UFC TUF 19 Finale preview: Five burning questions for 'Edgar vs. Penn 3' in Las Vegas

USA TODAY Sports

Before every fight card, mixed martial arts (MMA) fans toggle between possible scenarios and what to expect days before it all unfolds in front of their eyes. Probable outcomes, distinguishable facts and head-scratching theories are all part of the mystique that surrounds the fights on any given night. We ask ourselves the same questions … and try to uncover different answers.

And it don't stop.

The Fourth of July weekend festivities continue on Sunday night (July 6, 2014) with The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 19 Finale: "Edgar vs. Penn 3," taking place at Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. The majority of the show will be broadcast on FOX Sports 1 (FS1), with a few "Prelims" fights taking place on Fight Pass.

A trilogy bout is on deck for the main event, as former UFC lightweight champions collide when Frankie Edgar battles B.J. Penn. The two have met twice before inside the Octagon, with "The Answer" upsetting "The Prodigy" at UFC 112 back in 2010, and then defending the strap he won at UFC 118 in Boston.

Apart from the middleweight and light heavyweight finals that will be on the main card (which were announced here), Derrick Lewis takes on Guto Inocente in a heavyweight bout, alongside a flyweight scrap featuring Justin Scoggins vs. Dustin Ortiz.

With several interesting storylines emerging from this card, check out our "Five Burning Questions" heading into these fights in "Sin City."

5. How will Robert Drysdale do in his first UFC fight?

It's about time.

It seems like we've been waiting forever for the accomplished jiu-jitsu champion to make his UFC debut. He was supposed to fight multiple times before, including a bout against Ednaldo Oliveira over a year ago at UFC 163.

Elevated testosterone levels canceled out his fight against Cody Donovan at UFC 167, and it seemed as if the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt was going to be let go by the promotion.

Opting to keep him instead, UFC has now booked a fight for the 33-year-old combatant against Keith Berish, as their contest will open up the card on Sunday night. He's fought six times since making his debut in 2010, and it should come as no surprise that he finished every single opponent by submission.

But can the decorated athlete strike?

We'll find out if the light heavyweight is indeed the phenomenon hardcore fight fans have been waiting for.

4. Is Justin Scoggins the world's next best flyweight?

After just one fight inside the cage at UFC Fight Night 33, Scoggins declared himself as the best fighter in the world during the event's post-fight press conference.

It's a little bit of a cheeky statement on his part, though he has looked pretty impressive thus far in his short UFC career. At the tender age of 22, he's already being pitted against tough competition this weekend opposite Dustin Ortiz, and the sky's the limit if he gets the job done.

He demolished Richie Vaculik in his first fight, stopping his opponent by way of punches, and despite not looking as outstanding in his second battle, he thoroughly dominated veteran Will Campuzano at UFC 171 to go 2-0.

The flyweight division is in dire need of some fresh blood. Not because some of the premiere players are lacking, but more so because the 125-pound weight class needs to grow and newer challenges must present themselves to keep Demetrious Johnson busy.

That said, "Tank" is a lauded prospect from American Top Team (ATT) who needs to defeat the gritty and downright mean Ortiz for any of this to make sense.

3. Will TUF still be around a year from now?

Ladies and gentlemen, I regret to inform you, TUF is all but dead.

UFC president Dana White went on the record to say TUF 19 was the worst season ever, upset with the fact that most guys weren't hungry enough to bring it all home.

If you asked your average MMA fan who knows Kimbo Slice isn't the heavyweight champion, they'd tell you the promotion's reality show is more stale than a bowl of Doritos left on the counter for six days.

Sure, it birthed some major stars, but apart from the first two episodes, the rest of the program just sucks (a lot like American Idol). Nobody wants to see the personal lives of fighters they've never heard of, and despite some coaches giving us good television in the past, it's boring and overdone.

They desperately need to change it up, not only because the ratings are plummeting, but also because everyone has just lost interest. TUF 20 will probably be enjoyable, solely because the all-women's season is refreshing and features a handful of former Invicta FC fighters, and TUF: "Latin America" is still going to go as planned.

But after that, can the organization do us all a favor and just pull the plug?

2. Will this be B.J. Penn's last fight inside the Octagon?

If the legendary lightweight should win in the rubber match against his familiar foe, then there's a good chance he'll put on the gloves again.

However, if Penn comes up short for the third time, failing to beat the man who took his lightweight title away in Abu Dhabi, fighting would seem slightly ludicrous for someone who accomplished so many great feats over the years, and simply can't hack it anymore.

Ever since both losses to Edgar, the Hawaiian hasn't looked good. He's only captured one win since then (over Matt Hughes), not to mention he was trounced by Rory MacDonald and Nick Diaz in his last two contests.

For some reason, his boss still lets him go to war despite saying he should have contemplated retirement last year, and he reiterated that comment a few days ago (if the featherweight was to lose). Living by his "Just Scrap" motto is understandably entertaining and proves he's a warrior, but if he's going to suffer from another couple of beatings that could take away years from his life, why should he have to fight for our sake?

The former lightweight champion is surely well off, and he could go down as the greatest 155-pounder in MMA history, depending on who you ask. Let's just hope we all can remember the glory days, and if he suffers another lopsided loss this Sunday night, it's best to close the book.

1. Could Edgar skip the line at featherweight, or even headline UFC 176 with a huge win?

He already has a bit of upside when it comes to skipping the line, since he took Aldo into the deep waters when the two fought at UFC 156.

The pride of New Jersey looked pretty good in the championship rounds, putting Aldo on his back while giving him the most trouble out of anyone in his UFC scraps. Also, some observers were divided when it came to the decision, since many felt Edgar did enough to steal the featherweight title in his debut.

UFC 176 is in dire need of a main event since "Scarface" suffered an injury in training. It would be interesting if Edgar finishes "The Prodigy" quickly and gets slotted in the main event, or faces Chad Mendes at a later date.

Cub Swanson won't like it (even though he's apparently destined to get what he wants), yet the thousands of Edgar supporters across the globe wouldn't argue with the decision.

On the flip side, the situation now becomes interesting with these three competitors, because if Aldo needs to take significant time off, that's where an interim championship could come into effect.

Or, Swanson could fight Mendes at UFC 176, but that would mean the Team Alpha Male featherweight would risk his place in line.

Anyhow, since the former lightweight titleholder is a whopping 10-1 favorite over his adversary on Sunday night, the bookies are expecting for the win to come easy. If Edgar towers over Penn and finishes him, not only would it be his first finish since brutally knocking out Gray Maynard at UFC 136, his star power may be enough to warrant him a second shot at the 145-pound strap.

I guess it depends on how good he looks, and if the organization feels Edgar would be a better fit to be slotted in the UFC 176 main event.

For more on UFC's TUF 19: "Edgar vs. Penn 3" Finale click here.

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