Jose Aldo has long been regarded as the greatest featherweight in the history of MMA.
While the Brazilian looks set to retire from the sport at the end of the year, you can bet on UFC 237 being a crucial part of his decision-making process.
Aldo, 28-4, has enjoyed an illustrious career that has spanned almost 15 years. On May 11 in Curitiba, Brazil, “Scarface” will be aiming to beat Australian upstart Alexander Volkanovski, who has gone 19-1 in his pro career since turning his back on professional rugby.
Bookmakers have released odds on the bout, and they are indicating that it will be no walkover for Aldo, the former featherweight world champion.
Volkanovski is unbeaten in the UFC and has been rising steadily since his debut in November 2016, which culminated in a TKO victory over Yusuke Kasuya in Melbourne, Australia.
Aldo has picked up two wins on the bounce since back-to-back losses against reigning 145-pound kingpin Max Holloway and could be tempted to postpone retirement plans if that title becomes available once more.
Before the Manaus-born superstar can entertain any thoughts of capturing his old title, he must first deal with the challenge of the powerful and dynamic Australian.
This one promises to be an old-fashioned striking exchange, and the bookmakers seem to be hesitant in making either man the standout favorite for the co-main clash at UFC 237 on May 11.
Latest Aldo vs. Volkanovski Odds
The odds below are provided by Bovada. Please see our list of the top UFC betting sites for localized recommendations and alternatives.
Jose Aldo to Win-145
Alexander Volkanovski to Win+115
These odds are accurate at the time of writing but liable to change.
Aldo comes in as the -145 favorite, which is no surprise given his pedigree.
The former two-time UFC featherweight champion and WEC 145-pound kingpin has only lost just three fights in his career at the Las Vegas-based promotion.
Two disappointing defeats to Max Holloway in 2017 and a now-famous KO loss to Conor McGregor in 2015 sandwich a win over Frankie Edgar in 2016.
Since the last loss to Holloway, Aldo is back to his winning ways, however.
Volkanovski is currently riding a six-fight winning streak and an overall perfect record in the UFC and will be aiming to take the biggest scalp of his career against Aldo.
The Aussie has his work cut out, but there are many who believe he is just getting started.
The Recent Form of Aldo and Volkanovski
Well, their last five bouts, to be exact.
While the fight game can often see competitors embark on streaks and skids, a great place to start when analyzing a mixed martial artist’s chances is how they fared in their previous bouts.
As we know, this doesn’t tell the full tale. However, if you are betting on Aldo vs. Volkanovski at UFC 237, you should be aware of how both men have come to be matched up.
Aldo is currently ranked first in the official UFC Featherweight Rankings, while Volkanovski sits in fourth place, behind Brian Ortega and Frankie Edgar. A win for the Aussie over the Brazilian legend will likely see him jump up at least a couple of places and closer to the number-one contender’s spot.
Not if Aldo has anything to say about that, of course.
Aldo’s Recent Form
- Renato Moicano – Win (TKO)
- Jeremy Stephens – Win (TKO)
- Max Holloway – Loss (TKO)
- Max Holloway – Loss (TKO)
- Frankie Edgar – Win (Decision)
Against Renato Moicano, we saw an excellent second-round performance and shift in energy from Aldo.
Having stood in front of his compatriot for most of the first round, looking for openings, Aldo ate a few shots from the rangier fighter. He seemed content to try to work out Moicano’s patterns and reluctant to step on the gas.
Moicano, who had only been beaten by the outstanding Brian Ortega prior to this fight, was the favorite to win on the night. He was certainly not the favorite with the crowd in Fortaleza in February, however, who chanted and cheered for Aldo all the way.
In the second round, Aldo saw an opening and went for it. His attack was reminiscent of the early days of the former champ’s career — he threw leaping hooks and straights, pursuing Moicano across the Octagon before landing a knee from a fleeting clinch, a sweet uppercut, and following up with three overhand rights to finish the job.
