Frankie “The Answer” Edgar, 13-1-0, #1 Lightweight, fights to a draw with Gray “The Bully” Maynard, 10-0-0-1, #3 Lightweight
This was the one fight on the main card that I was least looking forward because I thought it might be one of the more boring ones, but it turned out to be one of the best fights and easily could end up being fight of the year for the grit and heart both fighter’s showed. It is amazing to think that a fighter that was so utterly dominated in the first round could lose the fight by the end. For those who didn’t see it the closest I could come to representing how bad Edgar got hurt in the first round, to only come back, is the Diego Sanchez and Clay Guida fight and that still doesn’t do this fight justice.
Edgar got dropped multiple times in the first round, to come back rejuvenated in the later rounds Edgar and dominated them as he used superior footwork and better striking to frustrate Maynard, who seemed to have lost a step or just blown his energy trying to finish. I thought that Edgar won the fight coming to the end or it was a draw, and in all honesty a draw was the best outcome. For this fight to decide the title holder it is impossible in that too many people are going to lean to one side or the other on who won the fight. So, now we get to see them go at it again and hopefully one wins a little more decisively so Anthony Pettis can have the real UFC Lightweight Champion to fight.
At the end of the day, I think this fight clearly shows what MMA is as a sport. Edgar went to become champion while Maynard had to gain a few more wins to fight the man he already beat for the belt, and in just a few years the fight that happened was so different from what happened the first time they met. Most thought Maynard would shoot for a takedown, and not use his hands. While Edgar was supposed to not be able to defend the shot and have the superior striking. What we got in the end was Edgar being able to defend the shot and even have a few impressive slams of his own, and see him get hurt on the feet. But man what an ending to the first card of the year.
Brian “All American” Stann, 10-3, def. Chris “The Crippler” Leben, 25-7, by TKO at 3:37 of round 1
I think Leben got the fight he wanted in this fight, but it did not turn out well for him. He was able to get that standup brawl he always likes, but Stann took advantage of that. When Leben was hurt he showed resilience, but he did not get the Hail Mary punch he seems to usually get when on the brink of defeat. Stann should good composure and ability to finish when he had the fighter on the ropes, and he also showed the ability to finish with his hands something that was missing in his last few fights. He could be a new threat in the Middleweight division and man he looked huge in that fight when standing next to Leben.
Next fight for Brian “All American” Stann: He asked for a step up in competition and delivered when the time called for it. I believe that he needs to just keep going, and with the limited contenders in the Middleweight division the upper echelon needs some new blood. Nate Marquardt has had his ups and downs, but would be a good test for Stann.
Next for Chris “The Crippler” Leben: After seemingly reviving his career in 2010 Chris seems to be relegated to gatekeeper at this point in his career because he again fell flat on his face when the fight meant the most. He will be a figure in the UFC for years to come because he is an exciting fight, but he probably will not get anywhere close to the belt anytime soon. Even though his is coming off a loss he could be a good fight for Demian Maia who needs to wait out while the top of the division is figured out.
Thiago Silva, 15-2, def. Brandon “The Truth” Vera, 11-6, by unanimous decision
This fight did and didn’t go how I thought it would. Brandon Vera got dominated in the fight which I expected, but I did not think it would be that way because of Thiago’s ground game. The implementation of Thiago’s ground game could have come from his long lay off and maybe he wanted to get some time in the cage, from his fear of what Brandon posses when he is on the feet, or from his want to show that he is a well rounded Mixed Martial Artist. Nonetheless the fight was a decent scrape because when on the feet they bombed each other and when on the ground Thiago showed how hard he can hit. Just look at Brandon Vera’s nose for if you don’t believe me, and that was one of the worst breaks I had ever seen. After more than a year off Thiago was able to show why his only losses have come to the top fighters in the LightHeavyweight division.
Next for Thiago SIlva: With everyone tied up in fights at the top of the division I would like to see Thiago fight Matt Hamill because Hamill wanted a top ten opponent in his next UFC fight and Thiago is about as close as you can get with everyone having fights lined up.
Next for Brandon “The Truth” Vera: A new organization to fight in because after three straight losses he probably won’t be around in the UFC much longer. Maybe his wife can hook him up over at Strikeforce.
