UFC Fight Night 57: Frankie Edgar vs Cub Swanson – Preview & Predictions
The UFC returns to Austin, Texas after a five-year absence bringing one of the most significant featherweight bouts in former lightweight champion, Frankie Edgar squaring off against hot contender, Cub Swanson . The winner could meet champion, Jose Aldo in a rematch.
Co-headlining is a lightweight tilt between the streaking Bobby Green and muay thai sniper, Edson Barboza in a fight that could promise fireworks.
The flyweight division is also featured as fan favorite, Brad Pickett welcomes Chico Camus while the division’s second-best fighter, Joseph Benavidez tests wrestler, Dustin Ortiz , who is a on a two-fight winning streak; heavyweight grapplers Jared Rosholt and Oleksiy Oliynyk clash and finally, returning lightweight Matt Wiman starts things off against brawler, Isaac Vallie-Flagg .
Frankie Edgar (-255) vs Cub Swanson (+185)
Featherweight Bout (145 lbs)
People seem to be taking the former champ for granted these days. Come Saturday, Frankie will remind everyone why he still is one of the all-time greats in the sport. He has one of the most complete MMA skillsets with his boxing-wrestling combo. His speed, footwork and heart are unparalleled and his 72% striking defense is jaw-dropping. This is the guy who slammed Jose Aldo (best takedown defense in the UFC), outwrestled the bigger NCAA Division I wrestler, Gray Maynard and dominated the great B.J. Penn in nearly all 13 rounds they faced.
Cub Swanson is on an impressive six-fight winning streak with four coming by TKO. He has some of the best striking with his power and precision. He’s determined to make a big statement to ensure he—and not a certain Irishman—gets the title shot.
Tall order for Cub. His striking is lethalbut Frankie’s defense could be better. Frankie isthe faster fighter and the better wrestler and Cub has shown weakness totakedowns. Cub will have to keep the fight standing and hope to finish Frankie or his title shot may be out the window.
Prediction: Frankie Edgar def. Cub Swanson via Unanimous Decision
Edson Barboza (-145)vs Bobby Green (+105)
Lightweight Bout (155 lbs)
Barboza could be the best kicker to have ever graced the octagon; the Brazilian has won four fights via leg kicks, a UFC record. Green meanwhile is undefeated in the UFC (4-0) and has won eight fights in a row, his latest over the acclaimed Josh Thomson. He has a background in wrestling and BJJ but likes to keep his fights standing, an area he is getting better at.
While Barboza is the more lethal striker, he also has the weaker chin. Should Green not over-respect him, apply pressure and neutralize his leg kicks, he could finish him. Otherwise, Green could go back to his grappling roots and keep Barboza from kicking him into next Tuesday.
Prediction: Bobby Green def. Edson Barboza via TKO (Round 1)
Brad Pickett (-265) vs Chico Camus (+195)
Flyweight Bout (125 lbs)
It’s no secret to any fan what Pickett will do in a fight: slug it out. The English brawler has knockout power but isn’t one-dimensional as his ten submission wins proves. Chico Camus trained under Roufusport with Anthony Pettis and has a versatile game himself. But Pickett is the more skilled fighter and Camus hasn’t shown elite striking skills to keep Picket too honest. Camus could try grappling with Pickett and has a better chance at winning there but his takedown ability isn’t the best and Pickett has a good shot to take him out on foot.
Prediction: Brad Pickett def. Chico Camus via Unanimous Decision
Jared Rosholt (-225) vs Oleksiy Oliynyk (+175)
Heavyweight Bout (265 lbs)
Oliynyk has 49 wins with 40 by submission. Count ‘em. Though most of these submissions came against unknowns, Oliynyk has a notable submission over the past-his-prime Mirko “Cro Cop”. The Russian is a decorated grappler with a sambo and BJJ background. Jared Rosholt however, is simply the superior grappler. The NCAA Division I wrestler is the rare heavyweight to take his fights the distance even against gargantuan foes like SoaPalelei and Walt Harris. Can never count Oliynyk out but he’s simply outmatched in this bout.
Prediction: Jared Rosholt def. Oleksiy Oliynyk via TKO (Round 2)
Joseph Benavidez (-390) vs Dustin Ortiz (+290)
Flyweight Bout (125 lbs)
Take this as you will: Benavidez, like his Alpha Male brethren, Urijah Faber and Chad Mendes, is the undisputed P4P second best fighter in his division. The wrestler/BJJ fighter lost his two title shots against champ, Demetrious Johnson but has otherwise destroyed his competition. Benavidez can end a fight standing or on the ground and looks like the superior fighter to Ortiz in all aspects of MMA.
Ortiz to his credit is a scrappy gritty fighter known to take even the division’s best (like John Moraga) to razor-thin decisions. Expect Ortiz to give Benavidez all he can handle but barring a hail Mary punch, Benavidez should clinch this fairly lopsided match.
Prediction: Joseph Benavidez def. Dustin Ortiz via TKO (Round 3)
Matt Wiman (-225) vs Isaac Vallie-Flagg (+175)
Lightweight Bout (155 lbs)
Welcome back Matt Wiman! After a near two-yearhiatus, he’s back in action and should he have little to no ring rust, he could handily win this fight. Isaac Vallie-Flagg to his credit is a tough brawler with a BJJ background but Wiman is the more technically sound fighter both on the feet and ground. If Wiman fights smart and avoids a slugfest, he’ll likely outpoint or submit Vallie-Flagg at some point. This could be an under-the-radar Fight of the Nightotherwise.
Prediction: Matt Wiman def. Isaac Vallie-Flagg via Unanimous Decision