UFC Mixed Martial Arts

It’s a Canadian stampede this weekend, as the UFC heads to Edmonton for UFC 240 Saturday. In the main event, the long-gestating clash between Max Holloway and Frankie Edgar headlines the card, which also features an intriguing and potentially explosive clash between Cris Cyborg and Felicia Spencer.

Max Holloway (20-4) -425 vs. Frankie Edgar (23-6-1) +300

MMA free pick: Holloway

It’s better late than never for Max Holloway and Frankie Edgar, who have seen this clash materialize, and then fall apart, three times over the past two years. During that time Holloway has compiled an impressive 13-fight win streak at featherweight, while Edgar creeps closer to the end of his legendary career.

As good as Edgar was in his prime, those days are far behind him, as his sturdy chin finally cracked last year against Brian Ortega, a fighter who would never be mistaken for a puncher. Aging fighters can have fleeting stamina and agility issues, but when their durability begins to go, it’s a sign they are entering a rapid decline.

Holloway is coming off a competitive loss to rival Dustin Poirier at lightweight at UFC 236 and is moving back down to defend his featherweight title. With all due respect to Edgar, this is a soft touch for Holloway, with only Edgar’s prestigious career preventing this from being called a mismatch.

Unless Holloway was damaged beyond repair in his last fight, he’ll have no trouble closing the distance against a veteran who must put himself directly in the line of fire for a shot at an upset. Holloway is younger, stronger, faster and all kinds of wrong for Edgar at this stage of his career.

It is hard to imagine a scenario where Edgar pulls off the upset. Holloway should run away with this one and put down enough firepower to end the proceedings around the fourth round.

Cris Cyborg (20-2, 1 NC) -750 vs. Felicia Spencer (7-0) +470

MMA free pick: Cyborg

Depending on who you believe, Cris Cyborg is either on her way out of the UFC after her bout with Felicia Spencer or is jockeying for more favorable terms for a rematch with Amanda Nunez. Either way she has a live underdog in front of her, as the undefeated Spencer is looking to transition from one upset win to another.

Spencer, the former Invicta featherweight champ, choked out Megan Anderson in her last outing, but she has a more daunting task ahead of her, as the heavy-handed Cyborg is the most decorated and volatile opponent she has ever faced. To assume Spencer is going to be a sacrificial lamb is a bit of a stretch. A formidable grappler, Spencer is a capable inside fighter who can make Cyborg’s night rough if she can withstand her power.

Cyborg is going to stick to her guns and impose her will on Spencer, with designs of notching a devastating knockout. Unlike Nunez, Cyborg is not going to be worried about trading shots early on to establish her offense, and her advantage in punching power will ensure she gets the better of whatever exchanges occur between them. This fight can take a turn for the dramatic if Spencer takes her to the mat, which isn’t outside of the realm of possibility.

Cyborg is the favorite here, but if Spencer can smother her offense while aiming for those critical takedowns, she might have another upset submission to her record. Spencer is an attractive pick at +470 odds, but Cyborg will be too much for her to handle and should see her hand raised in victory Saturday night.


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