Edgar vs. Rodriguez A ufc 211 fight study

Nothing new for Frankie Edgar as he comes in at a height and reach disadvantage despite dropping down to featherweight in 2013. Even though he's five inches shorter, he's only at a 3" reach disadvantage which can certainly serve to benefit him in the pocket. However, Yair's long frame and legs combined with his wide stance can certainly widen the gap.

Frankie is a former champion with many five round fights under his belt and only five losses, all by decision. Yair only has 11 professional fights (3 KO's, 2 Subs, 5 Decs) and two exhibition fights from The Ultimate Fighter (1 KO, 1 Sub). His only loss is by knockout, where he pretty much jumped into a punch in his third professional fight in 2012. Amazing how Frankie has never been finished in 27 total professional fights. It's a risky venture to bet against Edgar.

Statistics from FightMetric.com

Frankie Edgar

Excellent footwork, fast combinations, seamless blending of striking and wrestling while his heart and chin have created some of the most memorable fights in the UFC.

Against Yair Rodriguez, I believe Frankie's movement and footwork on the outside will be the most important key factor to pay mind to because that is where Yair is most dangerous - his kicks work as a cage-cutting mechanism which narrow his opponent's ability to escape. If Frankie is able to use his patented 'knee pick-to-punch combination', stutter steps, attacking off angles, leg kicks and forward pressure to drive Yair backward then I think he finds success in this fight. Allowing Yair to work in space will be detrimental given his height and reach advantage.

Rodriguez is also very crafty off his back, wrapping his opponents up while keeping active hips forcing them to constantly re-establish top control and positions. Frankie is an experienced wrestler and also a BJJ black belt under Ricardo Almeida but we've seen him caught in guillotines many times, though not ever submitted. However, an explosive and opportunistic fighter like Yair can capitalize on moments when Frankie drives in for head outside single legs. Who really knows how close Charles Oliveira came to ending the fight with Frankie via guillotine before the round end?

Edgar vs Oliveira | UFC 162

Frankie's conditioning and heart are unquestionable and battle tested. The amount of damage he's taken is always something to factor given the time he's spent in the octagon. At 35 years old and holding the UFC record for total fight time (6:17:49), one does begin to wonder when we'll see him begin to diminish but he's shown time and time again he's here to stay. This will be tested again against Yair but pressure in all areas will be the key to victory for Frankie Edgar.

My recommended viewing for stylistic comparisons:

  • Frankie Edgar vs Benson Henderson
  • Benson Henderson vs Frankie Edgar 2
  • Frankie Edgar vs Charles Oliveira
  • Frankie Edgar vs Cub Swanson

YAIR RODRIGUEZ

Despite fighting against a veteran that is Edgar, Yair has a chance to not only pull off an upset (albeit a small one) but really make a name for himself off of one of the UFC's elite. Yair will want to use his height, reach, wide stance and dynamic kicks to keep Frankie at range and pick him apart. Against both BJ Penn and Alex Caceres, he displayed a very high volume of kicks from all levels and varieties. Frankie is known for his movement and footwork which Yair can decimate with his powerful kicks. However, Frankie has relentless top pressure and tricky ways to get inside the reach of his opponents by using feints, level changes, and attacking off angles. Yair will need to have drilled escapes off the cage and off his back if he wants to win this fight because Frankie will look to take away space and work inside. Although the concept is simple, it could prove to be very difficult. Yair's key to victory is to fight at his range and strike at a high volume.

Forecast

I believe these two to be quite evenly matched. Both are very good at catching kicks, setting up strikes, and simply well rounded fighters. Although Yair may show some deficiencies when it comes to fighting at close range and susceptibilities to takedowns, he's also made adjustments in those areas. Against Rosa he would use elbows and knees in close. He was also very active off his back by wrapping up triangles, sweeping, and even strikes off his back. Yair was able to defeat Rosa by dealing more damage off his back while attempting submissions. I believe Yair Rodriguez will win this fight with volume at range specifically with leg kicks and head kicks and submission attempts. I believe Frankie will push the pace being the aggressor in an attempt to cut off Yair's movement. I see him being successful but shy of doing enough to pick up a decision.

My Pick: Yair Rodriguez via decision victory.

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