UFC 240’s main-event will see the featherweight champion Max Holloway return from his failed pursuit of interim-lightweight glory to face a familiar foe.
Not that they’re familiar in terms of shared cage minutes but this matchup, of course, will not stand as the first time that these two have been scheduled to fight each other.
At the time, Holloway’s loss to the surging 155lb force that is Dustin Poirier was seen as shocking but in hindsight, the clues were there that the jump up in weight would not produce the exact same results as Blessed had been used to seeing at 145lbs.
That’s not to say that he couldn’t pull it off another time but in his current form, Holloway is best suited to the division he controls.
The fact that The Diamond has been able to score TKO finishes of Anthony Pettis, Eddie Alvarez, and Justin Gaethje just prior to taking on Max made it that bit more impressive that his adversary survived to the closing bell.
In Frankie Edgar, the threat will come in a very different form – the form of a man whose experience, grit, and relentless ability to push the pace have kept him a constant spot within both the lightweight and now featherweight divisional top-5’s for the last decade.
After losing in stunning, but brutal fashion to Brian Ortega at UFC 222, Edgar – who had never once been finished, was somehow, against all odds, able to rebound with an impressive performance over the veteran Cub Swanson just over a month later.
And it’s that never-say-die attitude that has managed to keep his name as relevant as ever even now but in a matchup against Holloway, I’d argue that he’s coming up against something he has never seen before.
Max is long and rangy with immeasurable cardio, impeccable footwork, fantastic risk management, and an ability to completely control pace that can really stifle a man, in Edgar, who generally is the pace-setter.
Frankie definitely has his advantages, though, for sure.
As one of the finest takedown artists we’ve seen, his knack for chaining striking and takedowns into one is something that can trouble anyone at 145lb if he can really start to work.
A lot of people are writing Frankie off in this one, perhaps more due to the overwhelming strengths that the Hawaiian brings to the table more than anything else.
I don’t see this being as much of a shutout as many have predicted but even still, Holloway should prove to be too much for Edgar over the course of the five rounds.
It’ll take a Brian Ortega-esque level of one-shot power to get The Answer out of there and I do not think that Max can do that, but expect this to look more and more like a classic Blessed era showcase as the fight goes on.
Prediction: Max Holloway by unanimous decision.
Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena