Vying for the UFC featherweight crown on Saturday night at UFC 129, Canadian striker Mark Hominick (20-8) will aim to challenge dominant Brazilian phenom Jose Aldo (18-1) following a run of four straight wins under Zuffa's banner. His most recent win came in January at UFC Fight for the Troops 2 against George Roop, stopping him in 1:28 of the first round to attain contention. He previously defeated Leonard Garcia via split decision, Yves Jabouin by TKO, and Bryan Caraway by submission under the WEC's banner before the merger.
Aldo enters the contest riding an eleven-fight winning streak that includes two defenses of the WEC featherweight title. He devastated UFC veteran Manny Gamburyan in September and brutalized Urijah Faber's leg at WEC 48 in April of last year. Most fans believe the sky is the limit for Aldo, but there are some doubts as he enters this contest due to a lingering neck injury. Aldo did state he fought previously with the injury, easing any ideas that he may be less effective.
On paper, the challenge for both Aldo and Hominick lies in the striking portion of this fight. Aldo has proven consistently that he possesses the diverse arsenal of weapons to defeat any opponent in a variety of different ways on the feet. The unpredictability factor is a huge plus for Aldo, and his lightning reflexes and power give him one of the most dangerous set of attributes in the division.
Unlike Aldo's past opponents, Hominick will offer an unique perspective on the feet. Previous challengers tried to play chess with Aldo from a distance, angling to counter the Brazilian. All challengers to Aldo have been ineffective in that regard, allowing him to bombard the thighs of his opponents and create situations that were advantageous for him to succeed. Hominick differs from that style. He's more of a stalker in his approach, actively coming forward and peppering opponents with punches, and he's stated this disparity in their styles in recent interviews as his means to victory. He lacks the brutal one punch knockout power of a true finisher however, but his accuracy is uncanny.
My concern, however, is that Hominick's usual strategy of walking down opponents and tapping their chins won't be a gameplan that will work against Aldo. Aldo's quickness, exceptional defense, and unpredictability should be the perfect counter to that strategy.
Hominick's aggressiveness early could make him a target to something we don't see often from Aldo - the takedown game. If he wades in too far and Aldo can evade Hominick's punches, we could see Aldo bring Hominick down the ground. Aldo hasn't shown us a large body of work on the ground in his most recent bouts, but rest assured that he is one of the very best in the division.
Hominick has the skills to create some problems for Aldo on Saturday night. But I'm not convinced he'll be able to do it effectively for a lengthy period of time, nor do I think he can stop Aldo. I don't see him getting the best of Aldo on the feet, and Aldo has a ground game that is waiting to show its brilliance to the world. Aldo takes out Hominick via submission after hurting him, round 2 or 3.