Coming off three losses, Frankie “The Answer” Edgar must feel like he has something to prove against Charles “Do Bronx” Oliveira in their upcoming match at UFC 162: “Silva vs. Weidman”. As the former lightweight champion, Edgar has fallen far from the top of his division. Many remember him as the fighter who finally toppled B.J. Penn for the lightweight championship, defeating a legend, and immediately beating Penn again for a title defense. The Answer silenced any questions by doing so, but since then has only won a single fight, against Gray Maynard. After that, Edgar made the decision to move down to featherweight, which with his declining record is probably the right decision. This is a classic matchup between an American wrestler and a Brazilian submission artist, each of whom has a significant background in grappling, which promises to make this bout one filled with tons of technical takedowns and artful submission attempts.
In Edgar’s last 15 fights, he has landed 827 out of 2,184 attempted strikes, which leaves him with a decent 38% success ratio. He also has a 35% takedown success average, but that percentage comes from 44 out of 126 attempts, showing that he is constantly gunning to take his opponent to the ground and putting constant pressure on his opposition. About 70% of Edgar’s attacks are from the standup position, pegging him as the boxer/wrestler archetype that has become so popular for American MMA fighters as of late. He has also avoided 72% of strikes and 61% of takedowns, showing that his defenses are incredibly secure. With a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to supplement his wrestling, he is incredibly dangerous on the ground and will not be caught unawares by Oliveira’s grappling style. However, it is hard to say if this is the same Edgar that we saw take down Penn and put on the Fight of the Year against Maynard.
Coming from Sao Paulo, Brazil, Oliveira was pretty much unheard of until 2010 when he moved to the UFC and was named the third best Brazilian prospect to watch by Sherdog. He has a decent height advantage over Edgar, which will force the Answer to be punching up the whole fight and considerably impact his power. Do Bronx, which is Portuguese for “the ghetto,” has demonstrated tremendous heart and hard work by literally fighting his way out of a tough neighborhood and into Texas, USA. In his last nine fights he has landed 46% of his strikes, and although his takedown percentage matches that of the Answer at 35%, his figures are significantly lower, succeeding in six out of 17 attempted takedowns. Also similar to Edgar is his percentage of strikes thrown while standing, which lies at 69%, yet Oliveira prefers to mix it up a little more in the clinch than his opponent does. With a black belt in BJJ, Do Bronx’s submission game is a little more serious than Edgar’s, but what the Answer lacks in submission variance he makes up for in takedowns and throws.
Also coming off a loss, Oliveira will want to prove his worth in the division by cinching the biggest win he’s had since he won submission of the night against Efrain Escudero, who won season eight of The Ultimate Fighter. If Edgar manages to keep taking Do Bronx down while establishing dominant ground position, he has a great chance at winning. He’s going to have to be very careful about landing in the Brazilian’s guard, as Oliveira is totally capable of fighting off his back with dangerous submissions.
I think that both of these fighters are aware that their opponent has a serious ground game, and at least for the first round will want to keep the fight standing. Eventually, this fight is going to end up on the ground, and that’s where sparks will fly.