It was an excellent performance from Aldo and the first time he had strung two wins together since 2014.
Prior to dismantling Moicano, Aldo had put on an exhilarating performance against Jeremy Stephens. Stephens, who many had expected to finish his opponent, was bloodied in the first round by Aldo, who was often first to the punch in several toe-to-toe exchanges.
Stephens’ wild swings and hooks were countered by a nice jab, bread and butter straights, and covered by some great head movement and defense. Then, Aldo landed one of the most brutal body shots in UFC history to drop his opponent like a sack of potatoes and end the contest in the first round.
Prior to the win over Stephens, Aldo was dominated by the contender to his throne of the greatest featherweight of all time, Max Holloway. Aldo, to put it simply, had no answer for the excellent striking and volume of the Hawaiian and was beaten convincingly both times.
Prior to the losses to Holloway, Aldo bounced back from a 13-second knockout and the loss of his title to Conor McGregor with a smart win over the former 155-pound champ, Frankie Edgar.
Volkanovski’s Recent Form
- Chad Mendes – Win (TKO)
- Darren Elkins – Win (Decision)
- Jeremy Kennedy – Win (TKO)
- Shane Young – Win (Decision)
- Mizuto Hirota – Win (Decision)
Whether he likes it or not, Alexander Volkanovski will always be remembered as the man who retired Chad Mendes.
At UFC 232 in December, Volkanovski entered the contest with high hopes of grabbing his 16th win on the bounce but would invariably face a very tough test in the American wrestler.
That said, the fight was pretty much an exchange of kicks and punches for as long as it lasted. Volkanovski was searching for the fight-ending shot that wouldn’t come with Mendes working well off the counter.
When Volkansovski fought smart off the jab — incorporating a few feints to boot — he seemed to be capable of breaking Mendes down. However, it was Mendes that would typically land the first actual takedown of the fight towards the end of the first, with Volkanovski doing well to get back to his feet.
Following some excellent exchanges — and Mendes both dropping Volkanovski and taking him down again — the Australian was back on his feet. This time, he started landing bombs on Mendes, clearly hurting him in the process.
A left hook/right-hand combo dropped Mendes, and that was that.
It was a great performance by Volkanovski, who showed the same type of toughness, grit, and determination that was there in his decision victory over Darren Elkins the previous July.
Fighting for the first time in the US, Volkanovski was aiming for the finish but soon learned first-hand just how tough Elkins is. However, he did manage to deal with the relentless pressure and strikes of his opponent and took the win.
Prior to this fight, Volkanovski stopped Jeremy Kennedy with punches and elbows at UFC 221, which came after two decision wins over Shane Young and Mizuto Hirota.
What’s at Stake in This Fight?
This fight has an interesting narrative that is probably being overlooked a little.
On one hand, we have Aldo, the former dominant champion that looks set to bid farewell to MMA at the end of 2019, and Volkanovski, a fighter that could go on to become a featherweight champion as early as… the end of 2019.
Well, that is if Max Holloway wins the interim lightweight title against Dustin Poirier next week and vacates the 14-pound strap. If he doesn’t, Volkanovski could still land a shot against Holloway next, however, given that the champ has beaten Aldo (twice), Ortega, and would surely jump above Edgar with a win in his next bout.
Whatever way you look at this fight, the UFC can be congratulated for some excellent matchmaking.
If Aldo wins, they can convince him to hang on a little while longer with the promise of the next crack at the title — once again, assuming that Holloway vacates (which he almost certainly will do).
If Volkanovski wins, they have an unbeaten Australian who will almost certainly be granted a title shot. As we have seen with Whittaker and the promotion of Adesanya, the Australian/New Zealand market is one they are keen to develop on.
Needless to say, there is a lot at stake in this fight for both men.
When betting on the UFC, fights that have more on the line are generally the ones to go for. Especially those that feature two fighters on a relative par, such as this one.
