Edgar – Maynard
Wow! After the last fight it was simply not possible to expect such an epic exchange for the third fight in the trilogy, but boy did it deliver! The first round was almost a textbook recreation of the last fight’s opener. Maynard looked huge compared to Edgar, who cut 2lb for the fight. In my humble opinion, Maynard probably held over ten kilos on his much smaller opponent. That doesn’t sound like a huge amount, but when you are at this level of skill it counts for a lot.
Maynard’s hands were on point immediately and Edgar took some very heavy shots. He is one fighter whose chin cannot be questioned. He took heavy shot after heavy shot, often falling forward as he attempted to shoot to recover his wits. He just made it through the round, taking a stiff left jab as the end of the round was signalled. I would definitely call a 10-8 round. Maynard at this point looked unstoppable, and he didn’t pursue the win in a frenzy, he looked calm and measured, picking his shots.
Maynard again tried to, with Edgar switching from orthodox to southpore stance and really struggling to find his range. He does however start to find it, and lands some leg kicks. They don’t bother Maynard too much, but they signal Edgar’s return to confidence. He lands some crisp counters with his hands, and finishes the round with a nice one-two into a hook which sends Maynard off balance. It looks like a completely different Edgar in there and you can’t help but think that the memory of the last fight has haunted Maynard enough to seriously affect his ability to finish this fight.
The third and fourth round see Edgar maintain and even improve his pace. He mixes leg kicks and punch salvos with precision, and by the end of the fourth, Maynard’s accuracy is beginning to fail him. It is possible that the large cut affected his stamina, but we can only speculate on the reason. Maynard may have a large strength advantage, but Edgar has the tech, the cardio and the heart to overcome it. He finished Maynard by TKO at 3.54 of the 4th round.
There is talk of Edgar dropping to 145lbs as Dana would like to see him fight Aldo. He walks around at 157lbs, so this is certainly technically possible. He was carrying a small amount of visible fat during the fight and dropping this would see him with a comfortable cut to Aldo’s weight. It’s not set on stone yet so keep an eye out for more news.
Aldo Vs. Florian
I was really looking forward to this fight, as I have been a fan of KenFlo since TUF 1! He always comes in with a sound gameplan and a ton of heart. This fight was no different, and he tried to execute his gameplan from the word go. He pinned Aldo against the fence and attempted to clinch his way into a takedown. The pressure against the cage was constant and although the crowd were clearly not the biggest fans of this ugly tech, it shut Aldo down and granted KenFlo the first round.
The fight went downhill from here for KenFlo as Aldo slowly asserted his dominance. There wasn’t the proliferation of inside and outside thigh kicks we have traditionally seen from Aldo, but he hit with several deep single shots that reddened Florians legs instantly. He said after the fight that he used these sparingly because of the threat of the takedown. Florian consistently attempted his gameplan all the way through the fight, looking to pressure and takedown against the cage. Aldo met these attempts with great technique and strength, shrugging Florian’s attempts off for the next three rounds. His crisp hands and great movement was maintained, and he looked slightly better than Florian for the remainder of the fight.
As the final round ended, Aldo knew he had done enough and immediately back-flipped off the cage. KenFlo returned to his corner and I have no doubt in my mind that he knew Aldo had taken the decision. That was Kenflo’s third –and I suspect last – title attempt. It fell just short of the special skill needed to hold a belt in the UFC, but he will remain a top 5 fighter in that, and several other categories. He has performed a great service for the UFC, and provided them with consistently high calibre fights with lots of heart. It may be time for him to hang up his gloves, and it may take him a while to make that decision. I will always be a fan, so if he does make that decision he gets my unwavering support.
Sonnen Vs Stann
This was a fight that everyone was waiting for! Sonnen was 18 months without a fight due to suspensions and other legal issues *cough-ahem* but he is the king of WWE style trash talk and boy did he deliver! I had always suspected that Stann would find it difficult at this level, but anyone with his level of striking always has a chance to finish any fight. Sonnen however was not going to take that risk.
From the very start Sonnen began the grinding and explosive takedown attempts. He is merciless in the cage immediately pins Stann up against the cage, taking him down into side control and using some tight ground and pound to begin softening Stann up. For a moment Stann regains guard, but Sonnen really displays great transitions and passing ability to eventually take his back. This time Stann fights his way out and ends up in guard with Sonnen on top. Sonnen was on top in more than just position. It was clear that he had Stann’s number on the ground, and it was only a matter of time before he finished him.
