UFC returns to action on Saturday night with UFC 156: Aldo vs. Edgar. The explosive bill will see Jose Aldo make the fourth defense of his UFC Featherweight Championship against former lightweight champion, Frankie Edgar, a match eagerly anticipated by not only fans but everybody involved.
The pay-per-view event will come live from the Mandalay Bay Events Center on the Las Vegas Strip. Preliminary bouts start at 8:00 PM ET with the main event commencing at 10:00 PM ET.
The event will be the 23rd event UFC has hosted at the Mandalay Bay Events Center, and the first since Feb. 2012, following the cancellation of UFC 151: Jones vs. Henderson last September.
The event will mark the third straight weekend the UFC octagon has been active. Last weekend’s UFC on FOX: Johnson vs. Dodson mainly stuck to the script, with seven of 11 favorites scoring a victory. This included a successful flyweight title defense by Demetrious Johnson.
The only bout on the main card to go to the underdog was Ricardo Lamas’ second round knockout of Erik Koch. Bettors taking Lamas at 13/10 were rewarded.
UFC on FX: Belfort vs. Bisping – held one week earlier – saw both the main and preliminary cards split down the middle in terms of favorites and underdogs scoring the victory.
Read on for Casino Review’s preview of the UFC 156 main card.
Aldo vs. Edgar
Since being crowned the first ever UFC featherweight champion in September 2010, Jose Aldo (21-1-0) has owned the division, taking down Mark Hominick, Kenny Florian, and Chad Mendes in succession. It’s been over a year since the champ took to the octagon though.
On Saturday Aldo will face former UFC Lightweight Champion Frankie Edgar (14-3-1) in what promises to be one hell of a fight.
Edgar is coming off consecutive losses to Benson Henderson in the lightweight division. Edgar dropped his title to “Smooth” on Feb. 26 last year, before failing to regain it in August. Now the New Jersey native has set his sights on the lighter division, and poses a real threat to Aldo’s title.
It won’t be easy though. Aldo has won 14 straight contests. His last loss came on Nov. 26, 2005, and he has gone 3-0 since joining UFC. Aldo won his only previous bout in Las Vegas, a knockout of Mike Brown at WEC 44 on Nov. 18, 2009.
Meanwhile, Edgar compiled an impressive 9-1-1 record in UFC before hitting the brick wall that is Henderson. Edgar is 4-0-1 when fighting in Las Vegas, including a 1-0-0 record at the Mandalay Bay Events Center. That victory came on Feb. 3, 2007 at UFC 67: All or Nothing against Tyson Griffin.
Bookmakers favor Aldo (10/21) in this one, with Edgar (17/10) looking to score the upset win.
Evans vs. Nogueira
In a bout worthy of headline status, Rashad Evans will clash with Antonio Rogerio Nogueira in the light heavyweight division.
Evans (22-2-1) failed in his bid to capture the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship last April, losing a unanimous decision to champion Jon “Bones” Jones. The loss snapped Evans’ four-bout winning streak which began after he lost that same title to Lyoto Machida at UFC 98: Evans vs. Machida.
It’s unlikely that a win on Saturday night will immediately catapult Evans back into the title picture, but it certainly won’t do him any harm. A win on Saturday will be hard to come by.
Nogueira (20-5-0) defeated Tito Ortiz to close out 2011 and to snap a two-fight losing streak. “Little Nog” returns to the octagon for the first time since on Saturday. The former gold medalist boxer will look to pick up an upset win over Evans, and perhaps insert his own name into the title conversation.
Nogueira is 2-1 when fighting in Las Vegas. He scored a knockout victory over fellow Brazilian Luiz Kane in his only fight at Mandalay Bay Events Center.
Evans has never fought at the venue, but he has compiled a 6-1 record in Las Vegas, the city he both won and lost the light heavyweight crown.
Evans (2/11) is a heavy favorite over Nogueira (15/4).
Overeem vs. Silva
A pair of heavyweights collides as Alistair Overeem (36-11-1) takes on Antonio Silva (17-4-0).
