UFC 222: Frankie Edgar vs Brian Ortega (Fight Preview

Frankie Edgar returns to action after a 9 month absence at UFC 222 when he takes on the unbeaten Brian Ortega in Las Vegas on March 3rd.

Originally scheduled to fight Max Holloway for the featherweight championship, Frankie Edgar (25-5-1)remains on the UFC 222 card to face Brian Ortega (13-0) in the event’s co-main event slot.

Rather than wait around, #2 ranked Edgar is eager to return to the Octagon and further cement his place at the top of the queue for a crack at the gold.

#3 ranked Ortega senses a big opportunity and if he can knock off Frankie Edgar, there could well be a title shot on the way for the Californian native.

THE ANSWER TO AN UNSOLVABLE QUESTION

Frankie Edgar has been in some tremendous battles over the years and has fought the best of the best.

The former lightweight champion has beaten legends and prospects throughout his featherweight journey but The Answer is set to go to war against one of the divisions trickiest opponents.

It could be argued that Edgar has everything to lose in accepting this fight given that he is certainly next in line for the UFC Featherweight title shot against champion, Max Holloway.

Fighters do, what fighters do though and the veteran is supremely confident that he can accomplish what no fighter has done before and beat Brian Ortega.

THE NEXT BIG THING?

In a sport that is constantly evolving and introducing “the new breed” of mixed martial artist, it is very possible that we are witnessing MMA’s biggest star.

We have seen cocky and arrogant fighters throughout the years talking a good game and propelling themselves through the rankings but Ortega is shooting through the ranks and fanbase with some of the most remarkable performances in the UFC to date.

In his last fight with Cub Swanson, we saw a composed fighter in Ortega who, out of nowhere snapped a standing guillotine choke on Swanson in a matter of seconds.

The sky is the limit for T-City and thus far, it seems that there is no limit on where this young fighter can go.

THE FIGHT

This is such an intriguing fight. It’s the new guard vs the old guard and features two fighters at their very best.

Ortega has fought more since Edgar’s last fight in May but experience and heart have been on the side of Frankie Edgar for years.

Ortega is a dangerous fighter for sure but he needs to up his pace somewhat for Edgar who likes to pressure forward almost instantly and look to secure takedowns to take fighters out of their game plan.

If Ortega can dodge early and frustrate Edgar he does have the better boxing to land counter punches and score early.

That being said, if Ortega allows Edgar to clinch with him, he does possess some very sneaky submission offence from the clinch and could catch Edgar if he can grab a hold of his neck quickly. We’ve seen before that Ortega can adjust his hand positions extremely fast to get a better grip of his opponent.

For Edgar, he needs to utilise the wrestling game and emulate his performance against Yair Rodriquez and stifle him and give him no space to work off his back.

Ortega has some incredible offence from his back and getting in close quarters and making it dirty can be the key in this fight.

THE VERDICT

Look for Edgar to push the pace early. With his good head movement he can cause Ortega to miss and open up possibilities for easy takedowns.

Ortega would be wise to use leg kicks early and establish the distance and force Edgar to think twice about shooting in low. If he can present Edgar with an opportunity to clinch, the choke may be on for Ortega but Edgar does have some excellent scrambles and does not panic in desperate situations.

The 15 minute fight may suit Edgar better and if he can wrestle Ortega to the ground he has the experience to tire out opponents.

Writing Irish Prediction: Frankie Edgar via Decision

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