Aldo vs. Volkanovkski – The Prediction
So, the old master vs. the would-be champion is a great narrative for the co-main event at UFC 237.
Aldo, as covered above, is the slight favorite in the early betting lines, with Volkanovski not a great distance off.
One particular factor I like about this fight is that five of Aldo’s last six fights have ended in stoppages while Volkanovski has never been beaten. The Brazilian does appear more keen to stand and bang these days, whether that is due to wear and tear catching up with him or a complete confidence in his power.
This is something that Volkanovski can potentially exploit, but then again, Volkanovski has never gone five rounds in his career.
Like many other frustrated UFC fans watching Aldo fight over the past few years, his lack of leg kicks has led to much confusion. He seems more intent on standing and punching, looking for openings and generally fighting a counter-punch style that can leave him vulnerable.
Against Moicano and Stephens, we saw him eating punches while sitting in the pocket and looking for the right moment to pounce. Both of these guys certainly had the power to drop him but didn’t, so this could end up giving Aldo more confidence in sticking with these tactics, which he more than likely will.
That said, Volkanovski is a stronger wrestler than both Moicano and Stephens, so he will need to be nimble on his feet and careful not to get too close.
Aldo’s reach is 70″, which is pretty much in the same ballpark as Volkanovski’s at 71.5″, so he won’t really want to base his game on picking him off from the outside. If anything, I can see Aldo taking the fight to Volkanovski early, which could set the tone for the entire fight.
Where the Bout Will Be Won
The old saying “form is temporary but class is permanent” can be used to describe Jose Aldo’s recent career.
Written off by almost every man and his dog following two losses to Max Holloway, it felt as though the overreaction was always going to bring the best out in the former champ. Holloway is an absolute killer and could go on to become the greatest fighter in the history of the sport with a few more big wins.
Aldo showed his class against Moicano and Stephens, and I believe he is finding a “second wind” as of late that can see him enjoy a little more success before he hangs up his gloves.
Volkanovski has momentum behind him and will be a tough opponent for sure. His wrestling is top notch, and he has excellent power, too, which makes this a very difficult test for Aldo.
That said, Volkanovski hasn’t come anywhere close to fighting anyone on Aldo’s level.
If he can land a takedown on Aldo — who is up there with the best takedown defense of any fighter in UFC history at 92% — he will be doing well. Aldo’s Luta Livre background certainly helps him in this department as does his excellent ability with reading takedowns and redirecting momentum.
If Volkanovski cannot take Aldo down — much like Chad Mendes and Frankie Edgar failed to do before him — the fight becomes an exchange on the feet.
Yes, McGregor and Holloway both stopped Aldo with strikes, but to say he has a weak chin on account of being stopped by two of the best punchers in MMA history is a baseless argument.
Although Aldo and Volkanovski will be prepared for the championship rounds, I don’t see this one going that far.
Wow, this is a tough one to call.
I am torn between both fighters but have to back Jose Aldo’s experience, Octagon IQ, and more refined skillset here. Not to mention that the proud Brazilian will be fighting in front of thousands of his countryfolk.
I am going to predict a stoppage for Aldo in the third round.
I have no doubt that this fight will be a barnstormer that will be contested at a high pace.
These two guys have everything to fight for, regardless of Aldo’s claims that he will hang his gloves up at the end of the year.
Someone with the fighting spirit of Jose Aldo will always find it hard to give up the only thing he knows and loves. With a win in this fight, he will be back in contention for the UFC featherweight strap and will be aiming to become the first ever three-time champion in the history of the division.
As for Volkanovski, a win over Aldo just might convince the Brazilian that he is done with the fight game.
Having previously retired another 145-pound legend in Chad Mendes, the Australian might earn himself something of a reputation with a win in this fight.
I guess we will find out on May 11.
Jose Aldo vs. Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 237 – Odds, Predictions, and Pick
Future UFC Hall of Famer Jose Aldo clashes with rising star Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 237. Here is my betting preview.