Frankie Edgar vs. Chad Mendes:
This fight is flying under the radar amidst the all-out blitz of UFC action this weekend, but make no mistake; it is undoubtedly the second best featherweight bout the UFC could schedule aside from Aldo vs. McGregor. As for the action, I see Edgar using his trademark volume, speed, accuracy, and footwork to stay one step ahead of Mendes’ fight-ending power here. While both men possess very strong wrestling credentials, I don’t see Mendes being able to get “The Answer” down or keep him there for long if he does. A title shot should await the winner, but stranger things have happened in the UFC. I have to pick Edgar by unanimous decision in this one.
Mendes vs. Edgar provides an interesting look at two high level wrestlers with great boxing skills. Mendes arguably packs more power in his strikes, both men have great footwork and are very nimble on the feet, but you could also say ‘The Answer’ has the more crisp and refined striking style. I’d also imagine Edgar to be the more durable fighter, but I think this fight is won on the counter punching. As is quite often the case with two wrestlers, I believe this will be a stand-up battle, with Mendes closing the distance with lunging hooks, and Edgar moving well and looking to land on the counter. How far will they go? The full five rounds in my opinion, and I see Edgar taking the win by decision.
Two of the best 145-pounders in the world will go head-to-head in this bout, and both men are somewhat similar in my opinion, making this a tough one to call. The former lightweight champion Edgar is a phenomenal wrestler with strong boxing that displays his quick feet and crisp combos. Mendes, on the other hand, is also an explosive wrestler, but is more of a power striker with brutal knockout skill. I can see it going either way, but I feel as if Edgar’s pace will play a large factor here. I also feel as if “The Answer” may just be a slight bit better. Edgar by unanimous decision.
Tony Ferguson vs. Edson Barboza:
This impromptu co-main event is also under the radar, as Ferguson has quietly become one of the most surging contenders in the stacked UFC lightweight division. Barboza has always shown the pure striking talent to be on e of the most dangerous fighters at 155, yet multiple bouts with inconsistency have halted his rise more than once. He’s going to have to get past Ferguson on the grand stage if he wants to finally make an ascent towards a title shot, but I don’t feel like that’s in the cards here. Ferguson will most likely lose if he agrees to a kickboxing match with Barboza, so I expect him to use his wrestling and jiu-jitsu backgrounds to ground Barboza and pepper him with ground damage while looking for a submission. I don’t think he’ll get it, but I’m still picking Ferguson by unanimous decision in this one.
Tony Ferguson and Edson Barboza represent a pair of promising prospects at lightweight who have yet to make it to PPV status. ‘Junior’ has the speed and power advantage, but The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) winner Ferguson is the much taller and rangier man, also with much better offensive grappling. ‘El Cucuy’ has proved us wrong many times in the past, but the raw power of the Brazilian Barboza is hard to ignore. It’s a really tough call, but I’m going with Ferguson for the win by submission round three.
Tony Ferguson was originally set to take on top contender Khabib Nurmagomedov, and when “The Eagle” suffered an injury, “El Cucuy” didn’t receive a much easier opponent in Brazilian Edson Barboza. To start off, Ferguson has been on a tear as of late, winning his last six bouts. He’s shown improvements in all areas of his game, and has become quite a crafty fighter. However, I feel as if Barboza will simply be too high of a mountain for Ferguson to climb. “Junior” is one of the most vicious strikers in the division, possessing lethal Muay Thai skills, specifically his kicks. Although he may be at a disadvantage on the ground, I see the Brazilian picking Ferguson apart. Barboza by third round TKO.