Two of the UFC's most exciting featherweights will collide this weekend, as former lightweight champ Frankie Edgar takes on submission whiz Charles Oliveira at UFC 162.
"The Answer" has been on a bit of a skid lately, most recently losing to featherweight king Jose Aldo at UFC 156, and will be looking to get back into the win column against Oliveira. Prior to the loss, Edgar was forced to move down to the 145-lb division after losing his belt and dropping two straight bouts to current lightweight titleholder Benson Henderson.
The 23-year-old Brazilian jiu-jitsu specialist, who is a huge underdog in this fight, is also in desperate need of a win following his recent knockout loss to Cub Swanson at UFC 152.
Click through to see how these two featherweights stack up against each other in this co-main event breakdown.
For two fighters who don't hail from striking backgrounds, Edgar and Oliveira are solid on their feet.
The young Brazilian is technical with his Muay Thai attacks, utilizing leg kicks to slow down opponents before going in for the takedown. Oliveira also has good striking defense, keeping his hands high while maintaining a straight-up, Muay Thai-style stance.
However, against high-caliber strikers, "Do Bronx" has faltered.
In his last fight against Cub Swanson, Oliveira showed that he is susceptible to high-low combinations. The Brazilian ate a ton of strikes to the body before eventually getting knocked out with an overhand right less than three minutes into the first round.
Oliveira suffered a similar fate at the hands of Donald Cerrone in 2011.
While Edgar's striking is more boxing based, "The Answer" has gone toe-to-toe with some of the best strikers in the lighter weight classes, so he should have no trouble standing with Oliveira.
Edgar's punches and kicks are quicker and more powerful than Oliveira's strikes, while his footwork and head movement are light years ahead of the Brazilian's.
Expect the former champ to land his attacks at will as he runs circles around Oliveira inside the Octagon.
The one area where Oliveira will have a slight advantage is in the submissions department.
The young Brazilian is a whiz on the ground and probably has one of the most dangerous guards in MMA today.
From calf slicers to anaconda chokes, Oliveira's arsenal of attacks is like an encyclopedia of submissions, making him one of the more creative ground fighters in the UFC.
While there's always a chance considering Do Bronx's slick subs, I doubt that Edgar will get caught in anything on the mats.
The Answer is not only a high-level wrestler, he's also a longtime BJJ practitioner under Ricardo Almeida.
Edgar routinely trains with members of Team Renzo Gracie as well, so I'm sure he'll be prepared for whatever Oliveira has in store.
As a former NCAA Division I All-American wrestler, Edgar possesses some of the most explosive takedowns in the game.
The Answer is quick with his shots and never stops driving forward, making his takedowns hard to stop.
Oliveira is a great grappler, but his takedown defense won't be able to stop Edgar from bringing this fight to the ground—if that's where Edgar wants the action to go.
Edgar has had trouble keeping opponents on their backs in the past, but Oliveira's wrestling just isn't on his level. Plus, the Brazilian will likely look to play guard. I doubt that Oliveira will be able to wiggle his way from under the former champ should this bout go to the mat.
There's no question that Edgar will have the edge over Oliveira when it comes to strength and conditioning.
The former lightweight titleholder has fought into the championship rounds in each of his last seven fights, going the full five rounds in six of those bouts. I doubt that he will gas in this three-round co-main event battle.
Oliveira, on the other hand, has only gone the distance once in his career and has yet to go a full 15 minutes while fighting under the UFC. It's really anyone's guess as to whether Do Bronx will gas against Edgar.
In terms of strength, Edgar is the brawnier fighter and will likely manhandle the Brazilian if they clinch up during this bout.
Expect The Answer to outwork Oliveira from all angles in this fight.
Edgar will finally get a break from the five-round wars in this bout, as he's only scheduled to go three rounds against the Brazilian.
This will definitely be an advantage for The Answer, whose edge in the strength and conditioning department could make the difference if this fight goes into the third round. Oliveira is not used to going the distance.
Where Edgar will have to be wary with his game is on the ground.
If the former champ gets too excited with his takedowns and leaves any openings while on top, the Brazilian will have an opportunity to attempt a submission.
It's unlikely that Edgar gets tapped out, but considering he hasn't had a win since 2011, he may be anxious for a victory, which could be disastrous if he's overly aggressive, especially in Oliveira's guard.
While Oliveira is a talented and exciting prospect, I don't see him beating the former lightweight champ.
Edgar is just too fast, strong and experienced to give the Brazilian any openings to attack.
As long as The Answer pushes the pace while striking and avoids getting into a grappling match with Oliveira, I see him finishing this fight early, probably in the first round.
Prediction: Edgar via TKO in Round 1.