Former Ultimate Fighting Championship lightweight titleholder Frankie Edgar will downshift to 145 pounds to challenge Jose Aldo for his featherweight crown in the UFC 156 main event this Saturday at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas.
Sherdog.com touched base with a number of professional fighters and trainers to gauge their opinions on the UFC 156 ďAldo vs. EdgarĒ headliner:
Mitch Clarke: Iím picking Aldo by decision or a late TKO. I think Frankie will lose his speed advantage going down in weight against a bigger, faster, stronger fighter.
Jeff Hougland: I honestly canít pick a winner here. I would say Aldo has the speed and athleticism going for him, but Edgar has the heart, skills and more big-fight experience. Iím just gonna sit back and watch two of the most talented guys in the sport do their thing, while being thankful Aldo is not kicking me in the leg and Edgar is not slamming me on my head.
Andy Ogle: Aldo wins by unanimous decision. Frankie wonít give up and may be a burden for Aldo to deal with, but I see Aldo figuring him out and getting the majority of the rounds.
Brian Foster: Letís start by saying this is one hell of a fight. Jose has shown an amazing skillset since before his UFC days when he was in the now-defunct WEC. This kid can handle anything in this sport. He has the ability to knock you out from any position, and this fight has fast-pace, eventual-one-punch-knockout written all over it. Can Frankie ride his bike and pop shot his way to a victory or will he fall victim to the divisionís most dangerous man? All I can say is this is a fight for the ages, and you would be crazy to miss it.
Spencer Fisher: Iím not sure about this fight; itís a tough one to call. They both have their own special skillsets, but I think the difference in the past between Joseís opponents and Frankie is that Frankie has good footwork and you donít know which direction heís coming from. He can also dish out as much as he takes. On the flipside, Jose is the most well rounded striker in the 145-pound division and has fantastic takedown defense. I would give the edge to Frankie. He always figures out a way to win.
Jason High: Hard for me to pick against either of these guys, but I think of all the people Aldo has fought, Frankie is the most complete. The only thing Iím concerned about is Frankie adjusting to the speed difference between weight classes.
Danillo Villefort: I believe Frankie will not have enough power to handle Aldo. I believe Aldo will win by TKO.
J.J. Ambrose: Edgar is the man. Heís one of the best come-from-behind fighters in the sport. His heart and speed enabled him to overcome much bigger fighters, winning him the title along the way. That being said, Aldo is Anderson Silva at featherweight. His precise striking and speed see him walk through most guys in the early rounds. I see Aldo winning via decision due to Edgarís chin and unbreakable spirit not allowing him to be TKOíd.
Ricardo Liborio: Toughest matchup for Aldo so far, but leg kicks can really complicate things for Edgar. Aldo wins by decision.
Benji Radach: Fun fight, but I gotta say Jose should be taking this one. The kid is pretty solid and has lots to bring to the table.
Mike Ciesnolevicz: Edgar is a great fighter and athlete. In my opinion, he should probably still be the UFC 155-pound champ. The fights with Benson Henderson were tossups, and I think Frankie did enough to win those. The problem now is how do I pick against Aldo? He has won 11 straight fights in the WEC and UFC, with devastating wins over similar-style opponents to Edgar, like Chad Mendes, Urijah Faber and Mike Thomas Brown. I think Edgar will put up a spirited effort as always but will fall short to the explosiveness and well-rounded style of Aldo. Aldo wins by TKO in round two.
Tom DeBlass: Edgar takes it. His relentless pressure and movement will wear down Aldo, as Frankie takes the unanimous decision.
Tom Lawlor: Edgar wins. His footwork will be too much en route to a five-round decision.
Jacob Volkmann: Iím rooting for Edgar.
Ed Herman: Iím expecting a great fight. If Aldo gets his kicks and takedown defense, itís going to be a third-round TKO for him. If Edgar uses his wrestling to control the fight, it will be a decision for Edgar.
Johny Hendricks: I like Frankie in this one. I think he has the speed and the strength to compete with Aldo and has great wrestling and punching off his takedowns, as well.
John Gunderson: What a great matchup. As long as Aldo does not gas on Frankie, he should be able to bust him up real bad and defend his belt.
Mac Danzig: I believe the ouroboric snake will swallow its tail in this one.
Robert Drysdale: Aldo wins.
Kyle Kingsbury: Frankie wins by outlasting, outpacing and outwrestling Aldo.
Eric Prindle: I like Frankie and Jose. I have all the respect in the world for them both, and they are phenomenal martial artists. I think Aldo will win, and leg kicks will be a factor.
Nan Phan: I gotta go with Frankie. Heís the man.
Cung Le: Edgar wins.
Travis Wiuff: Iím taking Edgar by close decision in a potential ďFight of the Year.Ē
Travis Lutter: I think Jose will win this one. His current unbeaten streak is a year longer then Andersonís. I think Jose will utilize Thai kicks, and that will be the deciding factor in it.
Mark Bocek: Aldo wins by decision.
Zach Makoovsky: This is the upcoming fight I am most looking forward to. Aldo is one of the most talented guys out there, and I think this is a very difficult fight for Frankie. He has to be completely aware and not lose focus for 25 minutes. That said, I think Frankie survives some early scares and uses his pace and nonstop movement to frustrate Aldo and become a two-division champ.
Caros Fodor: Gonna go with Edgar in this one. Even though Aldo is extremely dangerous, Edgar is very durable and has the ability to put Aldo on his back. Also, cardio is one of Edgarís best attributes, and it seems to come and go with Aldo. I got Edgar winning by decision.
Jason Dent: I believe Aldo will win this fight. He is just so accurate and deadly with his knees, elbows and low kicks. Frankie will have the wrestling advantage, but Aldo is a finisher. Aldo wins by TKO by or before the end of round four.
Brock Jardine: People might think Iím crazy, but Iím going with Frankie on this one. Why? Iím going with him because of his wrestling and heart. Also, if I didnít pick him, my teammate, Rad Martinez, would be very upset, as they were college teammates. It will be a brutal 25 minutes, but, in the end, Frankie will win a close decision. I predict a 48-47 unanimous decision.
Dave Jansen: I got Edgar. Frankieís wrestling abilities, his speed and the fact that heís finally fighting at his natural weight should give him the edge.
Pros Picking Aldo: 12
Pros Picking Edgar: 12
No Pick: 7