MMAOB staff writer Adam Martin takes a deeper look at the main event of UFC 240, a five-round title bout between UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway and challenger Frankie Edgar. The event takes place this Saturday, July 27 at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
Max Holloway (-350)
Holloway (20-4) is the UFC featherweight champion. The 27-year-old Hawiian has an overall record of 16-4 in the Octagon since making his UFC debut back in 2012. His list of notable victories includes Jose Aldo (x2), Brian Ortega, Anthony Pettis, Cub Swanson, Ricardo Lamas, Jeremy Stephens, and Charles Oliveira. His four UFC losses have come against Dustin Poirier (x2), Conor McGregor, and Dennis Bermudez. Holloway is one of the finest featherweights the sport has ever seen, and with the two knockout wins over Aldo, may have passed him as the all-time greatest at 145lbs. Between 2013 and 2019, Holloway won 13 straight fights in the featherweight division before moving up to lightweight and seeing his win streak snapped by Poirier earlier this year at UFC 236. Holloway is a tremendously gifted fighter with skills everywhere. On the feet, he is a volume striker with long, rangy attacks who uses a death-by-1000-cuts approach to batter his enemies. On the ground, he has the submission skills needed to tap his opponents out. His wrestling, especially his takedown defense, has improved over the years as well, meaning he can usually keep his fights standing, which is where he’s at his best. He has a strong chin and has been never knocked out, and his impeccable cardio means he’s able to go 25 minutes and get stronger as the fight goes on. The fight against Poirier may have showed he’s too small to compete at lightweight, and it did expose some holes in his striking defense, but at featherweight Holloway has been nothing but impressive. He has nearly cleaned out the rest of the 145lbs weight class but now takes on Edgar in what should be an interesting fight between the new breed and the old guard.
Frankie Edgar (+290)
Edgar (23-6-1) is the former UFC lightweight champion. The 37-year-old New Jersey native is 17-6-1 all-time in the UFC. His list of notable victories includes BJ Penn (x3), Chad Mendes, Urijah Faber, Cub Swanson (x2), Yair Rodriguez, Jeremy Stephens, Gray Maynard and Charles Oliveira. His UFC losses have come against Jose Aldo (x2), Benson Henderson (x2), Brian Ortega and Gray Maynard. Edgar has been one of the best fighters in the UFC for over a decade at both lightweight and featherweight. In a sport that favors younger athletes, his longevity in MMA has been astonishing to watch. Edgar has been successful over the years by implementing smart gameplans in his fights and utilizing both his dominant wrestling game as well as a sharp boxing attack on the feet. He is able to push a hard five-round pace and for the most part is able to dictate where his fights take place. He has been known for having an iron chin his entire career although the KO loss to Ortega in 2018 showed that it may finally be cracking. Edgar is a future Hall of Famer and one of the greatest fighters in UFC history. He wants to become a rare two-division champion in the Octagon, but in order to do so he will have to beat the odds and defeat the younger, taller and rangier Holloway to take home the belt.
Fight Breakdown: Edgar earned this title shot for being a company man and a legend of the sport and it’s nice to see a fresh matchup for Holloway’s featherweight belt. However, I don’t like the stylistic matchup for Edgar at all. The first thing to note is that Holloway is 10 years younger. I will always favor the younger fighter when the margin is that long. The second thing to note is how dominant Holloway has looked at 145lbs. Yes, the loss to Poirier was disappointing and some of the holes in his game were exposed there. But at featherweight he has proven for the past six years he’s the best in the world at that weight class. Holloway has tremendous takedown defense and it’s going to be hard for Edgar to get him down. On the feet, Holloway is the longer and more rangier fighter and should be able to keep Edgar at the end of his punches as they add up as the fight goes on. Edgar has taken quite a bit of damage in his MMA career and as we saw in the Ortega fights, there are signs that maybe his chin isn’t going to hold up the way it used to. We’ve seen Holloway really turn it up as fights get deep, such as the way he finished Aldo and Ortega late. I expect Edgar to hang in until the bitter end, but eventually I see Holloway defeating Edgar via late-round TKO.
Prediction: Max Holloway wins via TKO