Max Holloway vs Frankie Edgar was going to be an amazing fight, and it sucks to have lost it. However, we may have just gotten something better in return.
First let’s acknowledge the respect and honor Frankie Edgar deserves. There would have been no shame for Edgar to sit and wait for a title shot that he very much deserved, but that’s just not who Frankie Edgar is. He decided to put a lot on the line against a young, up and coming star that is hungry to reach his ultimate goal, and for that, Edgar deserves a lot of respect, as it also managed to save the show on March 3rd. It would not be an exaggeration to say that fans who purchased UFC 222 simply did, to watch Edgar vs Ortega.
With that being said, Brian Ortega with his win over Edgar and by becoming the first man to finish him, has created something that the featherweight division has missed for a few years, and that is exciting title fights. Max Holloway vs Brian Ortega will easily be the biggest and the most anticipated featherweight title fight since Jose Aldo and Conor McGregor clashed at UFC 194 back in 2015. Not often do we get these title fights that truly make the fans ask, “Who’s going to win?”. Most of the time, everyone leans towards the champion or the challenger, but there comes title fights once in a while where it’s a complete toss up, and Holloway vs Ortega, is exactly that.
Watching Ortega roll through the featherweight division and everyone put in front of him, you start to question who will be able to stop this momentum. I mean, Ortega’s ‘weakness’ was his striking, but now that’s not even a viable statement after Ortega stopped Edgar in the first round on the feet. Brian Ortega looks quite unstoppable and his undefeated record is much more impressive when you consider the fact that he has finished every single one of his UFC opponents. And Ortega didn’t have an easy road to get to the top. He was fed to monstrous fighters even before entering the top 10, the likes of Thiago Tavares and Diego Brandao. But nobody has been able to do the things that Ortega has done, including pulling off most consecutive third round finishes.
But then you look at who’s going to be standing across from him and start to scratch your head. Right now, Max Holloway is considered to be the best featherweight in the world, and UFC color commentator Joe Rogan even said in the history after defeating Jose Aldo twice. The 26 year-old Hawaiian champion looks unstoppable himself, winning 12 fights in a row since suffering a defeat to Conor McGregor back in 2013. Undefeated for 5 years while fighting the best in the world is no easy feat and Holloway is certainly a different beast when it comes to proving who’s the best in the world.
No need to dig too deep into it right now, but one thing we know for sure is that a title fight does not get more exciting than this. And there will be plenty more to say about the fight once it actually gets finalized and the date starts to get closer. But this has easily the potential to become the most exciting fight of the year and the anticipation will be through the roof.
UFC Fight Night: Werdum vs. Volkov – Breakdown and Predictions
What better way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day than with some afternoon, mid-level UFC fights. Sure, it isn’t the most stacked card we’ve seen all year, but it’s far from a dud. The main event features two of the heavyweight division’s most talented fighters, former UFC Heavvyweight Champ Fabrício Werdum and 8th ranked contender Alexander Volkov, squaring off for a shot at the belt. The co-main features a rematch between light heavyweight veterans Jimi Manuwa and Jan Blachowicz, both looking to assert themselves in the 205 pound division. It’s a pretty good card by Fight Pass standards, and is definitely one not to miss.
Leon Edwards vs Peter Sobatta
The good thing about these daytime Fight Pass cards is you get to see all those fighters you haven’t heard from in a while. And believe it or not, Edwards and Sobatta have both been fairly successful as of late. Edwards is currently riding a 4-fight win streak, which includes victories over Bryan Barberena and Albert Tumenov. And following a loss to Kyle Noke back in 2015, Sobatta has won 2 straight, most recently TKO-ing Ben Saunders last year.
The welterweight division is one of the UFC’s deepest, and a win here is crucial if either man wants a shot at the belt. Overall, it just seems as though Edwards is the more complete fighter. Sobatta is a great finisher, but Rocky’s technical striking should be enough to keep Sobatta at bay. And let’s not forget this fight is taking place in the UK, Leon’s backyard. English judges aren’t always the fairest when it comes to outsiders.
Prediction: Leon Edwards by Decision
Tom Duquesnoy vs Terrion Ware
Can’t say I saw this one coming. Tom Duquesnoy scored an impressive stoppage in his UFC debut against Patrick Williams, then dropped his next fight to Cody Stamann (which doesn’t look so bad given Stamann’s recent success). Despite this small setback, Duquesnoy is still a decent prospect. The same cannot be said for his opponent, Terrion Ware, who is 0-2 in the UFC.
