UFC 240 takes place tonight. Michael Grocke gives his predictions and preview for every fight on the card.
The UFC travels north of the border to Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada for UFC 240 on Saturday night. The main event takes place in the featherweight division where Max Holloway will defend his UFC featherweight title against Frankie Edgar.
The last time we saw Max Holloway he was on the losing end of a unanimous decision against Dustin Poirier for the Interim UFC lightweight championship. After his unsuccessful bid for gold at 155, Holloway returns to 145 to defend his featherweight title against Frankie Edgar. Holloway has been on an absolute tear at 145 lbs. He has thirteen wins in a row and has successfully defended the title twice.
After unifying the UFC Featherweight Championship with his win over Jose Aldo at UFC 212, Holloway successfully defended the title by beating Jose Aldo in their rematch at UFC 218 and then Brian Ortega at UFC 231. Of his twenty career victories, the Hawaiian native has ten via (T)KO to along with two by submission. The twenty-seven-year-old will make the walk for the twenty-fifth time on Saturday night.
Former UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar will look to add UFC featherweight champion to his resume when he steps into the octagon opposite Max Holloway on Saturday night. After dropping the UFC lightweight championship and subsequent rematch to Ben Henderson, Edgar made his UFC featherweight debut by losing to Jose Aldo at UFC 156.
Although Edgar lost to Aldo that night, here we are six-and-a-half-years later and “The Answer” gets another shot at the featherweight championship. Edgar’s most recent fight was at UFC Fight Night 128 where he beat Cub Swanson via unanimous decision. At thirty-seven-years-old, the UFC veteran will make the walk for the thirty-first time. Twelve of his twenty-three career wins have gone the distance.
In the co-main Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino will look to get back to her winning ways after getting finished by Amanda Nunes at UFC 232 and losing the UFC women’s featherweight championship. The last time Cyborg lost a professional fight was in 2005. In the Brazilian’s twenty career victories seventeen are via (T)KO. Saturday’s fight will be the twenty-fourth for the thirty-four-year-old former UFC featherweight champion.
After starting her pro career by going 5-0 in Invicta FC, Felicia Spencer made her UFC debut by subbing Megan Anderson at UFC Fight Night 152. Four of the current Invicta featherweight champion’s seven wins are via submission. At twenty-eight years old, Spencer will make the walk for only the eighth time on Saturday.
The third fight on the main card takes place in the welterweight division where Geoff Neal takes on Niko Price. Geoff Neal enters the fight on a five-fight win streak. His most recent win occurred at UFC Fight Night 143 where he defeated Belal Muhammad via unanimous decision. Eight of his eleven career victories ended inside the distance.
Twenty-nine-year-old Niko Price is coming off a win in his most recent fight. He finished Tim Means in the first round at UFC Fight Night 146. All but one of his thirteen career wins ended inside the distance.
Also, on the main card Arman Tsarukyan goes up against Olivier Aubin-Mercier and Marc-Andre Barriault vs. Krzysztof Jotko.
The UFC 240 early prelims will stream on ESPN+ beginning at 5:15 PM (CST) with the prelims airing on ESPN starting at 7:00 PM (CST). The main card will stream on ESPN+ PPV at 9:00 PM (CST).
Note: The predictions in this column do not necessarily mean that I will be betting them. I have changed my mind in the past and gone the other way after conducting more research. For all of my official bets follow me on Twitter @MichaelGrocke.
UFC 240 Main Card
Max Holloway (20-4) vs. Frankie Edgar (23-6-1) – Featherweight 145 lbs.
Current Odds: Holloway -400; Edgar +300
Pick: Holloway by decision.
I just don’t see a path to victory for Edgar. Granted he has insane wrestling, but Max is damn near impossible to takedown. Edgar is a cardio machine, so I do see him getting a takedown or two, but I don’t think he’ll be able to keep Holloway down. I definitely don’t like Edgar’s chances on the feet, not to mention Holloway’s solid chin. Plus, Edgar is prone to getting hurt as he has shown in his recent fights. Maybe Max has a difficult weight cut. Or maybe the weight cut will deplete his cardio and chin. If that’s the case, then I can see Edgar grinding out a decision.
Cristiane Justino (20-2, 1 NC) vs. Felicia Spencer (7-0) – Featherweight 145 lbs.
Current Odds: Justino -550; Spencer +375
Pick: Cyborg by (T)KO.
