UFC Manila: Faber vs Edgar
UFC Fight "Morning"
On May 16th, at 10:00 AM ET/7:00 PT. UFC Manila on Fox Sports 1 brings a highly anticipated bout between two of the most decorated sub-155 fighters in UFC/WEC history. Former WEC Featherweight champion "The California Kid" Urijah Faber, moving up from Bantamweight, takes on former LW champion Frankie Edgar in the featured bout of the night. Faber who is undefeated in non-title fights takes on one of his toughest challenges yet in Frankie Edgar. Edgar who is on a 3 fight win streak in the Featherweight division with wins over Charles Oliveira, BJ Penn, and Cub Swanson and only one non-title loss himself.
This card also features a co-main of Mousasi vs Philippou both looking to climb the middleweight rankings and get themselves back in the mix for title contention. Mousasi comes off a TKO victory over Dan Henderson and Phillppou ended a 2 fight loss skid with a KO over Lorenz Larkin.
Munoz comes home for his retirement fight. On a 3 loss streak, (all by finish) Munoz decides to call it quits after this fight in his home country of Philippines. Looking to go out on a high with a win over Luke Barnatt who is also looking to turn around a two-fight loss streak.
Who takes the co-main event fight?
Gegard Mousasi vs Costas Philippou
Mousasi was highly touted to make waves in the UFC upon his arrival. It has not gone according to plan but still has some solid fights and wins over strong competition like a finish over Dan Henderson and Mark Munoz. Losses to Machida and then after Munoz a loss to Jacare has left him on the bottom half of the Top 10. Mousasi is looking to get himself back in the title mix following the Weidman-Vitor fight.
Costas Phillippou is no stranger to tough fights and giving one. After suffering a KO loss to Luke Rockhold and dropping a decision to Francis Carmont, Philippou rebounded with a KO win over Lorenz Larkin, after eating some hard shots, Philippou adjusted to Larkin's counter-striking by mixing it up and putting him up in the clinch against the cage which lead to a first-round finish off of the clinch. Philippou will be looking to expand on that over Mousasi who's counter striking style will be similar but at a much higher level.
Both fighters are coming in with something to prove and launch themselves into the Top 5. Mousasi's technical striking could prove too much for Phillppou. Philippou has the heavy hands to trouble Mousasi and finish him if he connects cleanly. Mousasi calm stature and style could prove harmful or helpful, if he is too lax, he will eat the heavy hands from Philippou but if just right he can keep himself out of danger from the constant pressure and bursts from Philippou. Philippou may employ a similar strategy he used against Lorenz Larkin who counter-struck, by applying constant pressure, free to mix it up with kicks and then bullying him and catching him off of clinches against the cage.
Mousasi comes in at a -550(Heavy Favorite) over Philippou who enters in at a +425 (Heavy Underdog), while Philippou is always good for a KO, I think Mousasi takes this through his technical striking and piling on the shots with precision and getting a TKO in the 1st Round.
The Main Event: Urijah Faber vs Frankie Edgar
The featured bout of UFC Manila brings a highly anticipated bout between a pioneer of lighter weightclasses with Urijah Faber stepping up from 135 to 145 to meet former 155 Lightweight Champ Frankie Edgar who has been making his way in the UFC's featherweight division.
Faber moves up as he is stuck in a limbo at Bantamweight with losing 3 title bouts and now his teammate TJ Dillashaw holds the title. Though that does not mean Faber is not still a contender. Faber has never lost a non-title fight and is on a 2 fight win-streak with 2 consecutive submissions over Alex Caceres and Franciso Rivera. At the age of 36 "The California Kid" has shown no signs of slowing down and coming into this fight to prove he still has it at either Featherweight and Bantamweight and potentially launch himself back into the 145 title contention.
Edgar found himself straight into a featherweight title fight against Jose Aldo when he moved down from Lightweight. After having a competitive match in which he ultimately lost by Unanimous Decision, Frankie Edgar found himself at the back of the line at 145 as rising stars Mendes, Lamas and now McGregor get their shots. Following the loss, Frankie is on a 3 fight winstreak with wins over Charles Oliveira, and then two finishes over BJ Penn and Cub Swanson. With a decisive finish over Faber, Edgar puts himself right back in the mix for the title shot against the winner of Aldo vs McGregor.
Coming into the fight, Frankie Edgar is a -400 (Heavy Favorite) and Urijah Faber is a (+300 Moderate Underdog). The fight while being shown as heavily in Edgar's favor it is potentially a much closer fight. Faber is almost always competitive no matter the odds and is a live underdog in this one. Faber has never lost a non-title fight and while Frankie Edgar may be one of his toughest fights to date, it still is potentially a factor. Frankie Edgar does have the credentials to back up his odds with being extremely competitive with Jose Aldo and 3 of his 4 losses have only been in title fight themselves. Edgar did find more success in the UFC by way of becoming the Lightweight Champion and holding the gold.
In the way of the fight, Frankie and Urijah will have no decisive speed advantage over each other and the wrestling will be similar as well. While Urijah stand-up is very good, it helps when combined with the threat of takedowns which is potentially nullified. Frankie Edgar has the pure stand-up advantage with his boxing which he used to capture his title. While Edgar is no stranger to submission, subbing Cub Swanson in his last fight, Faber has the slight advantage when it comes to submission and scrambles. Frankie will have to be weary of Urijah's favorite guillotine when shooting for a takedown or in a scramble.
That being said, this is a must-watch fight between two of the greater lighterweight fighters and will be a highly contested bout. Edgar likely takes the win over Faber in a decision and continues his claim for another shot at Featherweight and adds to this winstreak. Depending on the outcome of Dillashaw vs Barao, Faber with a loss likely drops backs down to Bantamweight and either continues to fight for one more title shot. If Dillashaw holds the title, Faber may entertain the thought of more fun bouts and superfights to close out his UFC career.