Friday, February 1, 2013

UFC 156: Aldo vs. Edgar preview

After spending years in a division where he was, in all reality, undersized, Frankie Edgar is finally making the move down to featherweight.

Edgar has leveraged his unlikely UFC World Lightweight Championship win over BJ Penn (and subsequent three retentions of the title) into an immediate shot at the featherweight belt and a superfight with the dominant champion, Jose Aldo.

First off, in regard to the weight cut, it sounds like Edgar ate healthier to get cut down, so he should be in even better shape, and my guess would also be that he's faster. As such, he's even more of a concern in the boxing department.

From a ground perspective, he's even more at a disadvantage. If Aldo wasn't already better from that level of the fight, he'll be set up even better if he can press his full weight against a smaller body frame.

To be honest, though, each man is a stand-up fighter, and so it's going to come down to the more power-based Aldo against the agility and boxing prowess of Edgar. Given Edgar's proven ability to withstand insane amounts of punishment early on in fights, I'd say this will not be an easy fight to finish.

Additionally, I would take note that the later a fight goes, the more it favors Edgar, so concern should set in on Aldo bettors if it, in fact, goes late.

Having said all that, I'd still say that Aldo will win by decision. Why? Because I believe Aldo will incorporate the leg kicks that won him the fight with Urijah Faber. While Edgar most likely will survive all five rounds, Aldo's chopping down of his base will prevent any more rallies.

The second-most important fight on this card is the light heavyweight bout between Rashad Evans and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira.

What is most interesting about this bout is not the boxer/wrestler vs. grappler matchup (though that is interesting in itself). What's interesting is that Evans is considering a drop to middleweight to face Anderson Silva with a victory.

Evans is certainly a legitimate mega-star and I hope that fight goes down. That said, Little Nog needs this win as well.

I will say that Nogueira is missing stand-up quality, as he took a beating at the hands of Tito Ortiz, and that's hard to forget. I say Evans, a superior striker, will win the fight by KO 1.

No steroids at all. Right....
Heavyweight bout: Alistair Overeem v. Antonio Silva

Over-roid is returning for the first fight since his suspension, and swears he's going in clean. I personally would love to see the lineal heavyweight champion finally unify with the UFC title, and that is imminent with an Overeem win.

Silva knows how to play spoiler, as he owns a win over Fedor Emelianenko; however, he also owns an embarrassingly non-competitive KO loss to Cain Velasquez. While that's not the most embarrassing loss to have, it's one that makes me wonder about Bigfoot's chin vs. a K-1 kickboxing champion.

Overall, Overeem is just too well-rounded and powerful to lose this one. I take The Reem by KO 2.

Rest of the main card

Welterweights: Jon Fitch v. Demian Maia - Fitch really needs a win here in order to not fall completely out of relevance, so I expect him to return to his lay-and-praying ways. Maia has the skill to win, but I'll take Fitch by decision.

Flyweights: Joseph Benavidez v. Ian McCall - Benavidez has him beat narrowly in striking (not enough to be a major KO threat, though), but Uncle Creepy has a huge wrestling advantage. He needs the win to return to the title conversation (and a possible trilogy conclusion with Demetrious Johnson) and so I expect McCall to come in wanting it more and to win a decision by trading blows standing mixed with the occasional takedown.

2013 Record: 17-10 (5-3 UFC)

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