This column highlights five past bouts from fighters competing on this weekend’s UFC Fight Night 57. These fights represent some of the highest moments in the careers of their respective participants, and should serve to pique your interest heading into the event. 1. Frankie Edgar vs. Gray Maynard 3 – UFC 136 Upcoming Bout: Frankie Edgar vs. Cub Swanson
It really comes down to personal opinion on which Frankie Edgar fight is your favorite, but the two most often mentioned are Edgar’s back-to-back title bouts with Gray Maynard. It seemed nearly impossible for the two lightweights to top the drama of their UFC 125 encounter, but at UFC 136 in Texas (the same state Edgar will be fighting Swanson in, if that means anything to you) they did just that in my eyes. You’ve probably seen the fight before, but it’s always worth another look.
As far as how this bout could impact Edgar’s fight with Swanson; many have pointed to Swanson’s lack of combination striking as something Edgar will be able to take advantage of to rack up points. The first round of both Edgar/Maynard fights has shown that Frankie is susceptible to fighters who throw one big strike, and Swanson is faster and more accurate with his punches than Maynard. Swanson is also better at steering fighters into his strikes, even if he isn’t using strikes to do so. Of course, Swanson may not have the power of Maynard, and Edgar is notoriously difficult to finish. Perhaps we see another slow start by Edgar only to lead to another comeback, or could Swanson be the one to finally put him away?
2. Cub Swanson vs. Ross Pearson – UFC on FX 4 Upcoming Bout: Cub Swanson vs. Ross Pearson
Ross Pearson was fairly successful in the lightweight division coming off of winning his season of The Ultimate Fighter, so people expected big things from him when he dropped to 145. Unfortunately, he ran into Cub Swanson in his second bout at 145. Swanson used his superior speed and movement to create angles on a solid boxer in Pearson, and eventually scored a nice TKO while moving backwards.
The bad thing for Swanson in this fight is that Pearson put him on his back a few times, and the Brit is nowhere near the wrestler that Edgar is. When Swanson starts throwing his wild strikes, Edgar could duck under and pick up takedowns that could help him pick up rounds. Swanson is hard to control on the ground, but if the striking is competitive, that could be the difference.
3. Bobby Green vs. Ricky Legere – King of the Cage: Arrival Upcoming Bout: Bobby Green vs. Edson Barboza
Bobby Green has sort of come out of nowhere to become a contender in the lightweight division. Going back to the days of him getting submitted by Dan Lauzon and David Mitchell, it was hard to predict his future success. However he has always shown some talent, and this fight against solid journeyman in Ricky Legere is proof of that. While Green’s wrestling still leaves a bit to be desired in this fight, he ability to walk Legere down is something that could certainly come in handy against Edson Barboza, and he has the power to finish the fight.
4. Dustin Ortiz vs. Josh Rave – Tachi Palace Fights 11 Upcoming Bout: Dustin Ortiz vs. Joseph Benavidez
Dustin Ortiz has always been competitive in his fights, regardless of opponent. If he faces a high-level competitor like John Moraga or Ian McCall, it’s close. If he faces a guy lower on the totem pole like Jose Maria Tome or, in this case, Josh Rave, it’s also close. He’s one of those fighters who seems to fight to the level of his competition, and coming up against Joseph Benavidez, he’ll certainly need to do just that. The former title challenger seems to have him outgunned in this one, but perhaps Ortiz can make the judges job a tough one and maybe pull out a decision. Going back to the bout against Rave, he didn’t end up needing the judges, and it’s a good thing, as who knows how they would’ve scored this back-and-forth bout.
5. Yves Edwards vs. Josh Thomson – UFC 49 Upcoming Bout: Yves Edwards vs. Akbarh Arreola
You’ll have to head over to Fight Pass or dig this one out of your DVD collection, but it’s definitely worth it. It’s hard to believe that 10 years ago, the lightweight division was on its way out of the UFC, despite consistently putting on some of the best fights in the organization (also check out Edwards vs. Hermes Franca at UFC 47 and Thomson vs. Franca at UFC 46), but such is life. At least Yves Edwards gave the division a memorable send off, as his head kick knockout of Josh Thomson (which remains the only time Thomson has been finished in his entire career) is one of the most stunning ever. I’ve posted the knockout below, but the entire fight is pretty solid.