UFC Lightweight Title bout: Frankie Edgar vs. Gray Maynard
Betting Pick: Maynard
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The main event of the evening is a highly-anticipated rematch between Lightweight champion Frankie “The Answer” Edgar and Gray “The Bully” Maynard. The last time these two met, Maynard easily outwrestled Edgar for a unanimous decision victory, but Edgar’s boxing has improved greatly and he is riding a huge wave of momentum. Still, if he wants to defend his title, Edgar is going to need a very different gameplan than the one he brought to the first fight.
Maynard, who is unbeaten as a professional, is not one of the more exciting fighters in the world, but he is certainly one of the most effective. Although he has solid enough boxing and decent hands, Maynard’s bread and butter is his dominant wrestling. There is zero chance he wins a boxing match with Edgar, so to capture the belt he is going to have to replicate his last performance and hold Edgar down for five rounds with superior wrestling and positional control. He certainly has the ability and the cardio to do it, but he is going to have to execute his gameplan perfectly.
The champion, Edgar, is a very versatile and well-rounded fighter. He has a very solid wrestling base, although Maynard already proved that when it comes to pure wrestling Edgar can’t match up with him. What sets him apart is his extremely technical and crisp boxing, which coupled with his superior movement and footwork make him a very tough puzzle to solve in the standup game. The most important thing is how well he will be able to use his wrestling to keep Maynard from putting him on his back, because he has no answer for Maynard’s top control.
I think that this is just a terrible stylistic matchup for Edgar. He is clearly the better striker, but he doesn’t have the power or the aggression to really finish Maynard in the standup. Maynard has much better wrestling, and is dominant from top position, and if he has to take a few of Edgar’s punches to secure the takedown he can do it without much fear of being knocked out. I just don’t think Edgar has enough wrestling to stop Maynard if he presses his advantage, and Maynard will control this bout from the top to earn another unanimous decision and the Lightweight title.
Prediction: Gray “The Bully” Maynard via Unanimous Decision.