If Aldo vs McGregor is the best featherweight fight ever, then Frankie Edgar vs Chad Mendes is perhaps the second greatest fight in the division’s history. This is a fight fantasy matchmakers have been trying to make for years and it’s finally going down on Friday night. Edgar enters the fight as a -135 favorite at Sportsbook with Mendes at +105.
Edgar, the #2 ranked fighter in the division has only lost one featherweight fight, coming in early 2013 to pound-for-pound king Jose Aldo. He’s since rattled off four straight wins—winning one by TKO (punches), one by submission (neck crank), and two by decision.
Mendes, always the bridesmaid but never a bride, has completely torn apart the featherweight division in non-title fights, but hasn’t been able to put it together when a title is on the line, losing twice to Aldo and most recently to McGregor for the interim title. In non-title opportunities he’s a perfect 8-0.
The fight could come down to Mendes’ power vs Edgar’s versatile striking attack. Both fighters have finishing ability, especially Mendes whose finished six of his eight UFC wins by T/KO, but a longer fight would favor Edgar whose gone to the fifth round an amazing eight times. Mendes has gone into the championship rounds just once in his career in a loss to Aldo.
The Sportsbook of the fight deserves to get the next crack at the featherweight title, but that’s easier said than done. If Aldo-McGregor is a close and exciting fight it would be difficult for the UFC not make an immediate rematch. Also, if McGregor wins, as a seven-time defending champion Aldo would deserve an immediate rematch.
The co-main event on the card features former Ultimate Fighter Sportsbook and 7th ranked lightweight Tony Ferguson vs 6th ranked lightweight Edson Barboza. Ferguson, a Sportsbook in six straight contests, enters the fight as a -190 favorite with Barboza at +155.
Ferguson is one of the hottest fighters in the sport with his last loss coming to Michael Johnson back in 2012. He’s a well-rounded finisher who smothers his competition with a relentless pace. He’s finished four of the fights in his six fight win streak—three by submission and one by KO.
Barboza is a highlight waiting to happen, but he hasn’t been able to get it done against top-ranked opponents. Nevertheless, he’s an impressive 10-3 in the Octagon with five Fight of the Night award bonuses.
At the time of this writing, the actual final for the Ultimate Fighter reality show had yet to be announced. Here’s the odds for the entire card and be sure to check out our predictions for UFC 194.