Spencer has excellent wrestling and if she gets her opponent to the mat, she has brutal ground and pound. As good as she is with wrestling, it’s the complete opposite on the feet. She is abysmal standing and striking. Obviously, Cyborg has great stand-up and power. She is also savvy on the ground. The only question is where is she mentally? Did the Nunes fight change her? Where will she be fighting after this fight? Is she still hungry for the title? I think she is and makes quick work of the over-matched newcomer.
Geoff Neal (11-2) vs. Niko Price (13-2, 1 NC) – Welterweight 170 lbs.
Current Odds: Neal -350; Price +275
Pick: Neal by (T)KO.
This is going to be a fun fight. I think Neal is the more technical striker. Price has poor striking defense and can be reckless, but his aggression and power make him dangerous. I like Neal here, but not at that price. I may look at Neal ITD.
Olivier Aubin-Mercier (11-4) vs. Arman Tsarukyan (13-2) – Lightweight 155 lbs.
Current Odds: Tsarukyan -170; Aubin-Mercier +140
Pick: Aubin-Mercier by decision.
I was on the OAM bandwagon for a while, but I just haven’t been impressed lately. That said, something tells me he’s going to pull off the upset here. Both fighters have good wrestling, but Tsarukyan might be the slightly better striker. OAM won’t quit and I can see him grinding out a decision.
Marc-Andre Barriault (11-2) vs. Krzysztof Jotko (20-4) – Middleweight 185 lbs.
Current Odds: Jotko -170; Barriault +140
Pick: Barriault by (T)KO.
Barriault will want to keep the fight on the feet where he can test the chin of Jotko. If Barriault can defend the takedown or at least pop back up after getting taken down I like the undergod’s chances. The first round might be a little scary if you have Barriault due to Jotko being a fast starter but come rounds two and three I expect Barriault to take over.
UFC 240 Prelims
Alexis Davis (19-9) vs. Viviane Araujo (7-1) – Flyweight 125 lbs.
Current Odds: Araujo -195; Davis +160
Pick: Araujo by decision.
Davis is on the decline and she’s going up against a young, hungry fighter. Davis basically just walks forward and tries to get in close, but she’s too hittable. I see Viviane boxing her up and possibly getting a finish.
Hakeem Dawodu (9-1-1) vs. Yoshinori Horie (8-1) – Featherweight 145 lbs.
Current Odds: Dawodu -400; Horie +300
Pick: Dawodu by (T)KO.
This is Horie’s UFC debut. Both fighters have enough power to sleep anyone. Dawodu should be the quicker fighter and be able to out-volume Horie. While I wouldn’t be surprised if Horie gets his hand raised, I think Dawodu is too much, too soon.
Gavin Tucker (10-1) vs. Seung Woo Choi (7-2) – Featherweight 145 lbs.
Current Odds: Choi -135; Tucker -105
Pick: Choi by decision.
After a two-year layoff for Tucker I don’t know what to expect from him. I’ll back the younger, fresher fighter in Choi.
Alexandre Pantoja (21-3) vs. Deiveson Figueiredo (15-1) – Flyweight 125 lbs.
Current Odds: Pantoja -130; Figueiredo +100
Pick: Pantoja by submission.
I’m really looking forward to this fight. Pantoja is excellent everywhere. Figueiredo is a striker with a ton of power. The problem with Figueiredo is he’s a low-volume striker. Pantoja will be the busier fighter and should be able to out-volume Figueiredo. Pantoja also has excellent BJJ but for whatever reason he doesn’t go for takedowns as often as he should. If the fight takes place on the ground, then I heavily favor Pantoja. I’m going with Pantoja regardless, but Figueiredo’s power is a concern. If Figueiredo losses here, then a move to bantamweight might make sense.
UFC 240 Early Prelims
Gillian Robertson (6-3) vs. Sarah Frota (9-1) – Flyweight 125 lbs.
Current Odds: Robertson -135; Frota +105
Pick: Frota by decision.
Robertson is an aggressive fighter and I expect her to keep constant pressure on Frota. Gillian is going to try and get the fight to the ground. Frota on the other hand, is the bigger fighter with more power in her hands. She will want to keep the fight standing where she is by far the superior striker. This is a tough fight to call, but I’m going with Frota. I think she’ll be able to defend the takedown and piece Robertson up on the feet.
Erik Koch (15-6) vs. Kyle Stewart (11-2) – Welterweight 170 lbs.
Current Odds: Stewart -115; Koch -115
Pick: Koch by decision with little confidence.
Koch is the more skilled fighter and will have a huge advantage if the fight goes to the ground. I worry about his ability to persevere. He tends to break in his fights. Stewart will want to keep the fight standing at all costs. This is a tough fight to predict.
Enjoy the fights!
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