Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) lightweights Yves Edwards and Piotr Hallmann will face off on the main card of UFC Fight Night 42 this Saturday night (June 7, 2014,), airing live at 10 p.m. EST on FOX Sports 1 from Tingley Coliseum in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
A 17-year veteran of mixed martial arts (MMA), Edwards comes in off a first round knockout loss to Yancy Medeiros at UFC Fight Night 31: "Fight for Troops 3," a result that was eventually changed to a No Contest when Medeiros tested positive for marijuana. If not for the switch, "Thugjitsu Master" would own losses in four of out his last five bouts.
Polish-born Hallmann recently made a quick turnaround and lost a decision to Al Iaquinta at UFC Fight Night 30 after submitting Francisco Trinaldo in his Octagon debut at UFC Fight Night 28 only a month earlier. The loss snapped a ten-fight win streak, so "Pletwal" will be eager to start a new one this weekend.
With both fighters at completely different crossroads in their respective careers, let's take a look at the keys to victory for Edwards vs. Hallmann:
Record: 42-20-1(1) overall, 10-8(1) UFC
Key Wins: Josh Thomson (UFC 49), Jeremy Stephens (UFC on FOX 5), Rafaello Oliveira (UFC on Versus 6)
Key Losses: Matt Serra (UFC 33), Daron Cruickshank (UFC on FOX 8), Isaac Vallie-Flagg (UFC 156), Tony Ferguson (TUF 14 Finale), Duane Ludwig (Strikeforce: Destruction), Jorge Masvidal (BODOG Fight: Alvarez vs. Lee)
Record: 14-2 overall, 1-1 UFC
Key Wins: Francisco Trinaldo (UFC Fight Night 28)
Key Losses: Al Iaquinta (UFC Fight Night 30)
The 37-year-old Edwards has an impressive resume, but lately the top-level fighters that populate the UFC lightweight division have been getting the best of him. Training out of American Top Team, Edwards is a well-rounded finisher with 16 knockouts and 17 submissions to his name. However, he's also been stopped eight times himself, not a good sign given that Hallmann has only one decision win in 14 total victories.
Edwards needs to use his speed and striking ability to keep Hallmann at range. He should be the faster fighter. Avoiding too many grappling exchanges will be key to defeating Hallmann, who has never tapped out. There's no doubt Edwards has flashy knockout ability, but he'll have a hard time showing that this Saturday.
Hallmann is going to come out aggressive and look to make this fight dirty. There's no reason for him to engage in a technical striking contest with Edwards because it's not likely to end well for him. Using his boxing to transition into some takedown attempts will go far in negating Edwards' striking prowess, as will a heavy dose of nullifying clinch work.
The highly experienced Edwards will be an excellent gauge of how far Hallmann is ready to go in UFC. If "Pletwal" can get past "Thugjitsu Master" in Albuquerque, he'll move onto much bigger and better challenges inside the Octagon.
Yves Edwards is nearing the stretch run of his lengthy MMA career, while Piotr Hallmann is just looking to get his started. Does the flashy Bahamian striker have enough left in the tank to hand the Polish prospect his second straight loss?