Gray Maynard | Terry Goodlad/Sherdog.com
Martin Kampmann: Gray is gonna put it on him and beat him up, same as the first time. Only this time, he’ll finish him.
Doug Marshall: Edgar by split decision.
Anthony Leone: Frankie has the advantage with the hands. He also sets up his combos and takedowns very good. Gray, I believe, will have the advantage with the takedowns and keeping Frankie down. I’m not sure if Frankie’s hands are powerful enough to do enough damage to Gray and put him away in the early rounds. I think Gray will be able to take down Edgar throughout the fight. The first two rounds, I believe, will go to Edgar, with Gray maybe taking him down once or twice and Frankie jumping back to his feet and striking with great footwork and great speed. He will frustrate Gray with his speed, and, in the later rounds, I think he will be taking Gray down and landing some great ground-and-pound. I give this fight to Frankie via TKO by ground-and-pound in the fourth.
Pete Sell: I’m going with Edgar by decision or KO. I think he is a different guy since the last time they fought.
Fabio Maldonado: Edgar is pretty clever. I saw that in the fights against B.J. For me, Edgar wins by decision.
Rory Markham: I’m on the fence with this fight. My gut says Edgar’s stand-up and head movement will frustrate Maynard for the entire five rounds. But logic tells me Maynard’s size and wrestling will be enough to win. I like Edgar by a well boxed and fought five-round decision.
Mac Danzig: I am obviously biased since Gray is a longtime friend and training partner, but, truthfully, he’s the best lightweight in the world right now. If you don’t agree with that statement, you either, A, have never seen him fight, B, don’t understand MMA or, C, you are what the American public school system refers to as “slow.” Now that you are sufficiently offended and have reminded yourself why you hate me, let’s continue. Watching Gray progress over the years has been amazing. The crazy part is that in his UFC fights thus far, he hasn’t even shown a fraction of what he’s capable of in the gym. These things take time, and I think this next fight will be the first time he puts it all together. After saying all of that, I must admit that Frankie Edgar is, in my opinion, easily the second best lightweight in the world right now. That’s what makes this fight so special; you’re watching without a doubt the two best fighters in the world at this weight. Edgar is exciting as hell and has that perfect combination of talent and work ethic. He’s a fighter’s fighter. I do believe Gray is Edgar’s kryptonite, though. I don’t think this one will look like their first fight. Both guys have progressed and adjusted since then. My prediction is an awesome fight that Gray wins by KO or TKO during the later rounds. I also see Gray keeping the belt for a while, and, after Frankie beats the other contenders, having a third fight with him down the road.
Kultar Gill: I’m going with Frankie Edgar on this one. Frankie will float like a butterfly and sting like a bee to a unanimous decision.
Javier Vazquez: I think that this is a much more difficult style matchup for Frankie Edgar than B.J. Penn was. Not because Gray is a better fighter than BJ; it’s because the type of game plan Gray will try to implement. The key for Frankie is movement. Stick, move, sprawl and break the clinch of Gray Maynard. We already know Frankie has the gas to go five five-minute rounds and look good doing it. The question is can Gray? The key for Gray in this fight is to cut off the Octagon, clinch with the smaller Edgar and manhandle him to the ground. Both fighters have made significant improvements in their skills over the past few years, and takedowns will not come as easily as they did in the first fight for Maynard. Gray will use his much-improved boxing to strike and setup takedowns against the quicker Edgar en route to a five-round decision. I pick Maynard.
Dan Hardy: I think they are evenly matched. I just think Maynard has the size and strength advantage, so I’m picking him.
Josh Thomson: Edgar by outpointing him, just like he did B.J.
Jeff Monson: Edgar by decision.
Michael Guymon: Frankie by unanimous decision.
Matt Hamilton: They are both great fighters, and I appreciate what they do. I’m just not a big fan of watching either. History says Gray has beaten him once and he’ll do it again, but Frankie is on a roll, and his cardio is off the charts. I pick Frankie to win by decision, so God knows that just ensured a new lightweight champion, as I am the kiss of death to anyone on “Pros Pick.” Congrats to Gray.
Cristiano Marcello: I think this fight is 50 percent for each. They are two athletes at the same level technically, but Edgar, using psychology and the right strategy, because he’s holding the belt, will remain champion of the division.
Jason Von Flue: Who wins this? Hmmm, the fans. Maynard has taken out everybody in his path, including Edgar. Edgar has beaten everybody but Maynard in his career. The deciding factor here is the experience. Edgar has fought and defended the title two times now, both of which were 25-minute bouts with Penn. Granted, Maynard has fought [Kenny] Florian and several others but doesn’t have the extra championship rounds of experience that Edgar has. With this being said and the confidence of beating one of the best and greats in the world twice, I feel that’s enough for Edgar to overcome his earlier loss to Maynard with a unanimous decision win to retain his title.
Andre Galvao: I think Frankie Edgar is very fast, and I think that Frankie Edgar will win in a decision. He has the belt in his hands and defeated B.J. twice. That makes him confident going into this contest.
Blake Bowman: I’ll be on MMA overload after “Dynamite” and the UFC both shove awesome cards down our throats back-to-back. You’re asking about the only fight I’m not excited about. I think my love for the sport loses brutally by TKO to the UFC’s hype machine calling Frankie Edgar “the best lightweight in the world.” Frankie will bounce around pretending to look busy while doing nothing, like “Frogger” avoiding traffic on a super highway, just long enough to make me give up hope on MMA. Then, if there is a Santa Claus, Gray will finally make him fight. Gray hasn’t been the most exciting fighter I’ve ever seen, but what he has done is really up his boxing. This has been told to me by a lot of people who train with him, not just people who want to talk about him, but people who he hits day in and out. Apparently, Gray’s hands also double as jackhammers and bust rocks in the off season to pay bills. Gray will be the final experiment in the religion versus atheism debate. God: Gray by brutal KO. No God: either guy by decision without either guy breaking a sweat or fighting. I really hope this isn’t the snoozefest, anti-climactic end to an otherwise “greatest day in MMA history” super fight fest on both sides of the Pacific. Each guy has the skill and the balls to make his name and to make a statement at the other’s expense. Game plans are required at any level of MMA, but I would love to see a champ actually try to beat a challenger, as opposed to bragging about not losing for 25 minutes. Gray by decision.
Roli Delgado: Frankie is really into his groove now. It’s hard to pick against him. Gray is a bigger version of Frankie, but I’ve picked against him twice and been wrong both times. I’ll take Frankie Edgar by decision.
Roan Carneiro: Gray Maynard wins. He has a more consistent wrestling and has heavier hands.
Eddy Millis: If Maynard stays in the pocket and counters sharply, he may get a left hook KO. Trouble is, Edgar moves well. I think Maynard will push the stand-up and draw Edgar into a slugfest. I have Maynard [via] TKO, and it could happen anytime.
Pros who picked Maynard: 25
Pros who picked Edgar: 22
Pros who could not decide: 1
You can also contact Mike Sloan at www.facebook.com/mikesloan19. Brian Knapp and Gleidson Venga contributed to this report.