Max Holloway respects Jose Aldo, saying he’s one of the greatest ever in mixed martial arts. Holloway, though, is hoping to play a part in beginning to end Aldo’s career. The Hawaiian fighter beat Aldo in his native Brazil in June, earning the featherweight title, and he is aiming to do it again in a rematch at UFC 218 in Detroit.
“It’s kind of like passing the torch,” Holloway said. “This is my time. I’m here to build a legacy, and I think I can cement it Saturday night.” Holloway (18-3) has won 11 straight fights since losing to Conor McGregor in 2013. He was scheduled to headline the card against Frankie Edgar, but Edgar broke an orbital bone a few weeks ago while training. That gave Aldo another shot.
Aldo (26-3) plans to take full advantage.
“It was a faster rematch than I expected, but I am ready because I was training to fight in a couple weeks,” he said through an interpreter. “I will show that I’m still a champion and I’m still the best.”
Here’s a look at some of the other fights on what UFC President Dana White called “a sick card” at Little Caesars Arena:
EDDIE ALVAREZ (28-5) versus JUSTIN GAETHJE (18-0)
Even though three matchups will follow the American lightweights, this might be the most intriguing one. “I predict that is the fight of the night,” UFC President Dana White said in a telephone interview Thursday night.
Alvarez is ranked No. 4 and Gaethje is right behind him in the 155-pound division in limbo because its champion, McGregor , hasn’t fought in the UFC since he knocked out Alvarez nearly 13 months ago. McGregor made about $100 million for boxing Floyd Mayweather Jr. in August, and White doesn’t think he’s in a rush to compete.
Some, including White, are saying Alvarez and Gaethje may brawl and grapple in the sport’s most violent fight ever.
Gaethje grew up in Safford, Arizona, and believes his experience as a high school quarterback and pitcher helped him learn how to throw a punch. He has plenty of experience on the ground, drawing from his wrestling career as an All-American at Northern Colorado.
With an undefeated record, Gaethje is very confident about his chances against Alvarez.
“I’ll make one prediction _ one of us is going to sleep,” Gaethje said.
ALISTAIR OVEREEM (43-15) versus FRANCIS NGANNOU (10-1)
The winner may move a big step toward fighting heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic. Overeem is the top contender, and Ngannou is ranked No. 4.
HENRY CEJUDO (11-2) versus SERGIO PETTIS (16-2)
Cejudo, who won a gold medal in wrestling at the 2008 Olympics, is hoping to unleash some karate moves he’s added to his repertoire against a fighter he believes is one of the best on his feet in a matchup of two of the top four in the flyweight division.
TECIA TORRES (9-1) versus MICHELLE WATERSON (14-5)
Torres, hoping to get closer to an opportunity to fight women’s strawweight champion Rose Namajunas, does not plan to take her time against Waterson. “I’m going to be the aggressor,” Torres said.