Finally, we get to see Frankie Edgar and Urijah Faber lock horns in the Octagon. But according to the MMA odds, Faber isn’t likely to provide much competition when they meet next month in the Philippines.
The UFC continues to spread its tentacles across the globe. On May 16, the leading MMA promotion on the planet will make its first trip to the Philippines, where UFC Fight Night 66 will take place at the Mall of Asia Arena in greater Manila. A debut card like this needs a hot main event, so how about one of the most anticipated MMA fights in recent history? Former UFC Lightweight champion Frankie Edgar and former WEC Featherweight champion Urijah Faber are finally going to meet in the Octagon; they’ll compete in featherweight action, with Fox Sports 1 providing the television coverage starting at 10 a.m. Eastern.
But is it all too late? Faber has had mixed success since joining the UFC in 2011, and as we go to press, the UFC odds for this “superfight” have Edgar favored as high as –525 to earn his fourth straight victory. Let’s dig deep, peel back the layers, and see how these two fighters stack up in the three (likely) possible outcomes: submission, knockout, and decision.
It wasn’t that long ago when Edgar (18-4-1 lifetime) was on top of the world. The former Division I All-American wrestler at Clarion University made a big splash in 2010 when he upset B.J. Penn (–700) for the Lightweight title at UFC 112. Edgar defended that title three times before losing to Benson Henderson (+135) three years ago at UFC 144, then moved down to featherweight after failing to beat Henderson (–185) in their rematch.
Faber (32-7 lifetime) was also a Division I wrestler at UC-Davis, and while he wasn’t an All-American like Edgar, the “California Kid” was no slouch, either. He developed those skills and became one of the top submission grapplers in the game, earning 19 wins via tap-out – mostly from a variety of chokeholds. But while Faber successfully defended his WEC Featherweight title five times, and has won six of his last seven fights in the UFC (five by submission), he has yet to defeat the best of the best at this level.
Although Edgar is known more for his grappling skills, he’s developed as a striker over the last few years, putting down Gray Maynard (–135) in 2011 to earn Knockout of the Night honors, then stopping Penn (+350) last July in the third instalment of their trilogy. But knockout victories like these are rare for Edgar; he has five of them in total, compared to four via submission and nine by decision.
Faber has some boxing skills, as well, but only seven of his 32 wins were by knockout, and none of them came after his WEC debut in 2007. If they do end up throwing the leather instead of going to the ground, Edgar should have the advantage; according to FightMetric, Edgar lands 3.52 strikes per minute to Faber’s 2.67, and absorbs 2.09 strikes to Faber’s 2.25.
Given the UFC odds and Edgar’s history in the Octagon, it’s more likely he’ll win this fight by a decision. On top of that, all four of his losses went the distance, including his Featherweight title challenge against Jose Aldo (–175) in 2013. Even his most recent fight against Cub Swanson nearly went to the judges’ score cards before Edgar secured a neck crank and won with four seconds remaining.
Faber also has a decision loss to Aldo (–272) on his record from their WEC days, and Faber likewise came up short on points against Dominick Cruz (–180) and Renan Barao (–158) in UFC Bantamweight title challenges. Moving back up to featherweight isn’t likely to help Faber get to the next level against Edgar.
UFC Fight Night 66 Pick: Take Edgar to win via decision with your UFC picks