Las Vegas, Nevada – Saturday, March 3 – 11:30 pm (ET) / 4:30am (GMT)
You can find the best odds for UFC 222 at BetOnline.
Oh, Frankie Edgar.
Edgar is either tremendously brave or oozing with confidence as he steps into the cage to face the next best contender in Brian Ortega in the co-main event at UFC 222. When Max Holloway was forced to withdraw from the pay-per-view after suffering an injury, Edgar asked to stay on the card and give up his chance at Holloway and the UFC Featherweight Championship to instead battle it out with the extremely slick Brian Ortega.
Frankie Edgar (22-5-1) is about as real as it gets. He’s probably the best fighter in the UFC who has not held the UFC title since 2011. During his stretch of featherweight that dates back to February 2013, Edgar has defeated everyone in his way except Jose Aldo. When Edgar challenged for the championship at UFC 156 in 2013, he lost a unanimous decision against one of the greatest featherweights of all-time. He then ran through a list of to-be legends to earn another shot at Aldo at UFC 200, but would fall short once again.
This time, he’s finally in another position to challenge for a title and Aldo isn’t the champion. Yet, he’s added an extra hurdle by accepting to fight Brian Ortega before getting his hands on Max Holloway later this year.
Brian Ortega (13-0) has shot to the top of the featherweight division incredibly quickly. After winning four consecutive fights, he earned a shot at Cub Swanson (who was also very close to another title shot). Ortega wrapped him up like a pretzel and applied one of the best submissions of 2017 before making Swanson tap to a choke in round two. Ortega had finally arrived.
He then announced that he would be willing to sit on the sidelines and wait for Holloway vs. Edgar to play out before challenging the winner for the UFC Featherweight Championship. That plan was certainly making a lot of sense, considering his position, but now he finds himself in a title eliminator against second-best guy in the division.
This matchup is one of the most fascinating ones on the entire fight card.
Frankie Edgar has absolutely crushed everyone not named Jose Aldo and his most recent destruction was that of Yair Rodriguez. Rodriguez was a 10-1 highly regarded prospect at the time, but Edgar just grounded him before beating him with up with heavy shots from top position. Rodriguez, who was quickly climbing the rankings, looked like he was not even remotely close to being on the same level as Edgar.
And then there’s Ortega, who somehow clawed his way back to win fights during his four-fight winning streak before meeting Swanson. He was arguably losing to Clay Guida before he finished him in the final moments of round three. He was probably on the losing end of the Swanson fight before he locked up that world-class choke in the second round, as well.
Ortega is incredibly dangerous because of his high-level Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu ability. He’s more advanced and fluid than any other submission grappler out there right now, and seems to be able to find a submission opportunity from any position.
He’ll need to be able to search his entire submission skillset against Edgar, though, because it is likely he will be placed in many disadvantaged positions if Edgar chooses to take top position and grind him out.
Prediction: Frankie Edgar by decision
There should be no surprises that Frankie Edgar opened up as a betting favorite in this contest. After all, he’s certainly one of the very best in the division. He began at -203 but can now be found at -170 . That means that bettors are showing a lot of respect for Brian Ortega.
The thing about Ortega is that he always has a way to win tucked up his sleeve. A submission arsenal like his can be used against any level of competition in the UFC.
But, his constant ability to escape bad positions might just see him last the full three rounds against Frankie Edgar. He won’t accept being laid out and beaten up like Yair Rodriguez was. It’s hard to see Frankie Edgar not controlling Ortega over the course of 15 minutes.
Bet on the proven veteran of the sport. You can find Frankie Edgar at odds of -160 at BetOnline.