The UFC® returns to the Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada on July 27 for UFC 240.In the main event, Featherweight Champion Max Holloway will defend his title against former Lightweight Champion Frankie Edgar. In the co-main event, Cris Cyborg will battle with undefeated prospect Felicia Spencer in a Women’s Featherweight division clash.
Here's how we think things will play out at UFC 240.
UFC 240 Predictions
Max Holloway (C) vs. Frankie Edgar
Third time is the charm for this Featherweight title bout.
After two cancelled meetings between Max Holloway and Frankie Edgar, the two 145-pound icons will finally meet in The Octagon®.
Holloway is back at Featherweight after a short-lived tenure at 155 pounds, where he challenged Dustin Poirier for the Interim Lightweight Championship at UFC 236. In a five-round stand-up war, Poirier handed Holloway his first loss in over half a decade.
The Featherweight Champion handled the defeat with grace and humility, including the obvious injection of disappointment and stated that he wanted to immediately defend his 145-pound belt.
With Alexander Volkanovski recovering from his victory over Jose Aldo in May and undefeated contender Zabit Magomedsharipov a win or two away from a title opportunity, the door was open for the former Lightweight Champion to get his much-anticipated date with Holloway.
Even with a lack of available contenders, Edgar's selection did raise some eyebrows. 'The Answer' hasn't fought in over a year and only won his last fight against Cub Swanson by decision. But legacy weighs heavy in this sport and Edgar's title opportunity at UFC 240 is as much a “thank for you for your service to the promotion” as it is a potential final hurrah for one of this generation's greatest talents.
As for the actual fight, the first thing anyone will notice during the promotional face-offs is that Holloway has a five-inch height advantage over Edgar. While this doesn't result in a significant reach advantage (one inch for Holloway), it is a factor for two fighters who like to stand and trade.
If the Poirier fight proved anything, it's that Holloway can absorb obscene amounts of damage and stay standing. If that’s the case for Holloway at Lightweight, Edgar will have a tough time wobbling his opponent at 145.
Expect the first round to stay standing and Edgar to start shooting once the second round begins. He averages 2.5 takedowns per 15 minutes and will want to get the fight onto the mat after feeling out the striking distance for five minutes.
But Holloway is rarely taken to the mat (83-percent takedown defense) and will aim to keep this fight on its feet for all five rounds. With the larger frame and impeccable plan of defense, expect Holloway to get his way and push the pace on Edgar round by round.
OFFICIAL PREDICTION: Holloway via Unanimous Decision
Cris Cyborg vs. Felicia Spencer
Similar to Holloway, Cris Cyborg enters The Octagon at UFC 242 following a rare loss.
Cyborg lost her Women’s Featherweight Championship to Amanda Nunes at UFC 232 in less than a minute, vanquishing her “unbeatable” persona and ending a 20-fight winning streak.
To earn a rematch with Nunes after the stunning defeat, Cyborg will face undefeated prospect Felicia Spencer.
Spencer is coming off a victory over Megan Anderson in her UFC debut back in May, but her lack of striking defense was visibly concerning. Anderson tagged Spencer several times but was never able to daze her opponent. If Spencer lets Cyborg get close with any of the same shots, it will be lights out.
While Spencer is a former Invicta champion, this fight is set up as a tune up bout for Cyborg to get back on the horse for a rematch with Nunes.
If things go according to Cyborg’s plan, don't expect this one to go all three rounds.
OFFICIAL PREDICTION: Cyborg via Knockout
Geoff Neal vs. Niko Price
Get ready to mark this bout as Fight of the Night.
Two of the Welterweight division's most exciting strikers go head-to-head when Geoff Neal and Niko Price meet.
Neal is 3-0 since joining the UFC in early 2018 and has put on an impressive standup display in his trio of appearances.
Price has won three of his last four fights in the same time span, most recently knocking out Tim Means at UFC Fight Night: Lewis vs. Dos Santos in March.
Both of these men love to throw in the center of the cage, with Price being the more erratic of the two, often finding himself in the midst of brawls. Neal is the more calculated striker, which will likely give him the edge in this one. He lands almost six significant strikes per minute while Price absorbs over four significant strikes per minute — a dangerous combination that favors Neal.
If Price starts wildly throwing with Neal it will get a reaction from the audience, but it will also put him an extremely susceptible spot to be knocked out.
OFFICIAL PREDICTION: Neal via Knockout
Olivier Aubin-Mercier vs. Arman Tsarukyan
If you want to talk about impressive UFC debuts, look no further than Arman Tsarukyan's introductory fight against Islam Makhachev in April.
Even in defeat, Tsarukyan looked strong, landing 60 strikes on his opponent but ultimately failing to stop Makhachev’s takedowns, resulting in defeat.
The road isn't getting any easier for the Georgian as he meets Olivier Aubin-Mercier in his second fight under the UFC banner.
The Canadian has a high hill to climb after back-to-back losses to Alexander Hernandez and Gilbert Burns that saw him get outgrappled. Tsarukyan is somewhat of a nightmare matchup for a fighter with his UFC future on the line, especially Aubin-Mercier. Tsarukyan's stand up looked sharp in his debut and his grappling ability is what earned him a spot in the UFC in the first place.
OFFICIAL PREDICTION: Tsarukyan via Unanimous Decision
Krzysztof Jotko vs. Marc-André Barriault
After getting easily handled by Andrew Sanchez at UFC Fight Night: Iaquinta vs. Cowboy in May, Marc-André Barriault somehow found himself a more difficult opponent in his next fight.
Krzysztof Jotko has only won one of his last four fights but is a huge step up for Barriault in his second UFC fight. Throughout his six-year career in the UFC, Jotko has displayed an impressive ground game that has earned him opportunities against the likes of Uriah Hall, Brad Tavares and David Branch.
To keep it short and sweet, this should be a three round decision victory for the Poland native.
OFFICIAL PREDICTION: Jotko via Unanimous Decision
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