Fight Picks – UFC Fight Night 57: Edgar vs. Swanson

ufcfnedgarswanson

On Saturday night the UFC will begin a run of nine consecutive events the likes of which (on paper, at the moment, injuries allowing) have never been seen before. Kicking it all off is UFC Fight Night 57: Edgar vs. Swanson from the Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas, USA which has fireworks written all over it. Here are my picks, predictions and lamentations.

Frankie Edgar vs. Cub Swanson

Thanks to a certain Irish rogue, the featherweights have become the most talked about division of fighters in all of the UFC and will be showcased again this coming weekend in the main event when Cub Swanson takes on Frankie Edgar with title implications abounding. Swanson has amassed an impressive 6-fight winning streak in recent times to put him right on the brink of a shot at Jose Aldo. The Californian has steadily climbed the ranks since moving over from WEC with Dustin Poirier, Dennis Siver and Jeremy Stephens some of his victims. Frankie Edgar has ploughed a complete different furrow. The New Yorker is a former lightweight champion who defended his title on multiple occasions before losing the strap to Benson Henderson. A drop to featherweight followed and Edgar was again on the losing side of a title fight decision against Jose Aldo before he bounced back with wins over Charles Oliveira and BJ Penn.

These two have very different fighting styles. Swanson is the taller man who uses his size to attack the legs and head from the outside with rapid fire punching. Edgar is also a quick striker but does it from a more compact stance as he steps in and out of range. Swanson is the more talented submission artist but Edgar is clearly the better wrestler. This fight should be a fantastic battle which will more than likely go the entire five rounds. When all is said and told I see this one being decided on the feet for the most part. It’s never a good idea to get into a striking technical battle with Frankie Edgar and, because of Swanson’s lack of huge punching power, that’s probably what’s going to happen. I see Edgar’s feet and head in constant motion and Swanson getting frustrated when his shots aren’t landing while Edgar finds his mark on the inside and uses his wrestling the more wild Swanson becomes. Edgar has proven he can maintain his output over 25 minutes and I see him doing that on Saturday night and taking a unanimous decision.

My Pick – Edgar via decision

Bobby Green vs. Edson Barboza

Bobby Green and Edson Barboza could not be much different. One, Green, came over from Strikeforce with nobody expected him to make an impact and went on to put the lightweight division on notice with four superb wins; while the other, Barboza, was expected to become a top-5 fighter but has, thus far, fallen at the big hurdles put in front of him. With wins over James Krause, Pat Healy and Josh Thomson, Bobby Green jettisoned himself directly into the top-10, to many people’s shock. Barboza has some impressive wins over Ross Pearson, Danny Castillo and Evan Dunham but hasn’t been able to cross the line against Jamie Varner and Donald Cerrone.

Both men are similar in that they like to attack primarily on the feet with wild striking. Green is more of a boxing stylish with tight hooks on the inside and big swinging head seekers from the outside. Barboza, on the other hand, is a Muay Thai practitioner with some of the most fantastic kicks in all of MMA. This fight is a tough one to call. Green is a gritty, never-say-die fighter who will test the sometimes suspect chin of Barboza – but I don’t think he’ll win. I see Barboza quelling the movement of Green with his unparalleled leg kicks early doors before using his speed to pick the American apart and finish him late on. Watch out for the head kicks.

My Pick – Barboza via KO

Joseph Benavidez vs. Dustin Ortiz

When a contender loses to a champion twice it creates an odd situation. Firstly, it puts that fighter in a strange limbo where he isn’t getting another shot at the champion (unless the belt changes hands) while still being a top contender. But, secondly, it also makes him a sitting duck for someone to come in, beat and take his contenders spot. That’s exactly what we have here with the twice beaten contender Joe Benavidez and the up and coming Dustin Ortiz.

After beating Ray Borg and the highly touted Justin Scoggins, a win over Joseph Benavidez on Saturday would almost certainly guarantee Dustin Ortiz a title shot. That’s easier said than done, though. The Team Alpha-Male student may be in title limbo but outside of championship fights he is unbeaten in his career and has taken the scalps of top ranked competitors like Tim Elliott, Eddie Wineland and Ian McCall. As is the norm with flyweights, both men are lightening quick in all areas. Ortiz is an unorthodox striker who is well rounded with quality in all areas. Benavidez, though, is just better. Wherever the fight goes Benavidez will win it. Look for him to use his striking to set up the takedown before sinking in one of his unique choke holds.

My Pick – Benavidez via submission.

SHORT PICKS

Brad Pickett vs. Chico Camus – Camus via decision.
Jared Rosholt vs. Oleksiy Oliynyk – Rosholt via decision.
Matt Wiman vs. Isaac Vallie-Flagg – Wiman via KO.
Ruslan Magomedov vs. Josh Copeland – Magomedov via decision.
Luke Barnatt vs. Roger Narvaez – Barnatt via KO.
James Vick vs. Nick Hein – Vick via decision.
Yves Edwards vs. Akbarh Arreola – Arreola via decision.
Paige VanZant vs. Kailin Curran – Curran via decision.
Juan Manuel Puig vs. Doo Ho Choi – Choi via KO.

BONUS PICKS

Fight of the night – Edgar vs. Swanson.

Performance of the night – Barboza and Benavidez.

BET OF THE WEEK

I have three bets this week. The first is a straight up win for Kailin Curran at 6/5 then Joseph Benavidez via submission at 4/1 is too good to turn down while a double of Barboza and Arreola is also good value at around 5/1.

Lead MMA writer and analyst for SevereMMA. Co-host of the SevereMMA podcast, out every Tuesday. Economics and Mathematics graduate from UCC. Previously of hov-mma and fightbooth. As heard on 2FM, Red FM, Today FM and more. Follow me on twitter for updates @SeanSheehanBA and on Facebook Facebook.com/seansheehanmma