LAS VEGAS — Frankie Edgar is one of the most popular fighters in UFC history. He’s always down for a fight and few have met as many elite opponents in their careers as Edgar has done.
The one-time lightweight champion has made the drop to bantamweight that many called for years ago, and he’s again taking on a dangerous opponent. Fifth-ranked Pedro Munhoz, who in 2019 knocked out ex-champion Cody Garbrandt, will welcome Edgar to his new class when they meet in the main event of an ESPN card Saturday at Apex.
Munhoz is nowhere near as big of a name, but bettors have been playing him, and he’s been bet up to a -255 favorite at the MGM Grand sports book. Edgar is now +205.
The bantamweight division is stacked, particularly at the top, with Marlon Moraes, Aljamain Sterling, Garbrandt, Cory Sandhagen and Munhoz positioned directly behind new champion Petr Yan.
But because Garbrandt will drop to flyweight to challenge Deiveson Figueiredo for that title, there is an opportunity for one of these fighters to position himself better for an eventual shot at the belt.
Edgar is clearly the sentimental favorite, but he faces a difficult challenge against Munhoz.
First, Edgar is six weeks shy of his 39th birthday and is moving down in weight against an opponent with speed and quickness who’s in his prime.
There are plenty of legitimate questions about how Edgar’s body will react to the weight cut. There’s also the question of whether his chin is sturdy enough after all these battles he’s endured over the years. Eventually, a fighter has taken enough blows and the body signals that it’s had enough.
The chin just can’t accept a solid blow like it once could and it becomes a vulnerability.
Edgar is coming off a first-round knockout loss to Chan Sung Jung, also known as “The Korean Zombie,” but his chin hasn’t been a liability for him every time out. At UFC 240 on July 27, 2019, he went the distance in a title fight loss to Max Holloway.
He’s only been knocked out twice in his career: against Jung on Dec. 21 and to Brian Ortega at UFC 222 on March 3, 2018.
Edgar pointed out he was doing well in that bout before he was caught by Ortega.
This is a fight, though, that could wind up standing given their styles, Edgar as a wrestler and Munhoz as a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
Munhoz figures to have a speed advantage and may be quicker than anyone Edgar has faced.
Munhoz has a lot of options and is in his prime, which is why I’ll lay the -255 and bet $255 on him to win with the hope of earning a $100 profit.
Ovince Saint Preux at +110 to win $100 over Alonzo Mennifield (this fight was postponed Saturday).
Mariya Agapova at -1200 to win over Shana Dobson. I’ll lay two units on Agapova, so I’ll risk $2,400 hoping to win $200. (Crazy, I know.)
I pick the Agapova-Dobson fight to not go the distance, so I will lay -455 hoping to win $100.
And finally, I’ll play under 2.5 rounds in the Agapova-Dobson fight at -278 hoping to win $100.
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