Frankie Edgar and Chris Gutierrez fight Saturday in UFC 281 at the Madison Square Garden. Edgar enters this fight with a 24-10-1 record and has won 54 percent of his fights by decision. Gutierrez enters this fight with a 18-4-1 record and has won 50 percent of his fights by decision.
Edgar has lost 5 of his last 7 fights and is coming off a November (2021) loss to Marlon Vera. Edgar is averaging 3.79 significant strikes per minute, with an accuracy percentage of 40 percent. Edgar is averaging 2.30 takedowns with an accuracy percentage of 31 percent. Edgar is coming off a knockout loss at UFC 268 where he landed 138 total strikes. Edgar had a chance to win the fight if it went the distance, but he’s now lost 4 of his last 5 fights and has been knocked out in each of his last 3 losses. At now 41 years old, it’s fair to say we’ve seen the best of The Answer. Edgar is an aggressive takedown artist with a polished grappling attack and is well conditioned that’s helped him win 13 of his 19 career decisions. A wrestling and boxing background, as well as a black belt in BJJ, Edgar’s blanched attack allowed him to put together a legendary resume. Edgar is tough as nails and is the sort of fighter who will continue to stand in the pocket and trade if needed. Edgar has been finished 4 times in 10 career losses. A high volume fighter who has been in many wars over his career, Edgar is always leaves it all in the octagon. This will be Edgar’s fourth career fight in New York.
Gutierrez has won 6 of his last 7 fights and is coming off a March win over Danaa Batgerel. Gutierrez is averaging 4.69 significant strikes per minute, with an accuracy percentage of 58 percent. Gutierrez is averaging 0.44 takedowns with an accuracy percentage of 37 percent. Gutierrez is coming off a knockout win at UFC on ESPN 33 where he landed 42 total strikes. Gutierrez is now 6-1-1 under the UFC banner and hasn’t lost since The Ultimate Fighter 28 Finale. He looks for 4 straight wins for the first time since 2014-16. Gutierrez is a purple belt in BJJ and has proven over his last few fights that he’s an effective striker on the feet and delivers strong leg kicks. Gutierrez also has a solid gas tank, and it’s helped him win 9 of his 12 career decisions. Gutierrez has never been knocked out in his career. This will be Gutierrez’s first career fight in New York.
Given Edgar’s form and age, it’s fair to say he’s a bit washed up and is climbing a steep hill to win this bout. Gutierrez is the younger, more athletic fighter at this stage and the more powerful, accurate striker. Gutierrez should be favored and honestly should win this fight. However, Edgar has had a year to rest up and prepare for maybe one last push, and he does have the edge on the ground if he can get it there. We’ve also seen many aging fighters who were counted out recently string together a few upsets and turn their careers around.
Maybe it’s the fan in me hoping Edgar can dig deep and get in the win column. I’m still taking a shot with the plus money.