Former UFC Lightweight Champion Frankie Edgar returns in July at UFC 162 in Las Vegas to take on the charge of 23 year old Brazilian Charles Oliveira. The last three times we have seen Edgar he has put on strong performances and gone 0-3. After falling short in his attempt to win the Featherweight title in his last outing, Edgar now stands as a test for an up and comer. Edgar needs a win big time to avoid a four fight losing streak.
Oliveira recently inked a fresh 4 fight contract with the UFC, but he has reason to see this as the biggest fight of his career. In his last outing, he had troube making weight, and then he was KO’d by Cub Swanson. Though exerienced with 8 UFC fights already, Oliveira has been rocky at best, going 4-3-1.
Edgar is a fantastic fighter, but he just needs a win. After three emotional, heartbreaking losses in a row, Edgar just needs to get back on track and remember what victory tastes like. Edgar is very good at what he does, but he needs to accept that his style of standup, which is heavy on footwork and includes a lot of feinting has not been popular with the judges as of late. It certainly must factor into Edgar’s preparation.
When the lines open at the sportsbooks, look for Edgar to be a comfortable favorite in the fight. Look for the odds to open at about 2 to 1 or better for Edgar.
Oliveira does present Edgar with some problems. Oliveira is long for a featherweight at 5 foot 11 inches, so edgar will once again not enjoy a size difference despite his well documented weight cut. Edgar tends to think he is winning the stand up fights lately, but winds up getting his face marked up and may loe points with the judges. The fight is not without risks for Edgar.
One potential strategic avenue for Edgar would be pick up the pace to another level and apply more pressure to his opponent. Edgar has gone five rounds many times, and perhaps in a three round fight he will not be so measured in his pace and go balls out. This gives him a chance to show something different and perhaps leave a favorable impression with the judges.
Despite the new contract, Oliveira could be in a precarious position. A loss means he would be a mediocre 4-4-1 in the UFC, and he would have washed out of two weight classes when faced with top tier guys.
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