Jose Aldo Fighting Style Breakdown part 3

If you are on part 3, and you missed part 2, here’s part 2

Here’s part 1 if you missed the beginning

Part 3

Aldo has shown a strong tendency to fight on the counter; mainly depending on the opponent to lead and capitalizing on their mistakes. Here, we’re going to look at how Aldo dealt with an opponent with more reach.

Against an opponent like Kenny Florian, he posed a similar roadblock for Aldo; it was not easy for Aldo to use retreating and countering against an opponent with more reach. Aldo could be seen dealing with this by moving around the pocket to counter to maintain being in range, instead of moving away and hoping to land a counter.

While stepping away from the pocket, you can’t counter unless the opponent moves in to meet your range. It’s even harder when the opponent has greater striking range than you. The advantage of moving around the pocket is that you don’t have to wait for the opponent to move in, you can simply fire off your counter as soon as you hit that new angle around the pocket. Look at this example:

aldo PHS cross - counter
Aldo waits for Kenny’s attacks and pivot on the outside to return his right counter

Aldo does have other methods of counter other than drawing you in. when he does counter, it’s very common to see him to create angles right afterwards. You can get an idea at this point that Aldo strongly favors fighting off the counter. He doesn’t go on the approach as much as he does fighting off the counter. When he does approach, he does some subltle use of head movement.

From the tapes I’ve studies, he’s doesn’t lead too often, but when he does, it’s always with something different from his previous fights. Aldo actually has a wide variety of how he leads in a fight. He’ll sometimes combo or he’ll close in at angles. Here a few examples that show consistent methods for which he likes to approach.

Fighters like Mendes have mentioned that feints from Aldo are very subtle but lets take a closer look. Pay close attention to Aldo’s shoulders here in the next gif below. The key to landing the gazelle uppercut is in that subtle shoulder movement. The tricky thing is the attack is well disguised–you sometimes don’t know if the shoulder movement is going to be a cross or something else like a gazelle uppercut. They both hit different offensive rhythms, allowing you to take advantage of the opponent’s reaction.

aldo gazelle uppercut  cross - lead.gif
Here you can see Aldo using the gazelle uppercut/ leaping cork uppercut outside of the opponents lead leg, similar to Conor Mcgregor’s

aldo gazelle uppercut lamas.gif

Aldo gazelle uppercut, leg kick - lead.gif
Gazelle uppercut, ends with leg kic
connor hop stepping lead uppercut.gif
Conor’s gazelle uppercut

This case, Aldo uses regular gazelle hook

aldo gazelle hook on hom - lead.gif
Standard gazelle hook Mike Tyson was known for

Here Aldo sidesteps and creates angles either by throwing the stepping hook or jab

aldo sidestep lead pivot hook - lead.gif
Sidestepping lead pivot hook

Aldo has some pretty standard striking methods he uses when working in the pocket. He’ll either work in combos or work to manipulate your guard.

aldo hook, switch, uppercut cross - lead.gif
Aldo throws a hook, chad opens up his guard up the middle, Aldo follows to throw the uppercut right up the guard
aldo jab, jab, hook - lead.gif
Aldo throws the stiff jab right down the centerline and notices Mendes parrying while opening up his rear guard, Aldo then fires off a lead hook to the opening

One of the more common ways you see Aldo lead is by setting up leg kicks to open the head up for more punches.

aldo kills leg, opens head - lead.gif
Edgar’s guard falls apart once his stance is broken, opening him up

I didn’t include examples, but Aldo has had some pretty good moments working the body too, however I just mainly wanted to introduce some of the more common habits you see Aldo using in his fights.

So lets recap on the whole series here. We know that Aldo is constantly making little subtle changes, but there are plenty of habits that are still apparent with Aldo. Here are just a few of notable traits of Aldo:

  • Prominently likes to fight off the counter
  • Creates angles and maintains the distance with counters
  • Evasive and usually won’t stay in the pocket too long for you to trade
  • Will adapt accordingly to the opponent’s style and physical ability
  • Great at landing leg kicks with volume and timing
  • Excellent stiff jab
  • Good takedown defense
  • Has shown to be less effective with countering against fighters who hand fight

It’s hard to say what he will use in any upcoming fight. He may not demonstrate some of the approach examples I showed here but his movement and counter style fundamentally are the same.

Thank you for reading my breakdown. Please excuse any kind of spelling errors and such. If there are any other fighters you’re interested in knowing more about let me know.


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