Two huge fights have been revealed for summer fight cards. The bouts are listed below, along with my first takes on both.
Max Holloway vs. Frankie Edgar, UFC 240
The UFC featherweight championship will be on the line as Max Holloway takes on Frankie Edgar at UFC 240, taking place July 27 at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. ESPN broke the news.
At first glance, it’s a bit surprising to see Edgar get the title shot when Alexander Volkanovski just dominated Jose Aldo at UFC 237 and supposedly earned a title shot himself. But the UFC needed a main event for its July card, and so Edgar gets the shot first, with Volkanovski likely serving as an emergency backup for the bout. Considering the Holloway vs. Edgar pairing has flopped before, Volkanovski would be wise to stay ready for this date.
Holloway (20-4) recently moved up to lightweight and failed in his bid to become a double UFC champion when he lost a decision to Dustin Poirier at UFC 236. But he remains the UFC featherweight champion, and is currently riding a 13-fight win streak at 145lbs. Although his striking defense and size was exposed as a lightweight against Poirier, moving back down to featherweight should be a good move for him as he looks to get back in the win column.
Edgar (23-6-1) is coming off of a decision win over Cub Swanson last April and hasn’t fought since due to injuries. We all know the UFC and Edgar’s manager Ali Abdel-Aziz have a good relationship, which is likely why he got this title shot over the other featherweight contenders. Plus, don’t forget Edgar did the UFC a favor when he stepped up on short notice to fight Brian Ortega last year and lost. Overall, the former UFC lightweight champion is 8-3 as a featherweight in the Octagon.
Although I’m not convinced Edgar deserves this title shot, this is still a quality fight, though there’s no doubt Holloway will be a big favorite, as he should be.
Anthony Pettis vs. Nate Diaz, UFC 241
In an exciting welterweight bout, Anthony Pettis takes on Nate Diaz at UFC 241, taking place August 17 at Honda Centre in Anaheim, California. The UFC has already confirmed this bout.
Pettis (22-8) recently moved up to welterweight and made the most of the opportunity as he brutally knocked out Stephen Thompson in one of 2019’s best KOs to date. Pettis has struggled with his consistency the last few years, but he looked revitalized against Thompson and perhaps this is the start of something good for him.
Diaz (19-11) has not fought since August 2016, when he lost a majority decision to Conor McGregor in the pair’s rematch. Prior to that, he had won back-to-back fights over McGregor and Michael Johnson. Diaz has historically struggled while fighting as a welterweight, though given the fact Pettis is also undersized for the division, this looks like a fair fight.
Although Diaz matches up well stylistically against Pettis, with the three-year layoff it’s very difficult to pick him to win here, and I’d peg Pettis as the favorite due to his current momentum.