UFC 268 is packed with top-level fights, including Marlon Vera vs Frankie Edgar to kick off the main card on Saturday night.
Edgar is an experienced 40-year-old who could be on his last legs, but he is getting respect from the sportsbook against the much younger fighter.
The bantamweights are chasing a potential title shot next year, so it’s an important fight at New York’s Madison Square Garden on Saturday on the Kamaru Usman vs Colby Covington card.
Vera Happy to Fight Anyone
He’s not the most attractive name in the bantamweight division, but Marlon Vera doesn’t care who the UFC puts in front of him.
The 28-year-old faced an unranked Davey Grant in June, which was a shame, but he got the job done via decision over three rounds.
He wasn’t meant to fight Dominick Cruz last month, but he believes the bigger-name fighters are seeking more high-profile fights.
“The initial plan was me and Cruz on Oct. 30,” Vera told MMAFighting. “I guess Cruz was looking for something bigger, brighter and nicer but the matchmaking, it’s almost perfect.
“There’s nobody available right now. Whatever. I said this before and I’ll say it again, I don’t chase no man. I’m not desperate to fight anybody.
“I’m a fighter. You pay me. It doesn’t matter if it’s No. 100 or No. 2, if you pay me, I fight.”
Must Watch 👀👀… The Suga Show ( Sean O’Malley) vs. Marlon Vera breakdown #UFC252 on Unlocking Victory.. Tune in NOW! 📺 [https://t.co/0Y3w4z8ENJ] @AngieOverkill @espnmma #UnlockingVictory pic.twitter.com/3vBewdG6LU
— Dominick Cruz (@DominickCruz) August 10, 2020
Vera lost to Jose Aldo in December last year, but he was the first person to beat Sean O’Malley when scoring a TKO victory. The fight was marred by an O’Malley injury, but he’ll always have that claim to fame.
UFC fight odds have Vera at -175 to beat Edgar, which is a fair price.
Edgar Hoping to Last Longer
Frankie Edgar’s fight against Cory Sandhagen in February lasted all of 28 seconds, so he’ll be hoping to spend more time in the Octagon.
The ageing former champion defeated Pedro Munchoz last year, but he had lost three of his previous four fights to Chan Sung Jung, Max Holloway and Brian Ortega.
Frankie Edgar steps back into the Octagon this weekend at 40 years of age after a minor setback vs Cory Sandhagen to face Marlon Vera at UFC 268. I’ll be looking forward to hearing the pop from the MSG crowd as “The Answer” makes the walk one more time. https://t.co/vX2iAogtYC
— Mike’s MMA Picks (@MikesMMAPicks) November 1, 2021
Edgar hasn’t been fighting easy opposition, so the 23-9-1 fighter demands attention. He is a former lightweight champion and that means he should have excellent power in the bantamweight division.
“I think 135 is the division for me. The weight cut is really not that bad; the only thing it does is make me be a little more disciplined during my camps, and that’s a good thing,” Edgar said. “Size-wise, I feel more comfortable here.”
Our only concern is his lack of recent knockout record. He has been knocked out in three of his last five fights, and the last time he knocked out someone came in 2017 against Yair Rodriguez.
Edgar might have lost his knockout power and against a guy as talented as Vera, that could be problematic.
Edgar vs Vera Pick
Our UFC best bets have Vera beating the legend. He’s a younger fighter, and although he hasn’t fully showcased his skills, he gets his chance now.
Bigger fights are on the horizon for The Ultimate Fighter contestant, and we’re happy with the -175 odds available.
Betting online markets could firm his odds on fight night, so the price is worth locking in. Vera represents a -200 chance, and he should kick off the UFC 268 main card with a victory.