Two of the most recognizable fighters in mixed martial arts will do battle in what may be a resurrection of The Thrilla in Manila this weekend. Perhaps.
The event is to be headlined by a featherweight bout between former UFC Lightweight champion Frankie Edgar and former WEC Featherweight champion Urijah Faber.
Both fighters have had their shares of highs and lows inside of the Octagon, most notably the wars Edgar had against rivals Gray Maynard and Benson Henderson and with Faber going 0-5 in his last five title fights.
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The Featherweight division in the UFC is as talented as it's ever been and two of its most prolific stars will showcase why that is on May 16.
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Frankie Edgar (18-4-1) was on a tear through the UFC Lightweight division, stemming from his debut at UFC 67 in February of 2007.
Edgar went 9-1-1 in his first 11 bouts in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, engaging in classic fights against "The Prodigy" B.J. Penn and the afore mentioned Gray Maynard. Edgar defeated Penn for the UFC Lightweight title on April 10, 2010 at UFC 112.
He then retained the belt through his next three battles, having the 2011 Fight Of The Year with "The Bully" at UFC 125. However, when Edgar faced off against "Smooth" Benson Henderson at UFC 144, his luck changed.
"The Answer" lost his championship in a hard-fought battle and lost the subsequent rematch six months later. Frankie moved down to 145 lbs. and quickly challenged UFC Featherweight champion Jose Aldo but again was defeated.
It had appeared that Edgar was sliding down a slippery slope but he has since recovered nicely with three straight wins, including a TKO victory over B.J. Penn once again.
Urijah Faber (32-7), at one point or another, was the face of MMA.
Non-fans knew his face, knew what he did and knew he was a tough dude. When Faber made the jump from WEC to UFC, he made an immediate impact, winning at UFC 128.
This set "The California Kid" up for a Bantamweight title fight against Dominick Cruz. Faber was the favorite going into the clash, having previously submitted Cruz in a WEC Featherweight Championship fight in 2007. But, anything can happen in the UFC and "The Dominator" won a unanimous decision over Faber.
Urijah has had 11 fights in the UFC, resulting in eight wins and only three losses. To the average fighter, that record is not too bad but each of those three losses were UFC title fights.
Faber has failed to capture UFC gold in fights against Cruz and former UFC Bantamweight champion Renan Barao. Urijah is a very active fighter with Saturday marking his eighth fight in just under 27 months.
The UFC Featherweight division is stacked, no question about it. Frankie Edgar is the #2 ranked Featherweight in the world whereas Urijah Faber is #3 in the Bantamweight rankings. Both men have been rolling as of late.
Edgar is riding a three-fight win streak and Faber has won six of his last seven fights. It's going to be a close fight but the edge may go to Faber in this one, winning a five round decision over Edgar.
Faber has not lost an UFC fight where a title was not on the line and "The California Kid's" return to the Featherweight division may prove to be truly...thrilling.
- Gegard Mousasi vs. Costas Philippou at Middleweight (185 lbs.)
- Mark Muñoz vs. Luke Barnatt at Middleweight (185 lbs.)
- Hyun Gyu Lim vs. Neil Magny at Welterweight (170 lbs.)
- Phillipe Nover vs. Yui Chul Nam at Featherweight (145 lbs.)
- Mark Eddiva vs. Levan Makashvili at Featherweight (145 lbs.)