I really don’t know what to say here. Clearly, this looks like an attempt by the UFC to get Duquesnoy back on the winning track. Terrion Ware is by no means a bad fighter, but this is not a match-up that favors him. Duquesnoy is better at just about everything, and while it may not be completely one-sided, I just can’t see Ware getting his hand raised. Hopefully he can get some better matchmaking in the future.
Prediction: Tom Duquesnoy by Decision
Jimi Manuwa vs Jan Blachowicz 2
Ouch. Was really hoping for Jan vs Shogun. At the age of 35, Jan Blachowicz is currently on the best run of his UFC tenure. With back-to-back wins over Devin Clark and Jared Cannonier, Blachowicz is finally starting to look like a real contender. However, his opponent Jimi Manuwa’s résumé speaks for itself, with 16 finishes in 17 wins. And who was that one decision win against? Jan Blachowicz. As weird as it looks on paper, this rematch actually has some sense to it.
Being a fan of Blachowicz, I wasn’t as quick to write him off as some other people were, but I really don’t see this going his way. Manuwa has some of the crispest striking in the division and more often than not Blachowicz is just there to be hit. If he looks to wrestle early I can see him grinding out a decision, but Blachowicz loves to strike, and I can see that being his downfall in this fight. Caveman-like toughness can only get you so far, and against a slugger like Manuwa, it just ain’t enough.
Prediction: Jimi Manuwa by Round 2 KO
Fabrício Werdum vs Alexander Volkov
Fight Pass exclusives aren’t always the most talent-rich cards, but as far as main events go, this one’s rock solid. Both men are angling for a shot at Miocic’s title, and an impressive performance on Saturday all but guarantees it. Werdum has looked impressive since losing the belt to Stipe, with his only loss being a razor-close decision to Alistair Overeem. He currently holds a 2-fight winning streak, most recently defeating Marcin Tybura last November. Volkov on the other hand has yet to taste defeat in the octagon, scoring victories over Stefan Struve, Roy Nelson, and Tim Johnson.
The big question here is how will Werdum fair in the striking. While Werdum has certainly made vast improvements in the striking game, Volkov is a different animal in that department. He’s long, he’s powerful, and most importantly, he’s precise. Werdum hasn’t exactly been a takedown wizard lately, so if he can’t hang on the feet, Volkov could run away with this.
Of course if the fight does hit the ground Werdum has a decided advantage over Volkov. His submission game is still one of the best in the division. But ‘Drago’ has displayed some formidable takedown defence as of late and I can’t imagine it’s in his game plan to try and grapple with a jiu-jitsu world champion. What we have here is a classic Striker vs Grappler match-up, and if the striker can keep it standing, it’s gonna be a rough night for the grappler.
Prediction: Alexander Volkov by Decision
What’s next for Frankie Edgar?
On Saturday night in Las Vegas at UFC 222, Frankie “The Answer” Edgar took one of the biggest gambles of his storied career and sadly, it backfired.
In an ideal world, Edgar would have faced UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway that night, but after the champion withdrew due to injury, Edgar was left with two options. He could have waited for Holloway to return and reschedule the fight, or face the dangerous up-and-comer Brian Ortega.
Edgar chose the second option and bravely salvaged the event, but it came at a cost and Edgar suffered his first ever defeat via KO.
With a title shot seemingly out of the question and Ortega surely next in line for a shot at Max Holloway, it begs the question as to what could be next for the New Jersey native.
Starting all over again
The UFC’s featherweight division is hardly stacked and it would not be beyond the realm of possibility to see Edgar get a title shot before the end of the year. With McGregor gone, Chad Mendes still out and Jose Aldo’s future unknown there is a real lack of star power in the featherweight division, but Frankie Edgar is certainly one of them.
Given that he was scheduled to fight for the belt twice, it is only fair that he eventually gets a title shot despite losing to Ortega. Even if his shot at the belt comes after Ortega gets his own.
Edgar may need a fight beforehand and he may have to wait a while, but he certainly still has a future in the upper echelons of the featherweight division.
The Bantamweight division
Frankie Edgar in the bantamweight division is something that has long been spoken about. It’s also not a bad career move.
Edgar is 5’6″ and is perhaps better suited physically at bantamweight. Not only that, the division also brings fresh and exciting match-ups and the possibility of an immediate title shot in a division lacking in challengers.
Top bantamweights like champion T.J Dillashaw, Dominick Cruz and Cody Garbrandt have all faced each other, but the addition of Edgar would truly spice things up in a division lacking new match ups.
Although Edgar may not be up for a new challenge and cutting an extra 10 pounds at the age of 36, despite flirting with the idea in the past. Only time will tell on this one.
