UFC Fight Night: Henderson vs. Khabilov - Yves Edwards vs. Piotr Hallmann Preview and Prognostication

Photo by Esther Lin of MMA Fighting

Veteran lightweight Yves Edwards takes on his peer from Poland, Piotr Hallmann. With Yves' career winding down, will he be able to continue a path of victory that defined his career, or will he experience defeat highlighting his decline?

Yves Edwards vs. Piotr Hallmann Lightweight

Yves Edwards is still in the UFC?

How rude.

What?

To be fair, Edwards would have received a pink slip if Yancy Medeiros didn't get busted for marijuana.

Hasn't he lost, like...all the fights?

It can seem that way. Edwards has had a lengthy career. In fact, his career has spanned 64 fights over of the course of nearly 2 decades. He went pro in 1997. He may not look it, but he's a well traveled 37 years old.

He's been a mainstay in the division since its inception. Frankly, what he's been able to accomplish at this stage of the game is nothing short of miraculous. In other words, show the man some damn respect.

Is +155 against Piotr Hallmann a show of respect?

I wasn't done with Edwards' history.

Yves was at his best during the UFC's disintegration of its LW division. This is why few will ever come to truly appreciate what Yves meant for the division. In his prime, he had to be shipped off to Japan, where a tough (I'd argue questionable) loss to Joachim 'Hellboy' Hansen seemed to spark a real decline. He'd go on to lose 4 of his next 5. I'd argue that it's time for him to hang it up. Obviously, I'm nobody, and certainly not anyone who gets to tell a proud warrior like Yves how to live his life, but he's got nothing left to prove. The rewards pale in comparison to the risks his body must continue to take if he wants to continue his prizefighting journey.

As for Piotr, there's not a whole lot of history to speak of. After a successful debut against Franciso Trinaldo, he followed it up with a loss to Al Iaquinta, putting him at 14-2 overall. He's 26, so there's still room to grow.

Now's a good time to plug that incredible Steph Daniels' interview with Joe Rogan, right?

Sure.

(And yes, I read it one sitting)

Is Edwards bad enough to not lose to Hallmann?

You're an awful human being.

The crazy thing about Edwards' decline is that he's still upright. He still does all the things that made him such a mainstay in the division.

He's only two years removed from a big win in knocking out Jeremy Stephens. And he doesn't always look bad in losses. His bout with Daron Cruickshank (who is turning out to be pretty good) and Tony Ferguson were stellar fights, and fairly competitive. Medeiros is just a massive dude who will likely pick up more wins in the UFC based on size alone. Edwards always seemed like a guy who could cut to FW if he wanted.

What makes Yves special now is what made Yves special then: he strings together combinations with the best of them, and is as versatile a striker as there is in MMA. He's also highly capable on the ground.

I think the problem with Edwards is simple wear and tear. He doesn't fight like a guy doing his best to avoid gassing out, or becoming timid in a bout. But you can tell his body isn't as quick when it comes to aligning with the mind. He's always just a half step slower than opponents who are doing now what he used to be so good at. And when he gets caught, he's paying for it.

This is a relatively difficult fight to pick. Hallmann is a well rounded chap; he's got only one more finish by knockout than he does by submission, with 7 and 6 respectively. At range, he's got a very quick right hand, and in close, he can work some clinch magic with his knees. In the grappling department he's adept in getting the fight to the ground, and dealing damage in top control either with strikes, or with submission attempts.

I think this is a winnable fight for Yves. As we saw with Iaquinta, a complex striker (laugh if you must, but I think Al is pretty underrated in the division with his boxing...especially as it relates to movement; in that respect, he's kind of ahead of the curve) will give Piotr all kinds of problems.

Yves doesn't have the movement Iaquinta does, but he has the combinations to outdual Hallmann on the feet. Piotr can absolutely steal this one with well timed takedowns, but I don't see him turning those takedowns into submissions, especially as they became predictable once Hallmann gets picked apart on the feet. Piotr is not a punching bag for Yves standing, but Yves should have enough of an advantage to get a competitive enough win. If he wins, that would be a nice change of narrative; to see a fantastic fighter go out the same way he came in...with his hands raised in victory more often than defeat.

Yves Edwards via Decision.

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