Frankie Edgar will one day be inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame. On Saturday at Rogers Place in Edmonton, he showed why.
The former lightweight champion fought a smart, courageous and tactical fight in his bout against Max Holloway for the featherweight title in the main event of UFC 240.
He moved almost constantly, darting in and out, and catching Holloway with the occasional 1-2. He mixed in kicks and kept alive the threat of a takedown.
The problem for Edgar is that Holloway did all of those things and more on the way to a unanimous decision victory in a compelling bout. Judges had it 50-45, 49-46 and 48-47 for Holloway. Yahoo Sports had Holloway sweeping all five rounds and winning 50-45.
Holloway landed the harder shots, kept a jab in Edgar’s face throughout, did more damage and once again showed why he’s considered the greatest featherweight of all-time.
“Everybody said I wouldn’t be able to wrestle with this guy,” said Holloway, who stuffed 12 of Edgar’s 13 takedown attempts, according to FightMetric. “Everybody said I wasn’t going to be able to stay with his pace. I wanted to prove a point and go five rounds with him so I could let the world know I’m here to stay.”
Holloway, who lost a lightweight title bid at UFC 236 in Atlanta on April 13 when he was edged by Dustin Poirier, had everything rolling again and showed why he has been so dominant at featherweight. He hasn’t lost at featherweight since dropping a decision to Conor McGregor in 2013. Excluding the loss at lightweight to Poirier and a win over Clay Collard in a catchweight fight in 2014, Holloway has won 13 in a row at featherweight and has gone 5-0 in 145-pound title fights.
He was raking Edgar with a right uppercut, repeatedly finding a home for it and preventing Edgar from rushing in and closing the distance. He kept Edgar on the end of the jab for much of the night, and even when Edgar was on top of his game, Holloway was in command.
Edgar, who has now gone 0-5 in his past five championship bouts since defending the lightweight belt successfully against Gray Maynard in 2011, said he wasn’t surprised by Holloway’s plan.
But he didn’t have an answer for Holloway’s length nor did he have the firepower to shake him.
“I expected everything he brought,” said Edgar, who got emotional in the cage but said he would not retire. “Max is a stud, man. He represents our sport to the best. He represents his team to the best. He’s the best guy in the world.”
Holloway proved that conclusively again. During his featherweight title run, only Brian Ortega among his five championship victories didn’t hold a title at one point or another in his UFC career.
Holloway won the interim featherweight title in Toronto by stopping ex-lightweight champion Anthony Pettis. He made two successful defenses over former featherweight champion Jose Aldo. After knocking out Ortega, he outlasted Edgar, the ex-lightweight champion, on Saturday.
The division is full of elite contenders, and he’s likely to see Alex Volkanovski next, and it’s going to take a Herculean effort to defeat him.
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