The “Lone Star” state is the venue for Saturday’s colossal featherweight match-up between #2 rated Cub Swanson and third-ranked Frankie Edgar who will dispute the UFC’s #1 Featherweight ranking in the main event of UFC Fight Night 57 at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas.
Stakes Are High
More than the title of being the lone star standing on Saturday night, the stakes are higher in this bout. UFC President Dana White announced last Monday via Fox Sports 1 that Cub Swanson (21-5 with 8 knockouts) will get a shot at Jose Aldo’s Featherweight belt should he win the fight. Swanson is riding high on a six fight winning streak that includes four knockouts and three post-fight bonuses. And although Swanson had already said in the past that he will “not beg” for a title shot, a win over Frankie Edgar should seal that.
On the other hand, Frankie Edgar( 17-4 with 5 knockouts) has been known as the gatekeeper of the UFC’s lower weight classes in recent years. Edgar has won back to back bouts against Charles Oliviera and B.J. Penn after competing and losing via decision in three straight 5-round title bouts. The former UFC lightweight champion lost his belt to Benson Henderson at UFC 144, failed to recapture it during their rematch at UFC 150 and then lost to Jose Aldo in his featherweight debut at UFC 156. He looks to earn yet another shot at a title with a win over Swanson.
A Striking War
Fight fans should see an epic striking war between Swanson and Edgar. These are two of the most dynamic strikers in the sport and this one is likely to be a stand-up battle for the majority of the fight. What makes this interesting though is that these are two very different strikers.
Swanson ‘s got a more diverse striking attack because he employs more kicks than Edgar. But more than that, he’s got knockout power that can put anyone in this division to sleep, Edgar included. Meanwhile, Edgar is more of a straight boxer with rapid movement. He will need that movement to avoid Cub’s powerful blows and score points.
For Edgar, defense should be the key. Avoiding Swanson’s power is the key to winning. If he stays away from Swanson’s sweet spot and land his strikes, he’s in good shape. Fightmetric stats show that both fighters are almost even at strikes landed per minute with Edgar slightly having the edge at 3.50 against Swanson’s 3.42. The stat guru also says that Swanson absorbs more punishment at 2.61 strikes absorbed per minute, while Edgar takes just 2.17 per 60 seconds. But all these stats are worthless if Swanson’s hard shots will find a home on Saturday night.
What the Betting Gods Say
Incredibly, the betting gods don’t see the streaking Swanson and his vaunted power winning this one, with the odds in favor of Edgar (-240) against Swanson’s (+200) mainly because of his experience. But on the other hand, the wear and tear could be to his disadvantage against the hungrier Swanson who hasn’t tasted a crack at any UFC belt. Edgar’s resume may be better, But Swanson’s on the way up and Edgar could headed the opposite direction. Swanson doesn’t care bout title shots and even betting odds. He just shows up to fight and beat his opponents up. Let’s see if he can do that to Frankie Edgar on Saturday night.