Overeem has won eight straight fights and has not lost in his last 12. His last loss came on Sept. 17, 2007. In his UFC debut (Dec. 30, 2011), the “Demolition Man” handed Brock Lesnar a retirement-welcoming TKO defeat. Overeem is 1-1 when fighting in Las Vegas.
Silva scored a victory over Travis Brown last time out (Oct. 5, 2012) to make up for a UFC debut loss to Cain Velasquez. He’ll look to score a winning record with Saturday’s bout, less than four months after last stepping in the octagon. Silva is 1-0 when competing in Las Vegas.
Overeem (1/4) is favored over Silva (3/1) heading into this one.
Fitch vs. Demian Maia
Jon Fitch faces Demian Maia in a welterweight clash at UFC 156.
Fitch (27-4-1, 1NC) scored a fight of the night award his last time out, defeating Erick Silva at UFC 153: Silva vs. Bonnar in Rio de Janeiro on Oct. 13, 2012. It was Fitch’s first victory in three fights, and moved his record to 14-2-1 since joining UFC.
Maia (17-4-0) picked up a win – his second in a row, and third in four bouts – at that same event, using a neck cramp to force Rick Story to submit. The Sao Paulo, Brazil, native is now 11-4-0 when fighting for UFC.
Fitch has gone 8-2 in Las Vegas and 2-0 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center. Maia meanwhile is 4-0 in Vegas and 1-0 at Mandalay Bay.
Fitch (10/21) is favored over Maia (17/10).
Benavidez vs. McCall
The main card’s opening bout sees a flyweight battle between Joseph Benavidez and Ian McCall.
Benavidez (16-3-0) lost out to last week’s headline winner Demetrious Johnson the last time he took to the octagon (Sept. 22, 2012). That lost cost him the inaugural UFC Flyweight Championship. The loss was also the San Antonio native’s first loss in UFC (3-1).
McCall (11-3-1) also fell to Johnson. Having fought to a draw on Mar. 3, 2012, Johnson scored the semifinal victory on Jun. 8. McCall will now look for his first UFC win on Saturday, as well as the opportunity to get another shot at Johnson.
Benavidez owns a slight advantage in Sin City, having gone 3-2 in the city. McCall is 1-1.
Benavidez (2/5) is favored over McCall (39/20).
UFC 156: Aldo vs. Edgar Full Card
Saturday 2 February, 10:00 PM ET
Mandalay Bay Events Center, Las Vegas, NV
All odds supplied by Bovada.
Jose Aldo (21-1-0) vs. Frankie Edgar (14-3-1)
Class: Featherweight (UFC Featherweight Championship bout)
Odds: Aldo (10/21), Edgar (17/10)
Rashad Evans (22-2-1) vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (20-5-0)
Class: Light Heavyweight
Odds: Evans (2/11), Nogueira (15/4)
Alistair Overeem (36-11-1) vs. Antonio Silva (17-4-0)
Odds: Overeem (1/4), Silva (3/1)
Jon Fitch (27-4-1, 1NC) vs. Demian Maia (17-4-0)
Odds: Fitch (10/21), Maia (17/10)
Joseph Benavidez (16-3-0) vs. Ian McCall (11-3-1)
Odds: Benavidez (2/5), McCall (39/20)
Gleison Tibau (35-8-0) vs. Evan Dunham (13-3-0)^
Odds: Tibau (5/6), Dunham (10/11)
Tyron Woodley (10-1-0) vs. Jay Hieron (23-6-0)^
Odds: Woodley (5/7), Heiron (11/10)
Jacob Volkmann (15-3-0) vs. Bobby Green (19-5-0)^
Odds: Volkmann (5/19), Green (29/10)
Yves Edwards (42-18-1) vs. Isaac Vallie-Flagg (13-3-1)^
Odds: Edwards (5/14), Vallie-Flagg (11/5)
Chico Camus (12-3-0) vs. Dustin Kimura (10-0-0)*
Odds: Camus (20/33), Kimura (27/20)
Edwin Figueroa (9-1-0) vs. Francisco Rivera (8-2-0, 1NC)*
Odds: Figueroa (49/20), Rivera (20/63)
^These bouts will air on FX
*These bouts will air live on UFC’s Facebook page.