The UFC returns to Canada; Edmonton, Alberta to be precise for their second appearance of the year in one of their biggest worldwide markets. Surprisingly, there is no Canadian representation in the main or co-main events, but it shouldn’t stop the fireworks.
As always, I’ll be giving you my picks for the best bets on the card and 5Dimes will be providing the odds.
Cyborg v Spencer:
Cris ‘Cyborg’ Justino finds herself in extremely unfamiliar territory with this fight. For the first time in years she isn’t defending or fighting for a title, and she is coming off a loss. That loss, to Amanda Nunes, was the first time Cyborg had been finished in MMA in 13 years. Her only previous loss was via submission in her debut bout.
The manner of the loss was as shocking as the loss itself, as Nunes out struck a prone Cyborg repeatedly, putting her on the mat twice before the referee called the stoppage.
Felica ‘FeeNom’ Spencer gets the call as potential sacrificial lamb to a returning Cyborg. Spencer, like Cyborg, was a former Invicta Featherweight Champion and made her debut against her championship predecessor Megan Anderson, winning by first round submission. That performance gave little away as to her ceiling as Anderson has been a bust in the UFC to date. To put away a former champion with relative ease indicates that she does indeed belong in the UFC, but it remains to be seen whether 145lbs is the division for her.
This is a fight that goes one of two ways. Either Cyborg keeps this on the feet and smashes Spencer into oblivion, or Spencer can use her grappling and take Cyborg down. If happens then you can expect Cyborg to scramble to the feet and smash Spencer into oblivion. Sorry. I wish I saw this going another way, but I don’t.
Recommendation: Cyborg Wins in Round 1 – 1 unit at -140 (5/7) @ 5Dimes
Holloway v Edgar:
After a brief flirtation with 155lbs and a chance to hold the Interim belt went south, Max Holloway makes his return to his natural weight class of 145lbs for another defence of his title. Although fighting out of his weight class, Max took the fight to Dustin Poirier but ended on the wrong side of a close, but clear decision. It was his first loss in 6 years, but one that isn’t too damaging in the grand scheme as it doesn’t affect his own belt so in essence was a shot in the dark.
At 145lbs Max is a beast, relentless and levels above his contemporaries. His record shows a murderer’s row of some of the best Featherweights to compete in the sport and still he stands above them.
Frankie Edgar will go down as one of the greats. A fighter with a solid record, pedigree and the heart of a lion. There are fights where he was getting beaten up, but somehow managed to turn it around to get the win or escape with a draw. He is a fighter’s fighter and a role model to anyone looking to enter the sport.
Until his loss to Brian Ortega he had gone 27 professional fights without being stopped, and this includes legends of the sport like Jose Aldo (twice), Gray Maynard (twice), Benson Henderson (twice), Cub Swanson (twice) and a trilogy of wins over BJ Penn. Whether a title shot is deserved after beating Swanson is questionable, but I don’t see too many arguing it when looking for alternates.
I don’t see a scenario where Max Holloway loses this fight. He has 10 years on his opponent, he has the height and reach advantage and his skillset is just way higher than Edgar at 37 years old. Edgar is dangerous to write off, but Max can work at distance, in the pocket, on the ground and I feel he will swarm Edgar. The bookies say that a decision is the most likely outcome, I feel that Frankie has possibly too many miles on the clock now and Holloway will find both range and volume and end this in the championship rounds.
Recommendation: Holloway Wins Inside the Distance – 2 units at -150 (4/6) @ 5Dimes