On the eve of UFC 218, the fighters make their final preparations in the hopes of finishing out a busy year for MMA on a high note. The featherweight title fight is on the line in the main event as Jose Aldo steps in for an injured Frankie Edgar to take on reigning champion, Max Holloway, who took the belt from Aldo earlier this year.
Holloway opens this episode in a full sweat as he fine tunes his boxing. Rumors have made their way to Holloway’s side of the world since Aldo’s rumored move to the ring. The champ seems supremely confident opposite Aldo’s stand up prowess as the Hawaiian has become one of the most versatile and active strikers in any division.
Jose Aldo meets with fellow Brazilian MMA champion, Cris ‘Cyborg’ Justino and two-time olympic gold medalist, Clarissa Shields and sets his sight on the iconic green WBC belt.
Fellow UFC 218 fighter Justin Gaethje is enjoying his time Detroit hitting up a local sushi place with coach Trevor Wittman. Gaethje doesn’t seem shaken by the pressures of fight week. Not only that, he looks incredibly calm and almost indifferent towards the task at hand. He describes opening for Holloway/Aldo and Overeem/Ngannou like a privilege just to be sharing a card with former and current champions.
The main card fighters make their way to the fight week media scrums to field questions from a hoarse of journalists in what will be the last public media obligation (short of the now-ceremonial weigh-in) of the week before fight time.
We end the media day with the media face-offs. UFC heavyweight and scary monster-man Francis Ngannou and Alistair Overeem go first. “You go to sleep Saturday night”, Ngannou whispers to a man who has fought nearly every legendary fighter in the light- and heavyweight divisions from the mid-2000s through present day.
The fighters weigh in for the final time before the official weigh-in that took place Friday morning to end the episode.
UFC takes place Saturday, December 2nd from the Little Caesar’s Arena in Detroit, Michigan.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 12/1/2017.