UFC 240: Previewing the Biggest and Best Fights Set for Edmonton

Nathan McCarter@McCarterNFeatured ColumnistJuly 8, 2019

UFC 240: Previewing the Biggest and Best Fights Set for Edmonton

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    July got underway in Vegas with UFC 239, but it will feature a second pay-per-view card as UFC 240 takes to Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta, on July 27.

    Atop the bill is a featherweight battle years in the making. Max Holloway comes back to 145 to defend the featherweight title against Frankie "The Answer" Edgar. Helping to bolster the top-end, Cris "Cyborg" Justino returns to action against Felicia Spencer with a featherweight title shot on the line.

    Canada will be treated to a world-class title tilt, but the card also features several action fights that will put any fight fan on the edge of their seat.

    What UFC 240 lacks by way of marketable names, it makes up for with the value of action. July will end on a high note of fisticuffs in Edmonton.


    UFC 240 Full Fight Card

    • UFC Featherweight Championship: Max Holloway vs. Frankie Edgar
    • Cris Cyborg vs. Felicia Spencer
    • Geoff Neal vs. Niko Price
    • Olivier Aubin-Mercier vs. Arman Tsarukyan
    • Marc-Andre Barriault vs. Krzysztof Jotko
    • Alexis Davis vs. Viviane Araujo
    • Tanner Boser vs. Giacomo Lemos
    • Hakeem Dawodu vs. Yoshinori Horie
    • Gavin Tucker vs. Seungwoo Choi
    • Alexandre Pantoja vs. Deiveson Figueiredo
    • Gillian Robertson vs. Sarah Frota
    • Erik Koch vs. Kyle Stewart

The Main Event: Max Holloway vs. Frankie Edgar

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    Max Holloway moved up to lightweight in an attempt to become a dual-weight champion, but he fell short against Dustin Poirier at UFC 236.

    At UFC 240, Holloway drops back down to defend his featherweight title and remove the taste of his defeat from his mouth.

    Awaiting him on the other side of the cage will be Frankie Edgar. For the first time in three years, the former lightweight champion will get a shot at UFC gold. He has had two prior tries at the featherweight belt, both against Jose Aldo, and come up just short.

    Edgar's story has always included overcoming adversity. He will likely have to weather a furious Hawaiian storm to net another UFC title.

    Holloway has blossomed into a dominant champion at 145 pounds, but after a war at a higher weight, there may be a question as to what that took out of him. Edgar will certainly be the fighter to test Holloway in his first fight back at featherweight. Edgar's high pace and well-rounded skill set will make Holloway work tirelessly to keep his belt.

    But if Holloway is back on form, it could be a long night for the former champ.

    Holloway went on a 13-fight win streak after losing to Conor McGregor in 2013. The slow ascent to the top turned Holloway into a beast who found ways to dominate and brutalize Anthony Pettis, Jose Aldo (twice) and Brian Ortega.

    What makes Holloway special is that he doesn't just fight one way. He is able to adapt to his opponent's strengths and still come out on top.

    This is the right time for this matchup. Edgar has waited for his time to come again, and it will be here soon. Capitalizing on his final chance at a title would help cement his legacy as one of the all-time greats, but Holloway is looking to add another legend to his win column.

    The UFC 240 main event is a true MMA fan's dream with two tactical and special athletes competing for the sport's highest prize.

The Co-Main Event: Cris Cyborg vs. Felicia Spencer

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    Cris "Cyborg" Justino is used to being the favorite, but after a swift sub-minute knockout loss to Amanda Nunes at UFC 232, oddsmakers have slightly cooled on her prowess. Per BestFightOdds.com, Cyborg checks in as a -400 favorite against the unheralded Felicia Spencer.

    Those are still substantial odds, but it is a far cry from being a -900 favorite against Yana Kunitskaya or -1300 favorite over Tonya Evinger.

    Spencer is an undefeated grappling specialist. She is a perfect 7-0 and has finished her last three opponents via submission. It all looks good on paper, but Cyborg is not easy to get to the mat. That is Spencer's first and biggest test in this matchup. Can she drag Cyborg to the canvas?

