This Saturday’s UFC 240 is a two-card fight, with the caveat being the two bouts hold tremendous stakes.
On paper, Saturday does not offer the depth of prior fight cards, especially 238 and 239. But the two fights to watch are worth seeing. Max Holloway looks to defend his Featherweight title against Frankie Edgar in a fight two-and-a-half years in the making, while the women’s featherweight fight pits Cris Cyborg vs. Felicia Spencer.
The UFC’s trip to the Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, will look to add some extra heat to the summer, but that will be a difficult task with the lack of sizzle on the card.
Here is a look at three of the top storylines centering around UFC 240:
1.How will Max Holloway respond from his loss in April? If Holloway wins, will Frankie Edgar announce his retirement?
This fight is must-see for a multitude of reasons, beginning with seeing how Max Holloway responds from his Lightweight championship defeat in April at the hands of Dustin Poirier.
There were a number of MMA experts who believed Holloway was destined to walk away from that fight as a “champ champ,” holding both the Lightweight and Featherweight belts, which would make him the unquestioned top threat for Khabib Nurmagomedov. But then Holloway lost to Poirier, interrupting those plans. Now he is back in the Featherweight weight class, which is not an easy weight to make.
This fight also represents Edgar’s last shot. If Edgar does not come out of this fight as champion, I cannot envision a scenario where he does not retire.
Edgar has nothing else to prove, and if he cannot be champ, then what is left for the 37-year-old? This match has the potential to prove that he is the greatest 145-pound fighter in the world.
It is exceedingly hard to determine which Edgar is going to show up. Every time you think that Holloway should come out swinging and take this fight by TKO, then Edgar, who is as old-school a fighter as any currently operating in MMA, will unveil his iron jaw and turn the fight into a wrestling match. Holloway is skilled in jiu-jitsu, which remains one of his most underrated qualities because he doesn’t often use it, but Edgar is seeking to push the pace and control the Octagon. The massive question mark with Edgar surrounds his loss to Brian Ortega. Edgar had never been knocked out before that fight, when he was obliterated. Holloway will undoubtedly test that chin.
Edgar has a lot of ways to win, but I still see Holloway winning this fight.
2.Will Cris Cyborg leave the UFC following a victory over Felicia Spencer?
Felicia Spencer genuinely surprised people with her debut and how she looked. She is one of the few natural 145-pound female fighters who can thrive in the Octagon at that weight. If Spencer can beat Cris Cyborg, then she will get her shot at Amanda Nunes and the Feathwerweight title.
Cyborg resides in rarified air among the greatest female fighters of all-time. And the most compelling part of 240 may be if Cyborg wins this fight. This is the last fight on her deal, and she obviously has a cantankerous relationship with the UFC, so win or lose, it's a toss-up whether she re-signs or even wants to re-sign. A win allows her to walk out on the company, which places the UFC in a delicate position.
Spencer needs to come in and make this her fight, controlling the pace. If she is unable to do that, the end is near. Cyborg simply does not run out of gas and she if she can keep going after her with a relentless onslaught, it will be a unanimous decision. For the sake of the fight, I hope Spencer can assert herself in a manner similar to what she did in her debut. In order to win, Spencer needs to pressure Cyborg, who doesn't deal well with adversity. But all signs point to a signature Cyborg go-the-distance, win-the-decision type of bout.
3. What is worth watching on the undercard?
Welterweights Geoff Neal and Niko Price should piece together an exciting fight. Both of these fighters are wild men who come out swinging, have full tanks of gas and work for everything. It should be a fun fight, but neither Neal nor Price has established himself enough for this fight to have increased stakes. This fight is for the crowd, but it doesn’t move the needle on a macro scale.
Two other parts of the card that stick out are prelim fights Hakeem Dawodu against Yoshinori Horie in a featherweight fight that has some long-term implications, as well as Gillian Robertson vs. Sarah Frota in women’s flyweight action on the early prelims.
Dawodu got finished in his first UFC fight, which took place in March 2018, and that was a major surprise. But he is the real deal as a fighter, and his past two victories (a July 2018 win over Austin Arnett, then the UFC 231 victory against Kyle Bochniak) have allowed him to get past the Octagon jitters, so it will be especially interesting to see the type of damage he can inflict in the cage.
In the women’s flyweight on the early prelim, Robertson is only 24 years old but she has an impressive pedigree after training at American Top Team in Tampa, Florida. Under the coaching of Din Thomas, Robertson has transformed into a jiu-jitsu beast in the cage. She is an extremely fun fighter to watch, and she is beginning to make some noise. If she can deliver another dominating performance and win by submission, then jumping into the top 15 of the women’s flyweight division quickly moves from dream to reality.
But the main card is a two-fight card, with Holloway-Edgar and Cyborg-Spencer the reasons to watch 240.