UFC Fight Night: Font vs. Aldo Preview

A living legend of Mixed Martials Arts will headline the next UFC installment as Jose Aldo makes the walk to take on Rob Font in the bantamweight division. Rising Kyrgyzstan prospect, Rafael Fiziev, will share the cage with hard hitting Brad Riddell in the evenings co-main event of a stacked UFC Vegas 44 card. A monster 15-fight card, buckle up and let me take you through each fight.

When Jose Aldo first announced his arrival to the 135-pound division, I was massively skeptical. The former featherweight champion proved me wrong, but he did have a slow start. Aldo lost a close split decision to Marlon Moraes in his bantamweight debut, a defeat which strangely earned him a shot against Petr Yan’s belt at the time. The Brazilian started well in what was his 16th title fight in his career. As the fight progressed towards the later stages ,Yan imposed his will and forced a stoppage in the fifth round. Being honest, that stoppage should have been much sooner.

After that defeat, retirement talk loomed for the Rio de Janeiro man after taking such a beating beating. Aldo didn’t listen, he did what all great competitors do he dusted himself off and found that fire, got himself back to the gym to work towards one more shot at glory. The result was a much more polished Jose Aldo vs. Marlon Vera, a man that looked more comfortable at 135-pounds. Aldo took home a unanimous decision that night. He followed that with another win on the scorecards last August when he defeated fellow Brazilian Pedro Munhoz at UFC 263. Next up is Rob Font and one could argue a win could very well put him in contention for yet another crack at the bantamweight title.

Rob Font has been on an impressive journey himself over the last few years. A loss against Raphael Assunção in 2018 was the last time the Florida man has tasted defeat. Font now fights out of Boston with the New England Cartel alongside Calvin Katter. Coming into face Aldo, Font is looking for his fifth straight win. This is the biggest fight, and the biggest test of his career to date. At 34, Font does not have time on his side nor does his opponent at 35, but this may be Rob Font’s only chance to make a run at the title. Aldo has been there and done it all will he have the hunger and desire to match that of Fonts? A Rob Font who was only dreaming of title shot when Aldo reigned supreme all those years ago?

What has impressed me most is the speed and accuracy of Rob Fonts boxing which caught Cody Garbrandt off guard the last time we seen Font compete inside the octagon. His confidence has built throughout his current 4-fight win streak and I do feel we see the absolute best Ron Font in the main event Saturday night. Aldo will need to be able to counter the speed of Font. “Junior” had difficulties dealing win Petr Yan’s speed in the later stages of their fight which cost him big time.

For Aldo, the path to success is to go back to the Aldo of old and find a home for those leg kicks to try and nullify Font’s footwork. Another thing to watch is the high guard of Font and I’ll expect to see Aldo com in with some body shots if Font does have his hand a little too high in the guard. All the questions surrounding Jose Aldo will be answered on Saturday. The big question is can Aldo erase Font? I can’t wait to find out.

Two heavy hitters will lock horns in the co-main event as Rafael Fiziev takes on Brad Riddell in the lightweight division. Fiziev has won his last four and Riddell is riding a 7-fight win streak, both guys are coming into this clash in very good form. This will be a banger. Clay Guida will make the trip to the cage for the 57th time as he goes up against Leonardo Santos in the 155-pound division. Jamahal Hill returns after that horrific arm break from his defeat by the hands of Paul Craig in his last outing. The light-heavyweight prospect takes on Jimmy Crute who suffered a nasty leg injury in his last fight against Anthony Smith. Very excited for that match-up. Brendan Allen has won his last two as he gets set to faceoff against knockout artist Chris Curtis in the middleweight division. Curtis devastated Phil Hawes with a beautiful left hook and will be looking to stay inside the win column on Saturday night. Mickey Gall looks to keep his winning streak alive after an impressive first round rear-naked choke over Jordan Williams. He takes on the highly experienced Alex Morono in the welterweight division and that contest will open up the main card.

Maki Pitolo is without a win in his last five, his opponent, Duško Todorović is on a two-fight skid of his own. Both middleweights will go to battle in the prelims headliner. In the welterweight division, Jake Matthews looks to get back to winning ways after a defeat to Sean Brady in his last outing. Matthews takes on Jeremiah Wells in the welterweight division. Wells won his third straight fight when he knocked out Warlley Alves the last time he stepped inside the octagon.

Manel Kape didn’t have the best of starts in the UFC, losing fights and missing weight has hindered his progress. The former Rizen champion produced a stunning flying knee knockout in his last outing, Kape steps in to take on Zhalgas Zhumagulov in the strawweight division. Undefeated prospect Darian Weeks makes his promotional debut against the tough as nails Bryan Barberena. Weeks took this fight on short notice and the former IMMAF competitor has a tough task on his hands. A win against a UFC veteran such as Barberena would make a big statement in the welterweight division.

Cheyanne Vlismas, formally Buys, makes the walk to challenge Mallory Martin in the women’s strawweight division. It’s clear by William Knight’s physique that he lifts all the weights and has massive power. Knight goes toe-to-toe with hard hitting Alonzo Menifield in a light-heavyweight showdown. Chris Gruetzemacher will face-off against Claudio Puelles in the 155-pound division. Louis Smolka will open up proceedings when he takes on Vince Morales in the opening bout of the evening.

UFC Vegas 44 Main Card ESPN/ESPN+:

Bantamweight: Rob Font (19-4) vs. Jose Aldo (30-7)

Lightweight: Rafael Fiziev (10-1) vs. Brad Riddell (10-1)

Lightweight: Clay Guida (36-21) vs. Leonardo Santos (18-4-1)

Light Heavyweight: Jimmy Crute (12-2) vs. Jamahal Hill (8-1)

Middleweight: Brendan Allen (17-4) vs. Chris Curtis (27-8)

Welterweight: Mickey Gall (7-3) vs. Alex Morono (20-7)

UFC Vegas 44  Prelims On ESPN/ESPN:

Middleweight: Maki Pitolo (13-8) vs. Dusko Todorovic (10-2)

Welterweight: Jake Matthews (17-5) vs. Jeremiah Wells (9-2-1)

Strawweight: Zhalgas Zhumagulov (14-5) vs. Manel Kape (16-6)

Welterweight: Bryan Barberena (15-8) vs. Darian Weeks (5-0)

Strawweight: Cheyanne Vlismas (6-2) vs. Mallory Martin (7-4)

Light Heavyweight: William Knight (11-2) vs. Alonzo Menifield (10-2)

Lightweight: Chris Gruetzemacher (15-4) vs. Claudio Puelles (10-2)

Bantamweight: Vince Morales (10-5) vs. Louis Smolka (17-7)

Ian O'Neill is the host of the SevereMMA UFC Preview show and one of the co-hosts of The Auld Triangle - Irish MMA podcast. You can find more of Ian's work on the SevereMMA Patreon where he co-hosts The Chasing Pack and The Contender. Follow him on Twitter and on Instagram @ioneillmma

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