On the eve of Super Bowl Sunday, the Ultimate Fighting Championship puts together a huge event of its own at UFC 156.
There are three massive bouts on the main card, headlined by a featherweight title fight between champion Jose Aldo and former lightweight belt holder Frankie Edgar. The experts at MMAOddsbreaker.com break down Saturday’s three big battles:
Jose Aldo (-205) vs. Frankie Edgar (+155)
UFC president Dana White got what he wanted with Edgar moving to featherweight, a logical decision considering his size when compared to some of the bigger lightweight contenders. While Edgar was able to win the title at 155 pounds, he belongs at 145 and will have to beat the best to become the champ in the division.
Aldo was originally scheduled to fight Erik Koch, who is not even in MMAOB’s Top 15 MMA Fighter Rankings at featherweight. When Koch pulled out of their fight due to injury, it made perfect sense for Edgar to step in despite suffering consecutive losses to Benson Henderson.
The problem is, Aldo is still the superior fighter and Edgar is jumping right into the fire rather than earning his way to a title shot. Aldo’s recent foot injury that pushed this fight back from UFC 153 is a minor concern, as a bigger one might be the layoff he has had since knocking out Chad Mendes at UFC 142 last January.
Regardless, Edgar’s heart gives him a chance, although a victory would likely set up a fourth straight rematch for him with Aldo getting an opportunity to win back his belt if he happens to lose.
Rashad Evans (-345) vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (+265)
This is yet another mind-boggling matchup at light heavyweight between two guys who are simply going through the motions. Evans looks like he just wants to stay active without fighting a difficult opponent in the near future.
Enter “Little Nog”, who has not fought in nearly a year. Evans uses him a tuneup fight before attempting to work his way back into title consideration and a possible rematch with the champion Jon Jones.
What Evans might not realize is that he has a lot to lose here if he does fall to Nogueira, who is three inches taller and may have some surprises in store that could possibly lead to an upset win.
Alistair Overeem (-315) vs. Antonio Silva (+235)
Overeem is obviously awaiting his shot at the heavyweight title and this seems like a logical matchup since he was originally scheduled to fight Silva in the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix. Silva ended up losing in the semifinals to Overeem’s injury replacement Daniel Cormier, who went on to win the tournament as an alternate.
Overeem will follow the same game plan Cain Velasquez used to beat Silva, using his heavy hands to pound out a victory. Silva is an equally large opponent but was definitely intimidated by Velasquez and will need to show no fear inside the Octagon to stand a chance.
Overeem has an extremely confident demeanor and will need to guard against becoming overconfident. Both men have the potential to score a knockout here, but Overeem has a big edge in terms of pure ability and fight experience.
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