The UFC returns to U.S. soil as a featherweight title contender-ship status is on the line when Frankie Edgar and Cub Swanson trade blows inside the cage. Although Dana White as yet to come out and confirm it, Swanson has publicly stated that if he wins this fight that he has already been promised a UFC title shot. Whether it comes to fruition or not solely depends on White and the gang. Bobby Green versus Edson Barboza occupies the co main event, with an intriguing flyweight bout between Joseph Benavidez and Dustin Ortiz holding a spot on the main card. Things kick off on UFC Fight Pass at 7 pm EST, switching over to FOX Sports 1 at 8 pm EST for the rest of the prelims, followed by the main card at 9 pm EST. Austin, Texas is ready; Texas in general is ready for some UFC action, it is time to get this event rolling!
#3 Frankie Edgar (16-4-1) vs. #2 Cub Swanson (21-5) Featherweight Bout – Whether if Conor McGregor gets the next title shot if he gets past Dennis Siver is irrelevant here, the winner in this fight should get one as well. Frankie Edgar has proven himself in the UFC time and time again, and is usually clutch when it comes to big time fights. Swanson has yet to challenge for a belt, but the man relishes the opportunity to fight for one, while redeeming himself from an earlier loss in his career to featherweight champion, Jose Aldo. The two compose of very different styles; Swanson likes to stand straight with not much head or foot movement, relying heavily on his hand speed and counter punching. Edgar is the exact opposite; Frankie’s movement is constant and it never seems to stop. His mixture between his striking and opportune take downs are amazing, though it would be nice to see Edgar pick up more finishes on his resume. Not too many have been able to solve the riddle of Edgar’s movement, even the champ was somewhat puzzled by “The Answer” in their fight. If Swanson can get past Edgar it would truly show that he is ready for a shot at the UFC belt, but until then; the safe bet here is Edgar in a highly entertaining fight. Frankie Edgar via Unanimous Decision.
#7 Bobby Green (23-5) vs. #13 Edson Barboza (14-2) Lightweight Bout – Bobby Green has really taken off since his UFC debut, going undefeated and beating a top ten lightweight in Josh Thompson, Edson Barboza though, is a whole other challenge. Green must keep the dangerous Brazilian out of his element, keep the bout within close quarters, and not allow Barboza any space to strike. Edson Barboza has some of the most lethal leg kicks in the game, complimented by a highlight reel of head kicks on display. His pin point accuracy drives fear into opponents, and rightfully it should. If Green can grind him down he stands a chance, Barboza is just too explosive to hold down for long though. Edson Barboza via Technical Knockout.
#11 Brad Pickett (25-9) vs. Chico Camus (14-5) Flyweight Bout – Mr. “One Punch” Pickett has not fared too well in his new division, and is looking to get back on track versus Chico Camus. In his last bout, Pickett really dropped the ball against Ian McCall, failing to really pull the trigger on some occasions and not finding the mark much on others. Chico Camus is making his debut in the division, after deriving very little success of his own in the bantamweight division. Camus will give Pickett a run for his money, but the Englishman is the better well-rounded fighter, with the better technical abilities. Brad Pickett via Unanimous Decision.
Jared Rosholt (11-1) vs. Oleksiy Oliynyk (49-9-1) Heavyweight Bout – This fight may be one of the least exciting fights on the card, one fighter depending on wrestling alone, as the other has relished on submissions through his whole career. Rosholt is known for his constant grinding style, not allowing his opponents any room to breathe while taking them down with ease. “The Boa Constrictor” lives up to his name with flying colors, Oliynyk’s submissions come in abundance and his top game is some of the best in the division. Every time the wrestler Rosholt goes to take down the Russian, he had better have his “A” game when it comes to submission defense. Oleksiy Oliynyk via Submission.
#2 Joseph Benavidez (20-4) vs. #13 Dustin Ortiz (14-3) Flyweight Bout – Another interesting flyweight bout on the card, Benavidez continues to keep the Alpha Male camp relevant in the division. The guy may have lost to Johnson twice already, but it is quite possible that there is no other flyweight outside of John Dodson that is better than Joseph Benavidez. Ortiz on the other hand has won a few fights in a row, but in Split Decision fashion. Ortiz has yet to win a fight decisively, while Benavidez continues to show superiority in the division. Joseph Benavidez via Unanimous Decision.
Matt Wiman (15-7) vs. Isaac Vallie-Flagg (14-5-1) Lightweight Bout – One deciding factor in this fight, will the two-year absence from a UFC cage effect the performance of Matt Wiman? It has been too long for a lightweight whom had quite a solid record in the division before his absence. Wiman stares across the cage at a man a pushes a frantic pace inside the cage, Isaac Vallie-Flagg brings the heat, and brings it in bunches. Long layoffs are usually never kind to a fighter upon their first fight back inside the UFC octagon, so do not expect to see the Wiman of old astonishingly re appear inside the cage. Isaac Vallie-Flagg via Unanimous Decision.
In other notable fights the women’s strawweight division returns to action as the 20-year-old Paige VanZant steps inside the cage against Kailin Curran. Rising prospect Ruslan Magomedov will also be on the prelims against Josh Copeland. For anything and everything UFC, stay tuned into the Guardian Liberty Voice.
Commentary by Justin Huffman
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