Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Featherweight athletes Frankie Edgar and Cub Swanson collided last night (Sat., April 21, 2018) at UFC Fight Night 128 from inside Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Edgar’s last fight — which took place less than two months ago — resulted in a couple unpleasant firsts. Namely, it was Edgar’s first professional loss via knockout, as well as his first non-title Featherweight defeat. Eager to move past that defeat, Edgar jumped on the opportunity to rematch Swanson, even if it was risky to enter the cage so soon. Swanson also entered the cage coming off a loss to Brian Ortega, but Swanson has faced numerous setbacks on his path towards a title shot. One of those defeats came in something of a title eliminator opposite Edgar, and “Killer Cub” was very motivated to even the score.
Edgar came out firing the jab and level changing, looking to set up his combinations. Both men were patient early, as Swanson looked for big counter shots and was wary of the takedown. While neither man connected with their hands right away, Edgar’s kicks were connecting, as Swanson’s head movement kept him planted in range.
A big right hand from Edgar stunned “Killer Cub” slightly, but Swanson defended the follow up shot. In the center, Swanson continued to look for the jab but otherwise refused to throw all that much.
Swanson opened up with his kicks in the final 10 seconds of the round and found some success. Unfortunately for him, the round was already lost.
Swanson kept working his kicks into the second, which found him some success. Meanwhile, Edgar was beginning to open up with more combinations, and his level change setups paid off more frequently as well. Swanson continued to do a nice job of avoiding the takedown.
Edgar’s veteran craft showed in the second. He landed hard shots on the break of failed takedowns, and his low kick counter to Swanson’s jab was beginning to knock his opponent out of stance. Swanson landed a big right hand counter in the close seconds of the round, but otherwise his activity was again far too low.
Swanson just wasn’t throwing enough to give himself a chance at winning rounds despite finding some success.
Edgar’s low kicks continued to land to start the final frame, as he repeatedly answered Swanson’s left handed strikes with both inside and outside kicks. Swanson loosened up a bit, switching stance and stepping in with power a bit more often. He also scored a couple nice body shots as Edgar tried to come inside.
Swanson also continued to defend takedowns very well, but Edgar used them to create offense instead. On the whole, the round was a bit uneventful, but the exchanges heated up with short time remaining. Swanson landed well before eating a big right, but the two returned to slower pace not long after.
It was clearly Swanson’s best round of the fight, but it was still not definitively his and hardly enough for “Killer Cub” to rally on the scorecards.
Was it Edgar’s best performance? Probably not, but he still won every round and clearly beat the division’s No.4-ranked fighter. The short-notice nature, his recent knockout loss, and the loss of both his father and grandfather should also be taken into consideration, and that makes this performance pretty special.
Technically, Edgar had a difficult time getting his wrestling going due to Swanson’s approach. Instead of trying to force the shot -- of the 10 the UFC listed as failed shots, Edgar probably truly committed to two or three — Edgar adjusted to use the shot to off-balance Swanson, landing uppercuts and hooks on the break.
Edgar’s low kicks have never looked better either. Swanson really tried to keep Edgar on the edge of his jab, and a few of them snapped Edgar’s head back. The more significant damage was to the leg though, as Edgar continually picked at him and destabilized his base.
Aside from the kicks, Edgar’s boxing was pretty on point as well. In the pocket, Edgar got the better of Swanson with sharp jabs, doubled up right hands, and good combinations to the body. It was all classic Frankie Edgar techniques, and they worked out just well.
Edgar’s position in the division depends on the result of Max Holloway vs. Brian Ortega. If Holloway retains, Edgar should receive the next title shot. If Ortega captures the crown, Edgar has more work to do.
In the first bout, Swanson was overaggressive and paid the price. Edgar ducked under his punches and smashed him on the ground. It was clear that Swanson tried to make the necessary adjustments -- he did avoid that fate after all — but Swanson’s lowered volume made it very difficult to win rounds.
He basically put himself in a position where he had to knock Edgar out, which is an extremely difficult task.
Aside from the lack of volume, Swanson performed well. His kicks were effective when he threw them actively, but Swanson’s most effective punches were his crafty lunging blows that surprised Edgar from outside the pocket. Again, it makes sense why Swanson avoided relying on them too often, but he needed more of everything without giving up the takedown.
That’s a fine line to walk.
Last night, Frankie Edgar returned to the win column with clear victory. What’s next for the Jersey-native?
For complete UFC Fight Night 128: “Barboza vs. Lee” results and play-by-play, click HERE!