Kenny Florian continues his quest for UFC gold, this time in the Featherweight division as he takes on Jose Aldo this weekend at UFC 136. Florian has been with the UFC since the very first seaon of the reality show ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ where he fell short, losing to Diego Sanchez. He has also lost two bids to become lightweight champion, dropping fights to Sean Sherk and BJ Penn. His run of not being able to win the big one is unlikely to change against Aldo this weekend.
Florian does have a shot, don’t get me wrong. He was a long and bony 155 lber, and at 145 lbs his length will be used against smaller athletes. But the truth is that he has taken advantage of cutting his opponents with elbows, and against Aldo if he cannot cut him, he will be at a disadvantage in almost every aspect of the game.
Florian is a very skilled black belt in Brazilian Jiu jitsu, but against Aldo, whose black belt is from Nova Uniao, a submission is highly unlikely to materialize.
This leads to the striking, where Florian will have some advantages in reach. But I am of the opinion that speed kills, and Aldo is going to be faster. Aldo is skilled enough to avoid the elbows of Florian and win the stand up game for the full five rounds.
In his last outing against Mark Hominick, Aldo was not as dominant as he had shown in the past. Florian is clearly more skilled than Hominick. However, that is what it will break down to. When facing a high skill opponent, it comes down to technique and game plan, and conditioning and will.
There is no doubting Aldo’s skill, and Florian does not have a good track record against guys with that level of preparation. BJ Penn owned him. He cut Sherk and still couldn’t take him out. Diego Sanchez beat his ass too.
Really Florian’s only chance is to impose his size and strength, and take advantage of the weight cut. Aldo is going to be undersized but he will also likely be the most skilled opponent he has fought yet. And Florian is a skill guy, not a size and strength guy, so if he comes in with the same game as usual, we can expect the same results.