The second round was more of the same. Sonnen scored an easy takedown immediately and began to work his transitional and very tight ground game. They were stood up shortly after by the ref as Stann had regained full guard and he judged there was inactivity. How he judged Sonnen to be inactive in the guard I have no idea and even Joe Rogan immediately commented on a very poor decision. This allowed Stann’s best offence in the form of a stiff right, but Sonnen again immediately takes down and passes effortlessly. He catches an underhook on the right arm of Stann and locks in an arm triangle from side control, which he deftly finishes by swapping his body to the ‘arm’ side of the submission. Stann holds on, but eventually taps after an awesome display from Sonnen who is clearly in a different league.
Next came the biggy, as Sonnen began his post fight speech by saying, ‘Anderson, you Suck!’ He then goes on to call him out, saying that if he beats Anderson, Anderson should aree to leave that weight class all together. If Chael loses, then he will leave the UFC! The crowd goes mad as Silva is shown smiling and shaking his head. He clearly expected something similar and had not been surprised by the outburst.
I can NOT wait for this fight! Sonnen and Silva II will be one of the most hyped fights ever in the UFC, and it deserves to be.
Garcia Vs. Phan
This was another great fight! I cant go into very much detail as the fight was A) a repeat of the last one almost blow for blow, and B) followed the same pattern for the whole three rounds!
Phan showed superior technical ability, great movement and boxing. Garcia showed power, heart, and an unwavering ability to still throw bombs whilst completely exhausted. This is an archetypal slugfest, with plenty of heavy punches connecting for the full three rounds. Garcia threw some crazy punches, swinging wildly but hardly ever connecting, whilst Phan drifted out of distance and then stung Garcia with small combos.
It was a very entertaining fight and got the crowd on the edge of their seats, which really set them up for the second coming of Sonnen and the two title fights. The atmosphere was electric, the heart was on display from the off, and neither gave up on the brutal pace. I can only recommend that you watch it! Phan took a well-deserved decision at the close but both earned the fight of the night bonuses that inevitably came their way from an inordinately grateful Dana.
Guillard Vs Lauzon
This was the upset of the night, with Lauzon taking a rear naked choke victory at just 47 seconds into the first round… Guillard looked to have gotten too cocky, and left his chin out as he blitzed in with his usual speed. Lauzon was ready, and tagged him with a left hook. From here the inevitable happened and Lauzon seized the opportunity to take the back and lock in the choke.
I think this fight was a good think for Melvin, who will come back stronger. His confidence maybe needed to be slightly knocked to make him improve as a fighter. He needs to go back to Jackson’s and work on his basics like not hanging his chin, or telegraphing his blitzes. Relying on speed and speed only is a bad idea at the higher echelons of any weight division in the UFC.
Maia Vs Santiago
Maia is one of my favourite fighters, but this fight completely failed to live up to expectation. I was hoping for a grapplefest with some sharp boxing, but all I saw was some solid technique and some boring pins. There was clearly a reticence to engage from both parties, I presume mainly because of the high level of mutual respect. Unfortunately, this led to a relatively boring fight with Maia taking a unanimous decision, largely won through takedowns.
Pettis took a narrow win over Stephens in a back and forth affair. Pettis looked dangerous from guard and was clearly attempting to utilise the pin from top. Stephens was good at getting out of difficult positions and looked game for the whole fight. Miocic took a majority decision over Beltran to cement an impressive win streak. Beltran looked to be punching short for much of the fight and struggled to win on heart alone against a skilled striker. Zhang (China’s representative in tonight’s show) and Elkins was very one sided. Zhang clearly had no wrestling ability and was taken down and controlled for the whole fight. It was a pity really as what stand up we did see, looked very sharp. He needs to go back to the drawing board and train some MMA before a return bout. Simpson looked good against Schafer, showcasing great movement and striking. He won a unanimous decision and clearly has a good future in the Octagon. Massenzio also took a close decision against Cantwell, who looked impressive in the first round. He fought back and looked great in the last two rounds, leading to a straight 29-28 score card.
Overall, the fight of the night was Phan Vs Garcia, the sub went to Lauzon, and the KO went to Edgar. It was a great night of fights and some would say the card of the year so far. I actually agree, but don’t hold your breath as there are a few other great cards in the pipeline before New Year. I am looking forward to reviewing them!
Note: All pictures courtesy of ufc.com / UFC.
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