Fighting Abel is all about zoning him. Abel’s walk speed is pretty similar to Cody’s, and his step kick (his main poke), is pretty similar to Cody’s s.MK. However, at mid range, Abel has a distinct advantage because the reward he gets for connecting a step kick canceled into a dash (even on block) is much bigger then the small damage Cody deals on a successful s.MK. The only poke Cody can utilize at this range to match the type of risk vs reward Abel is representing is c.LK OS MK RK because it gets him both respectable damage, and a knockdown across the screen.
If Cody has an opportunity to pick up the Knife it can give him a nice edge in the poking war, and even surprisingly help him escape pressure. Abel has no real answer for knife s.MP and c.MP in terms of pokes, and they deal decent damage, so this can quickly cause Abel to start taking risks like jumps and rolls to hit away the Knife. If Abel manages to get inside while Cody is holding the knife (for example a blocked step kick), the Knife’s 3f c.LP will be faster then anything Abel can do, and he will have to resort to EX TT if he wants to beat it.
However, overall Cody still has the advantage from mid range because of Bad Stone. Although it cannot be abused, especially due to rolls, Abel must still respect it because incorrectly reacting to a Fake Stone should give Cody a knockdown, either through anti-airing a jump, or punishing a roll.
When punishing rolls, it is important to use a move with a lot of active frames because all rolls only have 1f of recovery. This makes c.MK (7 active frames) and s.HK (5 active frames) good choices to ensure the punish is not mistimed, which can easily result in Cody getting himself thrown instead.
Once Abel gets (either) ultra, Bad Stones become basically unusable, because even a Fake Stone is slow enough (30f) to be punished with an ultra on reaction, especially by Abel’s U2. This is the crucial time in the match when a solid normal-based poking game becomes essential.
If Abel scores a knockdown, it can be very difficult for Cody to escape to a neutral position. Even if Abel simply lands a blocked t.MK xx Dash, it can be difficult for Cody to create distance again, because his backdash travels so little distance.
If Cody feels the need to reversal in one of these situations, EX Zonk should almost never be used over EX CU. EX CU is fully throw invincible until the hitting frame (7), and also has 4f of strike invincibility starting on frame 1. This makes it almost ideal for fighting Abel, because it will beat any TT, but also any likely normal, because the normals Abel is likely to use all have very few active frames. Even in the case of cl.HP, there is too much of a gap between the two hits, that EX CU will more then likely hit before the second hit stuffs the EX CU. However, EX CU is also extremely unsafe on block (-11f), so it cannot be abused.
When Cody gets Abel knocked down, he can actually pressure Abel extremely well, especially on his wakeup. Cody normally has excellent safe jump setups off his throws and CU, but Abel can react to these setups with reversal EX TT, which becomes guaranteed because Cody falls into the grab. However, if Cody delays his safe jump setups slightly, he can remain high enough to avoid these attempts at EX TTs. Furthermore, if he option selects a grab, he can counter any EX Roll attempts as well, which completely forces Abel to block the jump in, setting him up for Cody’s standard pressure game.