    What makes this fight even more special is that coming out of UFC 239, Amanda Nunes wants to defend the featherweight title. That is exactly what she told Joe Rogan in her post-fight interview in the cage. And with such a shallow division, this matchup is the de facto title eliminator.

    Cyborg dominated this division, and the sport in general, for years. A rematch with Nunes is intriguing. She has now tasted her power and understands the threat better than ever. It seems to be the best fight to make, but Spencer is hoping to play spoiler.

    The co-main event is worth your attention because Cyborg is an amazing fighter, and we have never seen her come off a knockout loss in MMA. A Spencer win would be shocking, and it would set up a fresh fight against Nunes. A Cyborg win gives fans the best women's fight available for later in 2019.

    High stakes are at hand, and a Lioness will be waiting in the wings for whoever comes out with their hand raised.

Fight to Keep an Eye On: Alexandre Pantoja vs. Deiveson Figueiredo

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    UFC 240 is a hardcore fan's kind of card. It lacks a lot of name value, but it has interesting undercard bouts, such as Alexandre Pantoja vs. Deiveson Figueiredo.

    The flyweight division is in an odd state in 2019 following the UFC's decision to trade away Demetrious Johnson. The division appears to be sticking around, but the talent pool is as shallow as it ever has been since the division's inception. That will open the pathway for a quick route to title contention for the winner of this fight.

    And with Henry Cejudo shelved with a shoulder injury, there may be a chance for an interim title to be at stake against Joseph Benavidez.

    Pantoja is on a three-fight win streak already. It includes notable victories over Brandon Moreno and Wilson Reis. A win over Figueiredo would give him an argument for a title shot just behind Joe B, who is a clear second in the division.

    Figueiredo is coming off a decision loss to Jussier Formiga, but that was his first professional loss ever. If he can return with a win over Pantoja, Figueiredo should reclaim his place at the top of the division.

    Cejudo's injury puts more pressure on each fighter to perform. An interim title may be created, and Benavidez needs an opponent. This could be the fight that settles who that may be, and should Cejudo recover more quickly than expected, the winner will still be an inch away from a title shot.

    If the flyweights are going to have a resurgence, this fight will play a pivotal role in its comeback.

Best of the Rest

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    Geoff Neal vs. Niko Price

    Welterweights Geoff Neal and Niko Price are a long way from contention, but this is one of the best fights on the card because both men are pure action fighters.

    This is a Fight of the Night contender just with their presence.

    Flip a coin to make a prediction. They'll go to the center and throw down. This is an all-violence matchup between two talented, mid-tier welterweights looking for a statement. Someone is going to sleep.


    Alexis Davis vs. Viviane Araujo

    No one is Valentina Shevchenko's equal in the flyweight division, but it is a new division with a lot of pathways to a title shot. Alexis Davis is a longtime vet with a little name value. While she is coming off back-to-back losses, a win would put her right back in the hunt at 125-pounds.

    The real reason to watch is Viviane Araujo. She took a fight on short notice at bantamweight and, as a natural strawweight, cleaned Talita Bernardo's clock early in the third round. She will still be fighting a division up against Davis, but she should only enhance her power at 125.

    A loss could be written off as she returns to strawweight, but with a win, Araujo could quickly put herself in a position to fight for UFC gold after another incredible showing. Keep an eye on her in this spot.


    Hakeem Dawodu vs. Yoshinori Horie

    Hakeem Dawodu came into the UFC with a lot of hype, and it was immediately derailed with a loss to Danny Henry. Quietly, Dawodu has put together back-to-back wins. Now he gets Yoshinori Horie.

    Horie will be making his promotional debut at 8-1 as a professional. Of those eight wins, five have come by way of knockout. At 24-years-old, Horie could be the next prospect out of Japan with significant upside.

    There are a lot of possibilities with this fight. It's a darkhorse contender for Fight of the Night. More importantly, it is a fight between two talented strikers who bring in more youth to the featherweight division. The UFC should give this fight a prime spot to maximize its exposure as it should be one of the evening's best scraps.