Featherweight champion, Max Holloway, returned to the 145-pound ranks after an unsuccessful bid to become the promotion’s latest double champ, taking on perennial division contender, Frankie Edgar, in UFC 240’s pay-per-view (PPV) main event from inside Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
It was a match up that had fallen through several times previously, with Edgar — the former Lightweight champion — taking a dangerous fight in the interim against fellow top-ranked contender, Brian Ortega, which ended with “The Answer” knocked out for the first time ever in his professional mixed martial arts (MMA) career.
Holloway was out to preserve his legacy as the greatest UFC Featherweight of all time, while Edgar looked to join distinguished company as a two-division champion before eventually calling it quits on a storied MMA career. And after five rounds of entertaining action, it was Holloway who ultimately reigned supreme.
The first round, as expected, comprised both fighters feeling each other out. Edgar implemented his patented herky-jerky pressure, while Holloway sat back patiently and looked to counter. Edgar, the wrestler, attempted a takedown midway through the round, but Holloway made him pay for it, connecting with a flush uppercut to the face. Edgar didn’t attempt another takedown for the rest of the round. Holloway landed another solid uppercut later in the round, but the first five minutes were otherwise uneventful.
Both fighters were significantly more active in the second round, trading shots for the first minute until Edgar dove in for his second takedown attempt of the fight, which Holloway defended well once again. Edgar’s nose began to leak blood midway through the round as Holloway’s striking volume and precision began to pay dividends. Later, he slugged Edgar with a hard right cross, his most significant strike of the fight at the time. Edgar tried another takedown, but quickly abandoned it as the seconds ticked away. Holloway landed a beautiful spinning back kick at the buzzer, which Edgar was able to appreciate as he headed back to his corner for a quick break.
Edgar tried to get things going early in the third, attempting yet another takedown, but yet again getting denied entry by his Hawaiian adversary. The pair then once again decided to just kickbox, with Holloway walking down Edgar and looking to pile on the significant strikes. Edgar came in for another takedown and Holloway made him pay, connecting on a great short-distance combination. Sensing he was hurt, Holloway chased him down and wobbled “The Answer” with a flurry, but Edgar was finally able to score a takedown in the scramble, giving him time to recover.
Into the championship rounds it appeared as though Holloway was getting the better of Edgar — his cardio and pressure late in fights is otherworldly. Edgar, though, was a game opponent, standing toe-to-toe with the champion, blood streaming out of his nose. He remained active, like he always does, but his shots just didn’t have the same impact — or compounding damage — to truly faze Holloway. Edgar needed a finish in the fifth and final round, but unfortunately for him, it never came. He was locked inside a cage with a young lion tonight — perhaps the best 145-pound UFC fighter ever — and he just couldn’t get it done.
There’s no shame in that, especially at the age of 37. Edgar’s best days are clearly behind him, while Holloway, 27, still doesn’t seem to have hit his combat sports prime. That’s a scary thought.
Good luck, Alexander Volkanovski ... and the rest of the Featherweight division.
Remember that MMAmania.com delivered LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 240 fight card all night long, starting with the Fight Pass “Prelims” matches online, which began at 7 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on ESPN, before the PPV main card on ESPN+.
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