MGM plays host to UFC Fight Night 90

July 05, 2016 3:04 AM
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Mixed martial arts fans have plenty to be excited about in the coming week when the UFC showcases three fight cards, all in Las Vegas.

The MGM Grand Garden Arena plays host to both UFC Fight Night 90 on Thursday evening and TUF 23 Finale this Saturday. It’s the promotion’s third event that will undoubtedly go down as one of the most coveted cards in UFC history.

The UFC did a masterful job of putting together one of the most stacked cards ever. In fact, UFC 200 features multiple bouts that could very easily highlight most pay-per-view cards on their very own. Fans and bettors alike get to feast on main events, one right after the other.

Obviously the final bout of UFC 200 is labeled the “main event,” and rightfully so, being one of the most highly anticipated rematches ever in the 205 lb division. Oddsmakers have installed Jon “Bones” Jones (22-1) as a 3-to-1 favorite to beat Daniel Cormier (17-1) for the second time. Jones successfully defended his light heavyweight strap back at UFC 182 via unanimous decision against Cormier, but every round was closely contested and many believed could have gone either way.

I watched that first fight a few times since then, including just last night with the volume completely down as to not be swayed by the commentators. Personally, I too scored it for Jones with the thought Cormier just didn’t do enough to warrant stripping the champion of his title.

I’m in no rush to lay the chalk being asked to back Jones in the rematch… but with that said, I’m unable to conclude the value’s on Cormier. I believe when all the dust settles it’ll be Jones who’s victorious once again, but I’m not willing to back that opinion up with my cash.

But there is a bout on the UFC 200 card that does warrant a walk to the betting window. Another rematch taking place inside T Mobile Arena on Saturday is in the featherweight division as Frankie Edgar (19-4-1) faces Jose Aldo (25-2).

These two met back at UFC 156 where Aldo won by unanimous decision but each round was close enough that many at ringside scored the bout for Edgar. The winner has been promised a unification bout against Conor McGregor for featherweight supremacy.

Oddsmakers opened the betting line with both Edgar and Aldo listed at -110, reflecting a coin-toss with the obvious vig attached. Since then, we’ve seen the odds move 5 cents in either direction depending where you shop. The perception based on the odds reflects neither fighter should be a favorite or underdog against the other. And according to the betting market, which hasn’t forced any adjustment, the bettors agree.

Personally, I couldn’t disagree more.

Aldo has been one of the top pound for pound mixed martial artists since his days in the WEC and he’s dominated the 145 pound division. He’s a dangerous Muay Thai striker who is able to control distance and range, while also dictating where the bout takes place by utilizing his wrestling to keep his fights standing.

Aldo has successfully defended 91% of his opponents’ take down attempts, but does possess a good submission game like most Brazilian fighters. His leg kicks are legendary and he’s systematically broken down many opponents with them, ultimately making them stationary targets.

Edgar was a standout wrestler who has developed into a very efficient boxer. His greatest asset has been his foot speed and endurance, making opponents fight all five minutes of every round. “The Answer” is also very difficult to hit, having defended 71% of strikes by almost never standing still.

Edgar hasn’t lost since facing Aldo, and will enter the Octagon on a five fight win streak. Aldo is coming in off that 13 second loss to McGregor, knowing a win will get him a rematch and chance to reclaim the title he lost. Both believe they deserve to be fighting McGregor rather than each other, but for selfish reasons I’m glad the UFC made this fight.

Bottom line, I believe a lot has changed for both men since they met at UFC 156. For starters, Aldo has suffered multiple injuries that he’s had to deal with and though Edgar is older, he seems to be the fresher of the two going into the rematch.

Also, one of the greatest advantages Aldo held prior to his loss was the perception of invincibility. Rest assured the mental side of fighting is as important as the physical side and many opponents were beaten before they even entered the cage to face Aldo. That won’t be an issue for Edgar who is beaming with confidence having already competed against Aldo, with plenty of success.

To win the rematch Edgar will need to use his hand speed to land combinations, then employ his foot speed and gas tank to get out of harms way and make Aldo work hard from the opening bell.

As the fight wears on I expect Aldo will not be able to keep up with Edgar like he did in the first fight. He’s definitely lost a step or two due to injury and that should help give Frankie a much better chance to take Jose down. Edgar was just 2 of 18 on take downs in the last fight and was unable to do any damage on the ground.

That will prove to be the difference-maker this time and if Edgar isn’t able to finish the fight, he will be able to out land and also grind his way to a decision.

PICK: Edgar.