UFC 156 will feature one of the most talent-filled, exciting cards of the year, headlined by a fight between two of the top 10 pound-for-pound mixed martial artists in the world: Jose Aldo and Frankie Edgar.
What makes this superfight interesting is that it will mark Edgar's first fight in the division after losing two razor-thin decisions to Benson Henderson for the lightweight belt. The card also features fights between Rashad Evans and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, Alistair Overeem and Antonio Silva, and Joseph Benavidez and Ian McCall.
Here's a breakdown of the statistics and odds surrounding all the fights to see where value lies in betting UFC 156.
Main event: Five rounds
Jose Aldo (minus-245) vs. Frankie Edgar (plus-205)
Just two fights ago, Edgar was the UFC lightweight champion and widely considered one of the best fighters in the world. Two controversial decision losses later, Edgar finds himself an underdog against featherweight champion Jose Aldo at 145 pounds. While there is no question Aldo deserves all of the respect he is getting as the favorite, Edgar presents a challenge unlike any Aldo has faced. Not surprisingly, Aldo and Edgar are similar in several ways.
The starkest similarity is in their production. Aldo and Edgar hold an almost identical strikes landed per minute (SLpM) rate at 3.55 and 3.32, respectively. Not only are they offensively similar, but conversely, Edgar and Aldo share an almost identical striking defense, with both successfully avoiding around 72 percent of opponents' attempts. With nearly equal striking statistics, the only real difference between the two fighters comes in the ground game, in which Edgar has used his wrestling ability to impose a very effective 2.73 takedowns per 15 minutes on opponents. (Aldo's rate is 0.76.) The problem with this advantage for Edgar, however, is that Aldo holds one of the best takedown defenses in MMA (95 percent, compared to Edgar's 60 percent). In short, Aldo has the ability to neutralize the only supposed edge Edgar has in this fight.
Aldo also is known for his ability to close out fights, having finished 15 of 21 victories without going to the judges. Edgar has closed out only six of his 14 wins, relying on the judges for eight of his triumphs. Add to this that Aldo is 5 years younger, and minus-245 seems like an accurate line. And with the unpredictability of the change in weight class factoring in, this one is probably better to enjoy from the sideline.
Insider's value pick: