TUF 19 Finale: Edgar vs. PennSunday, July 6 – 11:00 p.m. ET
Las Vegas, NV
Frankie Edgar (15-4-1) vs. BJ Penn (16-9-2)5-Round Featherweight bout
Line: Edgar -475, Penn +350
Two of the best in the sport look to get a huge victory on Sunday night as Frankie Edgar and BJ Penn square off for a third time at TUF 19 Finale in Las Vegas.
Edgar was able to get back on track in his last fight on July 6, 2013, defeating Charles Oliveira by way of unanimous decision at UFC 162, where he held a substantial 81-38 edge in significant strikes. Before that match, he had lost his previous three fights, which were all title bouts. However, those losses were to Benson Henderson (twice) and Jose Aldo, and all those defeats went the five-round distance. Sunday marks the third matchup between these two fighters, with Edgar winning the first two fights back in 2010 by way of unanimous decision. Edgar is an incredible athlete, using his speed and quickness to wear his opponents out. Even with the two wins against Penn, this may be the toughest of the three. Penn, who is making his featherweight debut on Sunday, is regarded as one of the best to ever fight in the octagon. His resume includes wins against Diego Sanchez, Kenny Florian, Takanori Gomi and Matt Hughes (twice), and Penn is the one of two fighters (along with Randy Couture) to win UFC titles in two weight classes, lightweight and featherweight. Penn has big-time knockout power, and will really look to use that strength to his advantage in this fight. Of his nine career losses, seven have been by way of decision, showing Penn can wear down the later the fight goes. When these men fought for five rounds on Aug. 28, 2010, Edgar held a dominant 94-36 edge in significant strikes. It is very difficult to beat someone three consecutive times, but that is exactly what EDGAR will do on Sunday night.
Of his 15 victories, "The Answer" Edgar has won nine of those fights by way of decision. His conditioning and stamina will be a huge advantage in this sport, as Penn will struggle to keep up with Edgar. He also has three wins by way of knockout, and three by submission. Edgar does come into the fight with an advantage on significant strikes landed (3.35 per minute, compared to 2.77 for Penn). However, the 32-year-old New Jersey can get a little sporadic with his striking, landing only 39% of those strikes. Penn, on the other hand, lands 51% of his attempts. If Edgar is able to use his speed and quickness, then he will be in great position to get the win. However, if this turns into a striking contest, Penn has a great chance of finally getting a win in this rivalry.
"The Prodigy" Penn has 16 victories in his career, with seven of those wins coming by way of knockout. He also has six wins by submission and three by decision. Of his six submission victories, five have come by his preferred method of the rear naked choke. While the 35-year-old from Hawaii does not have as high of takedown average (1.36) as Edgar (2.54), he is much more accurate when going for the big takedown (55%, compared to 35% for Edgar). This is a fight of contrasting styles, and for Penn, he can ill-afford to have this match turn into a grueling and long match. He's only 3-7-2 in fights that go the distance, but an impressive 13-2 in fights that don't last the maximum rounds. If the 5-foot-9, 145-pound Penn, who holds a three-inch height advantage over his opponent and has actually fought as high as 205 pounds, is able to set the pace and hit Edgar early in the fight, then the opportunity will be there to get the win.