldo is an explosive fighter. Florian has the size and technical striking ability to overcome the speed of Aldo.
This bout takes place Saturday night in Houston at the Toyota Center. UFC 136 airs live on PPV at 8 PM CST.