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UFC Fight Night 57 predictions

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Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The UFC makes its first stop in Austin, Texas in years, this time with a series of contender match-ups on its main card. At the top of the bill is a key featherweight bout, but the card also features top flyweights, lightweights and more. In the main event, Cub Swanson looks to get a title shot with a win while Frankie Edgar aims to get his name included in title conversation.

Will it be Swanson or Edgar who emerges as the top featherweight choice to face Jose Aldo?

What: UFC Fight Night 57

Where: Frank Erwin Center, Austin, Texas

When: Saturday, the two-fight Fight Pass preliminary card starts at 7 p.m., the four-fight preliminary Fox Sports 1 card starts at 8 p.m. and the six-fight Fox Sports 1 main card begins at 10 p.m. ET.

Frankie Edgar vs. Cub Swanson

I know Swanson's been promised a title shot, but I think the buck stops here for him. He might do well early as Edgar gets customarily tagged as he figures out how Swanson moves, defends and sets up attacks. After that, though, Edgar just has too many tools, too much durability and too much movement for Swanson's offense to work. Once Edgar gets into a rhythm, Swanson more of a sitting target than creative mastermind. Edgar has to make him pay to get him thinking, but in a five-round bout, it's incredibly difficult to overlook the kind of consistent pressure Edgar can provide.

Pick: Edgar

Bobby Green vs. Edson Barboza

This is a very tough one to call. This is essentially two drastically different approaches to the striking game. The x-factor for me, though, is Green's timed counterstriking. Barboza's going to do what Barboza does, but Green, I suspect, will find moments to hammer him in the transition as he uses his pinpoint boxing to make Barboza pays for leg kicks. The truth is I see Barboza running the show for the majority of the bout. He's the one more proactive on offense. Yet, I wonder if he'll win this bout until he doesn't, which is to say, right until he connects on Barboza's chin and the entire round changes in the blink of an eye.

Pick: Green

Brad Pickett vs. Chico Camus

This one should be a lot closer than some would expect simply looking at the names. Pickett has struggled at flyweight and Camus, while not a big name, has steadily improved in the weight class. The key for me, though, is Pickett might be slow relative to his peers, but his wrestling is still pretty formidable and unrelenting. Camus does not have the takedown defense of someone like Ian McCall. I don't think Pickett is going to convince a lot of people he belongs in title contention picture with a win here, but he'll get it just the same.

Pick: Pickett

Jared Rosholt vs. Alexey Olynyik

Olynyik has some submission ability for a heavyweight, I suppose, but for as lumbering and sometimes slow as Rosholt can appear, he's actually pretty deft as positioning and shutting down movement before it cascades into submission threats. Maybe Olyniyk will cause a spot of trouble here or there, but I don't think he can play guard for three rounds and win.

Pick: Rosholt

Joseph Benavidez vs. Dustin Ortiz

Ortiz surprised me in how competitive he was with Justin Scoggins, but Benavidez is an entirely different animal. The fact is, whatever Ortiz is good at, Benavidez is slightly better. Specifically, while Ortiz loves to ride static positions, Benavidez is superb at never letting positions get static to begin with. Even if you, say, pass his guard, good luck holding him down. Even more important, many of his escapes are totally unorthodox, which forces a lot of his opponents to play catch-up in real time. Those who initiate scrambles tend to win them. On the feet, the Team Alpha Male product is just the cleaner of the two.

Pick: Benavidez

Matt Wiman vs. Isaac Vallie-Flagg

I'm glad Wiman has taken time off. His fights always have the rough and tumble style that necessitates taking a respite. There's no shelter against the Jackson's MMA product, who has enough ability everywhere combined with extreme durability. This one is a bit of a coin flip. Did the time off allow Wiman to get physically refreshed and focused or has he lost a step in the process? I still think his wrestling will be there in if he needs it, which should be enough, but it's all just speculation in the end.

Pick: Vallie-Flagg

From the preliminary card:

Ruslan Magomedov def. Josh Copeland
Luke Barnatt def. Roger Narvarez
James Vick def. Nick Hein
Yves Edwards def. Akbarh Arreola
Paige VanZant def. Kailin Curran
Dooho Choi def. Juan Puig