Dong “Stun Gun” Kim, 14-0-1-1, def. Nate Diaz, 13-6, by unanimous decision
I kind of disagreed with the decision in this fight. I thought Nate won round three and two, three for obvious reasons. The reason he won the second to me goes back to my idea of what wins a fight. I hate when fighters stay on top and throw little pitter patter punches and only once and a while transition and beyond that they do nothing. From the bottom Nate threatened with submissions constantly and also threw way more punches then Dong did from the top. In the end, Dong controlled his way to another decision win and that is why I call him the Yushin Okami of 170. Nate did not look bad in defeat, but one has to wonder if he was outmuscled or out wrestled in this fight. If he was out muscled then maybe a drop back down to Lightweight would be good, but if outwrestled which has shown to be his weakness before maybe he needs to train harder.
Next for Dong “Stun Gun” Kim: If you are 5-0 in the UFC, regardless of how you win the fight, then you need a step-up in competition. He should probably take on the Jake Ellenberger if he wins his next fight or the loser of the Lytle and Condit fight because a win over either of those three fighters would shoot him up into title contention.
Next for Nate Diaz: I would like to see him get in a good ground war. Daniel Roberts did relatively well on the undercard and if Diaz does not drop back down that would make a good fight.
Clay “The Carpenter” Guida, 28-11, def. Takanori “Fireball Kid” Gomi, 32-7, by guillotine choke at 4:27 of round two.
Clay’s frenetic style is finally paying dividends as Greg Jackson’s master plan are helped him make that style into a useful tool. He was able to use his movements to frustrate Gomi while he was striking. Furthermore, Clay was not able to get the takedown at first, but once Gomi was frustrated he started to over commit on his strikes which opened him up to the takedown. Once on the ground Clay was able to lock up a guillotine choke, who he credits Joe Stevenson for teaching him. With the win Clay puts himself on a nice three fight win streak and 6-2 in his last 8 fights, and easily captures the biggest win of his UFC career.
Next for Clay “The Carpenter” Guida: I thought the winner of the main event would fight Anthony Pettis while the loser would fight Benson Henderson, but with the whole title picture messed up with the draw in the main event that plan is lost. So, Clay could take on Benson in the meantime which would easily be one of the best fights to watch.
Next for Takanori “Fireball Kid” Gomi: Gomi has bought himself some fights in the UFC after destroying Tyson Griffin, but one has to wonder if he will ever get to the title being 1-2 in the UFC and 3-3 in his last few fights. I don’t know if he is still the high caliber fighter he once was. He looked soft in this fight so could a drop to 145 be in his future? It would honestly be a better weight for him, and if he decides to drop a fight with Leonard Garcia would be welcoming.
Brad Tavares, 7-0, def. Phil “The New York Badass” Baroni, 13-13, by knockout at 4:20 of round one
Phil Baroni did what Phil Baroni has been doing for the last few years. He got beat. Tavares rocked him slightly with a head kick, but he obliterated him with punches against the fence. It all came to an end with Phil trying to grapple with the ref, as he stopped the fight. Tavares looked small and soft next to baroni who claimed to have come into the weigh-ins at or around 185 pounds. I think he should drop the Welterweight as he will easily get manhandled by some of the bigger fighters at 185.
Next for Brad Tavares: Rob Kimmons would be good he is another veteran, but with a little more left in his tank. He could also be able to test out Tavares ground game.
Next for Phil “The New York Badass” Baroni: If you haven’t seen Baroni’s interview with Ariel Helwani after the fight, then watch it. The emotion baroni displays after the loss is hard to watch, but shows how much he loves and puts into this sport. He may be out of the UFC, and I don’t know if he will be able to make it back.
Jeremy “Lil’ Heathen” Stephens, 19-6, def. Marcus “Irish Hand Grenade” Davis, 17-8
This fight almost did not go the way I thought it would. Marcus stalked his opponent for the first two rounds, using effective punches and good ground work to frustrate Jeremy. In the third I didn’t think that Jeremy would be able to pull it off, but he did. He was able to catch Marcus after he put up such a valiant effort to be impressive in his Lightweight debut. Marcus had never been stopped on strikes before his loss to Ben Saunders and it seems that fighters once they are stopped once they are more susceptible to knockouts. Marcus was contemplating retirement before this fight, so one has to wonder if he should really consider it now.
