The Ultimate Fighter 22 Finale just got a lot more interesting. On Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2015, news broke that featherweights Frankie Edgar and Chad Mendes would be battling it out in the main event of the evening.

Simply put, this is a great piece of matchmaking by Joe Silva and his team at the UFC. Even though Edgar could just wait for his rightful title shot, the former UFC lightweight champion was adamant about staying busy; stating his willingness to fight anyone and everyone in the featherweight division.

In Mendes, Edgar is getting an opponent who is just as respected and dangerous as he himself is. Last seen battling interim champion Conor McGregor at UFC 189 Mendes is hungry to get back in the saddle and put that loss to McGregor behind him.

Edgar and Mendes are two of the very best in the sport today and considering how similar their skill sets are this bout will be tough to predict.

Striking

Mendes has made a lot of strides in the striking game over the years and his power has made him very dangerous on the feet. But Edgar’s technical ability and footwork will prevail. Not only is Edgar the more technical of the two, he will have a significant six inch reach advantage. That is a lot of distance to close against a fighter who fully understands the importance and power of the jab.

Advantage: Edgar

Grappling

This is where things get a little tighter as both fighters have outstanding wrestling pedigrees. If we were talking about pure wrestling Mendes would get the edge because of his shot speed and explosion to finish the takedown. But functional MMA wrestling is a little more nuanced; transitioning between striking and grappling without telegraphing is an art form. An art form, Edgar has nearly perfected over his career. Mendes is going to be difficult to takedown, but Edgar has the timing and expertise to pull it off.

Slight Advantage: Edgar

Submissions

Another area where both fighters are very close in skill level is submissions. Even though Edgar has his BJJ black belt, don’t think that he is light years ahead of Mendes in the submission department. Mendes just like all of his Team Alpha Male counterparts are have an exceptional choke game. They know how to attack the neck and finish fights. Even though Edgar has more wins by submission Mendes is just as dangerous going for submissions.

Even: No advantage for either fighter

X Factors

Heading into this bout, Edgar’s biggest X Factor is his reach advantage. Six inches is a lot of ground to cover and it will play a direct role in the outcome of this fight. If Edgar can set and maintain the distance with his jab and utilize his footwork to create angles for power shots, then Mendes is going to be in a lot of trouble.

Mendes’ X Factor on the other hand will be his cardio. Up until his bout against McGregor, Mendes’ cardio was never a question. But after gassing out in the second round against McGregor, Mendes needs to set, control and maintain the pace in this fight. Edgar has been in numerous five round fights over the course of his career and cardio has never been a question. If Mendes’ cardio isn’t on point, Edgar will run away with the fight.

Prediction

It’s hard to pick against either fighter, but someone has to lose in December. Mendes has the power and the explosive athleticism to hurt Edgar, but having competed against some of the biggest lightweights in the world Edgar should take it in stride. At the end of the day, Edgar’s technical superiority prevail in a close and entertaining bout.

Edgar Via Unanimous Decision

About The Author

RJ Gardner
Content Coordinator

RJ Gardner is a rabid sports fan and a long time MMA enthusiast. After watching UFC 1 at ripe old age of 11 RJ was hooked and his passion for the sport has continued to blossom over the years. RJ has been covering MMA since 2007 and has had work featured on Bleacher Report, SI.com, CBSSports.com and UFC.com. RJ is also a Petroleum Transportation Operations Manager during the day.