While drumming up popularity for the lower weight classes in the UFC has been a challenge since its merger with the WEC, Jose Aldo continues to transcend all lack of interest at featherweight, as he defends his title for the fifth straight time since entering the league when he takes on Chan Sung Jung on Saturday at UFC 163.
As Aldo, one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the world, takes on a fighter who has seemingly defied all logic in his ability to take punishment and still find victory in Jung, the featherweight championship fight again promises to be a compelling battle.
In addition to the main fight, UFC 163 features a bout between two of the most talented light heavyweight fighters in Lyoto Machida and Phil Davis, both of whom could make a case for a title shot with a definitive victory.
Let's break down the odds and statistics behind all the key fights on Saturday night to see where the value lies.
Jose Aldo (minus-700) versus Chan Sung Jung (plus-500)
The record of Aldo more than paints a picture of what to expect in this fight, as he has lost only once in his career, which occurred nearly eight years ago. Since coming into his own in the sport, Aldo has definitively held the featherweight belt since winning it in the WEC in 2009, having defended his title six times against some of the sport's top competition. Against Jung, it should be business as usual for Aldo, as he faces an opponent who presents far less of a challenge than previous foes.
While the initial strikes landed per minute (SLpM) comparison between the two fighters may seem like it favors Jung -- with Aldo possessing a 3.46 SLpM to Jung's 4.61 SLpM -- these statistics tell only half of the story, as Jung owns a distinct style and strategy. One of the things that Jung is most known for, made famous by his nickname the "Korean Zombie," is his ability to absorb an incredible amount of damage and still come out on top. With Jung owning a high 3.77 strikes absorbed per minute (SApM) rate, compared to Aldo's elusive 1.91, the numbers take on a different meaning. Taking the SLpM and SApM ratios in context, Aldo lands nearly twice as many strikes as his opponents (1.81) while Jung lands just 1.22. In a division in which knockouts aren't the norm, Jung has had success with this strategy, but against Aldo, who holds an incredibly elevated finishing rate for a featherweight, Jung will most likely find that his game plan won't work.
Given that Aldo has closed out 13 out of his 22 career wins by KO/TKO, Jung will have a much more difficult time conceding strikes and remaining upright than he has in the past. With Jung having fallen victim to KO/TKO via a head kick by George Roop, he won't find himself any safer against the dangerous kicks of Aldo.
With the combination of one of the worst defensive fighters facing one of the sport's most dangerous strikers, consider Aldo at even a large minus-700 favorite a reasonable price for what should be just as much of a rout as the odds indicate.
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