UFC 118 Main Event Preview: Frankie Edgar vs. BJ Penn Odds & Picks

The main event of UFC 118 will be the re-match between UFC lightweight champion Frankie “The Answer” Edgar (14-1) and B.J. “The Prodigy” Penn (15-6-1). The championship fight will air live Saturday night on Pay-Per-View from the TD Garden in Boston.

Following two impressive wins against Sean Sherk and Matt Veach, Edgar went into him championship match at UFC 112 against Penn as a huge underdog. Despite expectations, the fight did not play out the way most though it would. Penn was uncharacteristically passive in the fight, and rather that going aggressively for the take down as he is know to do, he instead seemed to spend the entire fight waiting to counter. Edgar took advantage of this and was the aggressor, dictating the pace for most of the fight. In fact, Edgar was able to take Penn down on several occasions, something that Penn had not been forced to deal with as a lightweight. Although it was a very close and somewhat slow fight, Edgar was the aggressor throughout the fight and was given the well-deserved victory.

Edgar should be given credit for the hard-fought victory, but it did take a unique set of circumstances for him to accomplish this. It is unlikely that these circumstances will be repeated. Penn was uncharacteristically passive throughout the fight, and his camp stated after the fight that Penn was in fact dealing with a sinus infection and was on antibiotics heading into the fight. Although Penn himself never acknowledged or denied this, it could explain his uncharacteristic lack of aggressiveness during the fight. Penn will be looking to reclaim his lightweight championship belt on Saturday and reclaim his status as a fighter who many considered unbeatable at lightweight. Because of this, expect Penn to come out especially aggressive and dictate every aspect of the fight. He will be looking for the takedown early and often, and when the fight gets to the ground, he will simply be too much for Edgar to handle.

Betters should be careful not to overestimate the importance of the first fight. Although Edgar did accomplish some good things in their first meeting, they were all things that Penn can make adjustments and corrections for. Edgar’s victory should not be considered a fluke, but it should also not be looked at as some kind of changing of the guard atop the lightweight division.

All signs seem to indicate that the results of the first fight were a combination of an uncharacteristically bad performance by Penn and the fight of a lifetime by Edgar. It is unlikely that both of these will occur again. Penn is favored with good reason, and this fight could turn out to be surprisingly one-sided. Despite their first meeting, Penn could come out and dominate from the opening bell, leaving no doubt as to who the better fighter is. Penn should come out of this fight with a convincing victory.

Bodog and Bookmaker both have Penn as the favorite going into the fight. Bodog has Penn at -325 and Edgar at +250, while Bookmaker has Penn at -290 and Edgar at +230. Penn will enter the fight inspired and looking to reclaim his status as the top lightweight in the world, and he should accomplish this. Betters should take Penn in this one. Bodog has Penn winning it in less than five rounds at +130, and winning it by 5-round decision at +150. Penn will be out to prove that the first fight was an aberration and will be looking to leave no doubt as to who the best fighter in the division is. Because of this, an early end to the fight is a real possibility, so Penn in under five rounds at +130 has value. For those who believe Edgar can repeat his performance and win again, it will not be via KO or submission. For those looking to take Edgar in this one, the best value is on Bodog, with Edgar at +400 to win in a 5-round decision.

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