UFC 240 in Edmonton is Saturday night, and there are a lot of intriguing storylines on this card. At the top of the board, we have a lot of fighters in the last few fights of the card, and that is always very interesting to see how the public reacts to cards like this.
Holloway vs. Edgar
The top-end fights here all have interesting storylines, but they also have clear favorites. Max Holloway is a -400 favorite over the older Frankie Edgar here. The question here is just how far over the hill is Edgar and can he continue to stay as quick in his later years.
Holloway is the big favorite here for a reason, and I think the biggest gap between these two fighters recently is the quality of opponents and wins. Holloway is coming off of a decision loss to Dustin Poirier, but can Edgar do similar things to replicate Poirier’s performance earlier this year?
That is where I question Edgar’s ability to utilize quickness and stay in a dogfight for five long rounds at this point in his career. Holloway is elite at volume striking and eventually defeating his opponent that way. Maybe Edgar can stay quick enough to make Holloway work hard to make consistent and clean contact with Edgar, but I think that Holloway has done that throughout his career anyways.
Edgar will need to force Holloway to work really hard and then also land a lot of punches himself, and I just think we are asking way too much of Edgar here. I think that Edgar could avoid 200+ significant strikes here, but that would just lead to him also causing less damage.
That being said, I think Holloway is very safe at his -400 pricetag, and I am good with using him in fantasy, parlays, and straight up.
Cyborg vs. Spencer
Cris Cyborg is the biggest favorite on the card at -600 just ahead of Holloway, and she is taking on a young Canadian fighter in Felicia Spencer. Spencer is 7-0 in her professional career and shows some promise, but this is not the spot to show off that promise.
Cyborg was seen as one of the best female fighters of all time until her recent upset loss to Amanda Nunes. Nunes looked much more prepared and much faster in that fight, but I am not concerned about Cyborg’s long-term outlook.
I am surprised that the UFC is giving Cyborg Spencer here because Spencer is only 28 and is undefeated, but they know that this is a fight to prop up Cyborg for a second Nunes fight down the road. This fight with Spencer in her home country will be propped up as a real challenge that was passed by Cyborg to prove that the Nunes loss was a fluke.
I’m not sure that I buy that sales pitch, but I do think this is a fight where the UFC picked an interesting opponent for that reason. They want Cyborg to come out here and get a quick KO to show that she is still one of the best in the sport. I think Cyborg will do just that.
Spencer is not a bad fighter, but she will quickly be outmatched on the feet, and I think that the grappling game will never really amount to much. Although Cyborg doesn’t really love to grapple when she doesn’t have to, she is a black belt in BJJ and very capable of holding her own and even dominating.
The path to beat Cyborg is to take her into deep waters and hope to wear her down late, but I don’t think that Spencer has the respect of Cyborg to do that. Cyborg should hunt Spencer down early and try to push for a first-round KO.
I love Cyborg here to get the win, and I also think I would be willing to get better odds on the first-round KO prop in a fight that she needs to show off in to maintain her status.