Holloway (-400) is returning to the featherweight division following his unanimous-decision loss for the interim lightweight belt against Dustin Poirier at UFC 236 in April. That defeat ended a 13-fight winning streak for “Blessed” and was his first since he lost via unanimous decision to Conor McGregor in 2013. During that streak, Holloway also had 10 finishes.
The Hawaii native has exceptional striking and top-level conditioning that allows him to maintain a pace that eventually makes his opponents crumble. Holloway has landed over 90 significant strikes in each of his last six bouts, including 307 against Brian Ortega in December. Additionally, his last four fights at featherweight have all finished by knockout, one of which was a doctor’s stoppage. Lastly, Blessed stuffs 83 percent of takedown attempts, forcing the fight to remain standing.
Edgar (+300) competes in his ninth championship fight and makes his third attempt at winning the featherweight strap. “The Answer” held the lightweight belt from 2010 until 2012 and then dropped down to featherweight following back-to-back losses to Benson Henderson. In the lower weight class, Edgar is 8-3 with his only defeats coming against former champ Jose Aldo and former challenger Brian Ortega.
The Answer is a composed fighter in the Octagon with confidence in his striking as well as his grappling. He always has strong footwork and head movement that makes his opponents miss 70 percent of their strike attempts, while having excellent timing on his takedowns, leading to 2.47 takedowns per 15 minutes. Edgar is a decision king with 17 of his 29 pro fights going to the judges’ scorecards – he won 12 of those 17 decisions – and he has just one knockout loss on his record.
This is a fight that many fans have been craving for a while as the pair were set to dance early last year but injuries got in the way. Holloway has a noticeable size advantage that should allow him to stay on the outside and pick Edgar apart. I think the path to victory for The Answer is to drag this fight to the floor, but Blessed has terrific wrestling defense and shooting in could result in a well-timed knee.