Legendary coach Winklejohn offers exclusive insight into Aldo-Frankie
SI.com sat watched Saturday night's featherweight title bout between champion José Aldo and former lightweight titleholder Frankie Edgar alongside famed MMA coach Mike Winkeljohn of Jackson/Winkeljohn's MMA in Albuquerque, N.M. Winkeljohn offered SI.com readers exclusive insight-round by into what MMA professionals look for in a fight.
BEFORE THE FIGHT: I'm looking for who can control the distance, who can control the space. Edgar picking his shots and punches and Aldo trying to be in range for his explosive techniques.
ROUND 1 OBSRVATIONS: Aldo looks so much bigger than Edgar. Aldo is trying to wait for him to close the gap and take advantage of that situation. Edgar was getting Aldo on his heels and Aldo can't counter. That was a tough round to call. Frankie threw more technique, but Aldo was throwing more power strikes. Aldo definitely looks to be the stronger of the two with one very hard leg kick in there. The leg kick pays dividends down the road because it causes so much muscle tissue damage. The leg starts to swell and it's harder to move on and shoot off and use later in the fight.
ROUND 2 OBSERVATIONS: Aldo definitely got the bigger power shots in but Frankie did take him down for a second. He caught the leg kick and struck him back [Frankie should] move to his right to avoid walking into the leg kick. [Aldo should] step to his left, to try to corral Frankie ... so as soon as he steps back, the leg kick will be there.
ROUND 3 OBSERVATIONS: Frankie started controlling the space, started backing up Aldo and was successful when he did and Aldo started respecting his fakes and feints. Aldo is still scary with this power.
ROUND 4 OBSERVATIONS: Frankie is like he has a big magazine in his .22 [caliber] and Aldo has a few shots in his .44. It's Aldo loading, trying to land the big shot and conserve his energy. Frankie is trying to stick-and-move and not run into the big strike. Frankie getting the takedown was definitely a good scoring position for him which I think cemented the round for him.
ROUND 5 OBSERVATIONS: Frankie got that last round. Aldo got a couple of big punches in, but Frankie had so many punches. Aldo definitely showed and Frankie showed his fantastic conditioning and he was able to throw more technique at Aldo but Aldo definitely has a power edge. It always comes down to what the judges like. I believe Frankie won the round.
END OF FIGHT OBSERVATIONS: Aldo definitely had more power. He looked like the bigger, stronger, more explosive fighter. But Frankie came with a game plan to take the fight long and pick him apart and stretch the fight out and that's what he didn't. Now, it depends on the judges if they like the guy who throws the power punches or the guy who controls the space and sticks and moves. This becomes an Ali-Frazier situation.
NOTE: The judges' scores were 49-46, 49-46 and 48-47 in favor of Aldo.