- After an unsuccessful trip up to lightweight, featherweight champion Max Holloway puts his 145-pound title on the line vs Frankie Edgar
- The champ is looking to bounce back from his first loss in more than five years
- Can Edgar become a two-division champion seven years after he lost the lightweight title?
The UFC travels to Calgary, Alberta, for Saturday’s UFC 240 pay-per-view event (July 27 at 10:00 PM ET). The card is headlined by Max Holloway’s first defense of the UFC featherweight title since he scored a fourth-round TKO over Brian Ortega in December 2018.
Holloway faces former UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar, who, over the past six years, has had two previous shots at winning the featherweight title. Edgar is currently ranked No. 4 in the featherweight division.
Holloway vs Edgar Moneyline Odds
In April, Holloway stepped up to lightweight to face Dustin Poirier for the interim 155-pound championship. Holloway lost by unanimous decision. The setback ended his winning streak at 13 in a row. The featherweight champion, who is known for his volume striking, did land more blows than Poirier, but he absorbed 178 significant strikes over the 25-minute battle, 153 of which landed to Holloway’s head.
Before that loss, Holloway scored a TKO win over Brian Ortega in defense of his featherweight crown.
Edgar is coming off a decision win over Cub Swanson in April 2018. The ex-champ was booked to face Chan Sung Jung in November, but Edgar was forced from that fight due to a torn biceps muscle. Before his win over Swanson, Edgar was knocked out in the first round by Ortega. The KO loss was the first stoppage defeat of Edgar’s career.
The featherweight champ is one of the best strikers in the division. He employs a wide array of techniques along with solid footwork and angles in his attack. What makes Holloway more dangerous than most other strikers in the division is his volume. In his matchup with Ortega, Holloway set records for significant strikes landed in a fight (290) as well as in a single round (134). The champion achieved the one-round record in the fourth stanza, which goes to show that he doesn’t let up when the fight enters the championship rounds.
Holloway’s takedown defense is strong at 83 percent. He has only hit the mat by way of takedown four times in his past 12 fights. That will come in handy against Edgar, who is second among active UFC fighters in takedowns with 67.
[Holloway] has only hit the mat by way of takedown four times in his past 12 fights.
Against most opponents, Edgar would be the fighter who would throw more volume, but he is well off Holloway’s mark. Edgar is accustomed to being the shorter fighter in the octagon. He makes up for that difference in height by moving quickly in and out of striking range and employing different angles when he enters and exits. He does get tagged at points, but his striking defense of 67.7 percent puts him fourth among active UFC featherweights.
One thing that the diminutive Edgar will never run short of is heart. That could play a big part in a fight with an opponent as active as Holloway.
Holloway vs Edgar Tale of the Tape
|Max Holloway||Category||Frankie Edgar|
|145 pounds||Weight||145 pounds|
|6.93||Significant Strikes Landed Per Minute||3.59|
|4.33||Significant Strikes Absorbed Per Minute||2.22|
|0.29||Takedown Average Per 15 Minutes||2.37|
|0.5||Submission Average Per 15 Minutes||0.4|
What’s At Stake?
At 27, Holloway has put together a run that has him in the conversation as possibly the best featherweight in UFC history. Statistically, the Hawaiian is already among the greatest 145-pounders. He is tied for second all-time in knockdowns landed in the division. Holloway’s 1,503 significant strikes landed are nearly 400 more than the next best featherweight. His 6.77 significant strikes landed per minute ranks second in the division, as does his 1,636 total strikes landed. At 3:42:00 of total fight time, the titleholder is well on his way to having more octagon time than any other featherweight by the time his career comes to a close.
For Holloway, legacy is what’s on the line. That and his UFC belt.
[Holloway] is tied for second all-time in knockdowns landed in the [featherweight] division.
As for Edgar, if he tops Holloway at UFC 240, he’ll join the small pool of two-division UFC champions. Edgar has failed to achieve that goal on his two previous tries and many feel this third title shot has been undeservedly gifted to the 37-year-old.
Whatever the case, this fight is a chance for Edgar, who is one of the fiercest and most resilient competitors in MMA, to make history and solidify his Hall of Fame credentials.
There have been rumblings of worry about the amount of damage that Holloway took in the loss to Poirier. Those are legit concerns. Holloway reportedly struggled with concussion-like symptoms before he withdrew from a scheduled matchup with Ortega at UFC 226. According to Holloway, tests were unable to ascertain why he had those issues. It will be worth watching how Holloway looks during open workouts, the weigh-in and the early moments of his bout with Edgar.
Edgar has been out of action for more than a year, for any other fighter that would be a worry. The ex-champ has always been an intense competitor, so that time off is a minor concern. The torn bicep is a bit more worrisome. Edgar has obviously tested the muscle in training, but training is different from a UFC title fight. That rehabbed injury bears watching.
Holloway vs Edgar Prediction
The odds really tell the tale in this one. Holloway has been battling the best in the UFC for a long time and the only person to defeat him since he lost to Conor McGregor in 2013 was Poirier, who fights at a heavier weight division. Right now, Holloway is head and shoulders above the rest of the 145-pound division. The biggest threat to his title is if he comes into this fight unmotivated and throwing strikes at a reduced pace. I don’t expect that to happen.
Pick: Max Holloway (-400)