Yves Edwards is a very popular lightweight in the MMA community and it’s not difficult to see why. Edwards was once one of the top lightweights in the world but has also had a very easygoing personality. He’s known to offer his opponent a snack at the weigh ins. He also has an exciting fighting style and is just a very easy fighter to root for in general.
However, Edwards is clearly in the “twilight” of his MMA career. At 42-20-1, Edwards has had a tremendous number of fights and more than his fair share of losses for somebody on the UFC roster. If you count his fight against Yancy Medeiros as a loss (Edwards was knocked out in the first round but the result was overturned due to a failed drug test), Edwards has lost three straight fights and four out of five. Since making his return to the UFC in 2010, Edwards is 4-4 (1 NC) with wins against John Gunderson, Cody McKenzie, Rafaello Oliveira, and Jeremy Stephens. Only Stephens is still part of the promotion.
Edwards is a striker with some submission skills, but even though he’s still able to land strikes at a rapid pace, Edwards has had trouble evading strikes recently. He absorbed 25 significant strikes in less than four minutes against Medeiros, 44 strikes against Daron Cruickshank, 76 against Isaac Vallie-Flagg, and 61 against Tony Ferguson. Overall, Edwards has absorbed 4.25 significant strikes per minute in his last five fights; even for a skilled striker like Edwards, it’s difficult to win fights with much consistency while absorbing punishment at that rate.
Edwards’ opponent is Piotr Hallmann, a fighter who won his UFC debut by submitting Francisco Trinaldo and then dropped a unanimous decision to Al Iaquinta. Hallmann absorbed more strikes in both fights than I would have liked to see, but he also landed strikes at a high pace, which makes a fight against Edwards interesting from the standpoint of striking volume.
Hallmann has shown more of a tendency to attempt takedowns than Edwards. While Edwards has landed just 12 takedowns in 24 fights scored by Fight Metric, Hallmann has landed five takedowns already in his two UFC fights. The striking portion looks like a coin flip but Hallmann can swing the fight in his favor by taking Edwards to the ground. Edwards does have some grappling skill but has also been submitted four times; Hallmann is 6-0 in fights ending by submission and should have the advantage if he takes top position.
The biggest reason to favor Hallmann in my mind is the age factor. Edwards has been through so many battles for so long that he has a much higher chance than normal of suddenly losing for whatever reason you can imagine. There’s a chance Hallmann knocks him out. There’s a chance something just snaps easily and forces a fight stoppage. There’s a chance that Edwards shows up and simply doesn’t look the same.
Ultimately, Hallmann is the fighter on the rise while Edwards is the fighter on the decline. It’s possible that Edwards can out-point Hallmann with strikes or even win by knockout, but I think the striking exchanges will be at best a 50-50 proposition, and more likely will favor Hallmann as I believe Edwards is more likely to lose by knockout. Add in Hallmann’s youth advantage and the likelihood that he’ll control the takedown game, and it’s clear to be that Hallmann deserves to be favored.
Pick: Piotr Hallmann by decision