Only one thing can compare to a title shot in modern MMA and that’s the shot at the self titled “McGregor belt”.
McGregor announced via Instagram that he had offered to step in when Max Holloway had pulled out through injury. The appeal seemed to be fighting on short notice and skipping his media obligations, but if Conor is set on fighting Edgar then it may well happen. After all McGregor has continued to talk about the featherweight division, with tweets about Edgar and Holloway.
Frankie's career deserved for that to be against me tonight.
Love and respect always!
A true fighters fighter ❤
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) March 4, 2018
It’s not often to see McGregor publicly share his appreciation for another fighter, so to see him tweet like that shows you just how respected Edgar is. However, it’s unlikely we’ll see these two legends square off anytime soon, with McGregor’s future looking likely to be elsewhere.
No one wants to see Frankie Edgar retire, but at the age of 36 and having just suffered his first knockout defeat no one would blame him from walking away from the unforgiving sport that is mixed martial arts. After all, Edgar has achieved so much in this sport and truly has a legendary career filled with blood shed, bravery and 22 wins.
Edgar is likely to have a break to recover and assess his options, however it is unlikely he will leave for good especially after this tweet.
Saturday did not go as planned, congrats to Ortega he definitely got me with some good ones. Thanks to all my peers, my team, my friends, and my fans for their nice words, they don't go unnoticed. All I can do now is dust myself off and get ready to put it all on the line again.
— Frankie Edgar (@FrankieEdgar) March 5, 2018
If I was a betting man, my money would be put on Edgar coming back to the featherweight division to fight the winner of Holloway vs Ortega.
Who will Conor McGregor fight next in the UFC?
Conor McGregor has announced via Instagram that he intends to return to fighting and he even revealed that he had offered to replace the injured Max Holloway in the main event of UFC 222.
He did say however that the UFC rejected the opportunity to have him headline against Frankie Edgar as he was told “there wasn’t enough time to generate the money that the UFC would need”.
With his return seemingly imminent and an already proposed fight with Frankie Edgar falling through here’s a look at the men who could be standing across the cage from the “Notorious One” upon his return to the octagon.
Let’s start with the man McGregor claims he was ready to fight next month, Frankie Edgar.
It’s a fight that has been rumoured and talked about for years now, but has always failed to become a reality and right now I believe each mans future lies elsewhere.
Although I believe Edgar would choose a fight with McGregor over a title fight with Holloway, his next bout should finally be for the real featherweight title, providing he beats Ortega at UFC 222. McGregor on the other hand, is unlikely to want the Edgar fight now given the much more lucrative options at his disposal.
If you’re a fan still clinging to hope that you will one day see this match up, I hate to break it to you but the only place you’ll be seeing this match up anytime soon is on UFC 3.
The winner of Ferguson vs Khabib
If UFC 223 goes as planned then we will see a new UFC Lightweight champion. It means Conor McGregor will be without a belt for the first time since December 2015 and it would be no surprise to see him want his belt back instantly.
As a competitor the winner of this fight represents the best the division has to offer. As a businessman the winner of this fight represents the best the division has to offer.
It is the fight that makes sense, but as we know, sense doesn’t always prevail in the UFC. But, the winner of this bout being the next to face McGregor, is a real possibility.
Conor McGregor is no longer the man at featherweight, Max Holloway is.
Does that hurt McGregor’s ego? Maybe. There has been a lot more activity on McGregor’s social media channels about his fight with Holloway. Most notably the “I miss those sunglasses” post. Which certainly has a hint of jealousy to it. Perhaps McGrgeor wants to remind fans of what he can do at featherweight?
Although I think McGregor’s days at featherweight are pretty much over, I don’t think it’s beyond the realms of possibility that we see this fight at lightweight. But I don’t believe this fight is next for either man.
Nate Diaz and Conor McGregor have both announced their comebacks in quick succession of each other. Could it mean they’re coming back for a fight this summer? Who knows.
But one things for sure, the trilogy fight will happen. It has the potential to be even bigger than the first two fights and will surely bring in a boat load of cash. Enough to motivate the two rivals to meet in the octagon again.
The fight seems inevitable and it has every chance of being the next fight for McGregor.
Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Mayweather Jr. in the octagon has been teased since before his boxing match with Conor McGregor and the ongoing speculation seems never ending.
But it’s wishful thinking to believe that Mayweather Jr. will repay the favour to McGrgeor by competing in his sport.
This sport has taught us to never say never and many of us would have never envisioned McGregor competing in boxing, but here we are. But this is just a whole new level of unlikely.
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