Next for Jeremy “Lil’ Heathen” Stephens: With a record of 6-5 in the UFC some would think Jeremy is not that good, but to be honest he is only 24 and 3-1 in his last four fights. He seems to have finally found his stride and showed he can pull out a come from behind win. I don’t think he showed be pushed to far into the upper echelon as he needs a little more growth, but a fight with Mac Danzig would be another good starting point for him.
Next for Marcus “Irish Hand Grenade” Davis: Retirement because he does not need to take any more punishment.
Dustin Poirier, 9-1, #4 Featherweight, def. Josh ”The Fluke” Grispi, 14-2, #7 Featherweight
For never having not been out of the first round, in a while, one would not expect when Josh made it out of the first round he would have been beaten into it by Dustin. Dustin beat Josh down, with Josh never really started any sort of offense. One of the better moments came when Grispi had a triangle choke locked up and Poirier slammed his way out of it. I did not expect such a performance out of a late replacement and for a fighter dropping weight for the first time. He made a name for himself out of his golden opportunity.
Next for Dustin Poirier: Manny Gamburyan because after taking out the number one contender he deserves another fight to put him close to the belt because he should not be fighting Aldo after one fight at 145.
Next For Josh ”The Fluke” Grispi: He has now lost his shot at Aldo, but a fight with Mike Brown would decide who is still in the upper echelon of the Featherweight Division.
Diego “The Gun” Nunes, 16-1, #2 Featherweight, def. Mike Thomas Brown, 24-7, #8 Featherweight, by Split Decision
This was a crazy fight. People will be talking about the main event for a while, but this was honestly just as crazy. In the first round Nunes gets dropped and his eye almost completely swollen shut, but in the second round he comes back firing all kinds of unique kicks dominating the stand up with one eye. The third was a little more even, but nunes still won it. Nunes battled back from a dominate first round by Brown to take the fight. It was good action packed fight, and Nunes has shot up the rankings with the win over Brown and the loss of Grispi.
Next for Diego “The Gun” Nunes: Jose Aldo will need an opponent after he gets back from surgery and Nunes is 16-1 with three consecutive wins. I think Nunes might be the man for the job since Grispi’s loss. If Aldo is going to be out for a while then Nunes could fight the winner of the upcoming Hominick/Roop fight for a clear cut number one contender to the Featherweight belt.
Next for Mike Thomas Brown: Going 2-3 in your last 5 fights, but when your losses are against the top of the division it is hard not to have some losses. With Grispi’s loss it would be a logical fight to make.
Daniel “Ninja” Roberts, 12-1, def. Greg Soto, 8-2, by Kimura at 3:45 of round 1
Daniel was able to finish Greg by submission in round one. It took a little bit longer than his last fight, but he got the submission nonetheless. After losing his first fight to John Howard Daniel he has strung together a nice little 3 fight win streak. There is not much to say about the fight as it ended so quickly, but after finishing his last two opponents I think Daniel needs a little jump up in competition, since we can assume he just got caught by John in his first fight.
Next for Daniel “Ninja” Roberts: Nate Diaz just because I want to see Daniel’s ground game tested to see how good it really is.
Next for Greg Soto: It is unknown how much longer Greg will stick around after going 1-2 in the UFC. He needs a fight to prove he belongs and so does T.J. Grant. When two people are fighting for their jobs it usually gets gritty and is good to watch.
Jacob “Christmas” Volkmann, 12-2, def. Antonio “Mandingo” McKee, 25-4-2, by split decision
The fight was boring as most thought it would, and it came to wrestling as I thought it would. Jacob won, but neither did themselves any favors with the performance they put on, and both can expect to be on the undercard for their next fight. Antonio saw his 14 win streak and that just shows how tough the competition in the UFC is when a guy who goes on a near 7 year undefeated streak gets beat by a lower level guy in the UFC. In the end, beating someone who as on such a long streak is good for Jacob, but he needs to really improve if he wants to be a threat in the division.
Next for Jacob “Christmas” Volkmann: Having three consecutive wins with two being split decisions your resume does not look that good. Give him Nik Lentz another fighter who has not lost in the UFC’s Lightweight division, but has not looked good doing so either.
Next for Antonio “Mandingo” McKee: He will probably be around for another fight or two, but he needs to be impressive in his next fight. I would not like to see him fight another wrestler, but someone who could threaten from the bottom when taken down. Charles Olivera needs an opponent after his loss to Jim Miller.