Coming off a win over UFC newcomer Julio Paulino, wrestler Pierce was faced with another newcomer in the form of once-beaten Brazilian Alves here. I was actually surprised that they didnít match Pierce with someone higher on the ladder, but then he is incredibly dull so itís not like theyíd want to push him I guess.
First round gets underway and Pierce presses forward and immediately goes for the takedown. Pierce switches to a single leg as Alves defends, and the Brazilian continues to do a good job, landing a sharp knee strike to the body. Pierce looks undeterred though, forcing Alves back into the cage with some knees and foot stomps. Slam follows and Alves ends up on his back in guard. Pierce stands over him before Alves strangely pulls him down into the guard. Amilcar looks to tie him up and we get little action before Pierce manages to land a couple of shots en route to side mount. Alves sneaks back into half-guard and then looks to use the fence to get to his feet, as Pierce works with some small punches to the legs. Alves gets to his feet, but Pierce stays on him and gets another slam to guard. Alves again works back up, but Pierce keeps him in a kneeling position and the crowd begin to get restless with a minute remaining. No surprise there. Alves finally gets back to a standing position but Pierce stays on him and the round ends in the clinch. Yawn. 10-9 Pierce.
Second round and Alves looks to strike, but Pierce wastes no time in driving him into the cage with a single and getting him down again. Alves gets full guard as they hit the ground, but Pierce postures up over him to land with a couple of punches. Scramble almost lets Alves get to his feet, but Pierce grabs a front facelock and uses it to transition back to top position in half-guard. Few grinding elbows land for Pierce, but to say this is dull would be an understatement. Pierce inexplicably puts himself back into the full guard, then postures up again but doesnít really land anything major. Back to half-guard and he continues to drop short elbows. Ground-and-pound continues until the round ends. Want a cure for insomnia, anyone? 10-9 Pierce.
Third and final round and Alves stays on the outside and lands with a jab before following with a pair of head kicks. Another kick lands glancingly but as he looks to follow up Pierce gets hold of him and gets a takedown to half-guard. He works for the far-side kimura ala Matt Hughes, but Alves slides his hips out and gets back to full guard. Back to regular business for Pierce as he lands with some short punches and elbows, before working into half-guard to attempt a straight armlock. Alves manages to pop it free and looks to get back to full guard, but this time Pierce is having none of it. He continues to look to isolate the far arm, and this time he gets the straight armlock and turns it over to force a painful looking tapout.
Horrendously dull opener. Alves looked overmatched from the start and had nothing to prevent Pierceís takedowns and ground control, but on the ground apart from when he went for the submissions in the third round, Pierce epitomised lay-and-pray, landing nothing but some short elbows that did minimal damage. So despite his list of wins growing, heís still one of the most dull fighters out there to watch.
Bit of odd matchmaking in this one as Soto had lost thoroughly to Matt Riddle in his UFC debut in March, a man who Osipczak had convincingly beaten six months previous. Still, Slick Nick had lost a very close decision to Rick Story last time out so to me it looked like they were throwing him a bit of a bone here. Big fan of Slick Nick so excuse any biases!
Fight begins and Soto pushes forward with a pair of right hands, but Osipczak stays just out of range and lands with a leg kick that buckles Soto and almost takes him off his feet. Nice one-two from Nick and he follows with a big right hand that snaps Sotoís head back. Looks like Soto is cut already. High kick from Osipczak is caught and Soto gets a takedown to side mount, but Nick quickly slides back into full guard. Nick stays active from his back and looks for a submission, possibly a triangle or an armbar, but Soto stays low in the guard to avoid. Good elbows from Nick and he pushes Soto off, but the Pellegrino student comes back down with a nice right hand. This is better than the previous fight already. Good elbows from Osipczak from his back but Soto passes to half-guard. Good job from Osipczak at getting back to full guard. Soto postures up and drops down into side mount, but Nick shows some nice skill to get to guard and escape to his feet. They wind up clinched and exchange knees, and Osipczak appears to get the better of the exchange, landing a beautiful elbow strike to break before Soto returns the favour. Soto looks a bit tired now and eats a body kick and a left hand before shooting again. Nick stuffs it this time and reverses, pushing Soto into the cage, and they muscle for position before breaking off to exchange some punches. Good shots from Osipczak who looks to be using his reach well. They clinch up again and Osipczak looks to secure the plum clinch before breaking to end the round with a right hand. Close round but Iíd go 10-9 Nick Osipczak. The cut over Sotoís left eye looks pretty bad too, making the doctor consider a stoppage between rounds.
Into the 2nd round and Soto pushes forward but eats a quick combo. Left high kick grazes the body and Soto looks for the takedown, but Nick stuffs it and lands a knee that has Soto reeling a bit. Soto shoots again but Osipczak blocks and opens up with a big combo that drops him to his knees! Soto looks to be in trouble, covering up as Osipczak smells blood, but the Brit makes the mistake of winging an overhand elbow, and Soto ducks under and grabs a rear waistlock, dragging Nick to the ground and taking the back in the process. Nice! Nick squirms and almost gives his neck, but manages to turn into half-guard where he eats an elbow. He squirms back to full guard and looks for an armbar, but Soto postures out just in the nick of time. Beautiful guard pass follows and then we get a real technical exchange with Nick using his knee to slip back into half-guard and prevent the full mount. This is a great fight. Soto lands some elbows to the head and body and it looks like Nick might be getting slightly tired. Soto tries to pass, grinding his elbow into Nickís throat in the process, and then it looks like heís considering the far-side kimura. Osipczak slips his arm free, and then does a nice job of recovering full guard. Heavy punches land for Soto though and he gets the back again as Nick tries to scramble free. Nick manages to spin out of that and gets to his feet, where they exchange in the clinch to end the round, advantage Osipczak. Close round but it goes to Greg Soto 10-9, evening things up going into the third.
3rd round and both men press the action with Soto landing a leg kick before hitting a big, driving takedown to the guard. Good elbow from Soto and he stands before dropping some punches down into side mount. Beautiful knees to the body from Soto from a position I havenít really seen them used before. Nick looks to be a bit out of gas as Soto continues to work him over from the top. Soto attempts to get mount, but Nick manages to block with half-guard. Good escape into full guard from Nick, but Soto stacks him up and land some nice shots to pass into side mount. Osipczak looks for a leglock, but he eats some hammer fists and Soto is definitely taking over this fight. Few more knees to the body connect for Soto and he lands some more punches for good measure. Osipczak gives his back, but Soto canít get the hooks in and ends up getting an arm triangle instead. Nick does a good job defensively by answering the phone, but Soto lands more knees to the body with the choke still locked on! Full mount now from Soto and he lets go of the choke to deliver some vicious shots from the top, including some BRUTAL elbows to the side of the head as Nick gives his back. Osipczak can do nothing but cover up at this point. Round ends before Soto can finish but it was a completely one-sided round in his favour and enough to win him the fight handily. Iíd go 10-8 so itís 29-27 Soto overall on my scorecard.
Judges have it unanimously for Greg Soto, 29-28. That means nobody gave him a 10-8 third which is very, very questionable in my opinion as he came very close to finishing the fight while Osipczak did very little. This was a great fight though, as Osipczak came out fast and almost had Soto out of there early in the second, but the young fighter did a great job of rallying before coming back to crush the Brit in the third. This was similar to Osipczakís fight with Damarques Johnson actually in that he started strong but faded late on when his opponent came on hard, and thatís obviously something he needs to work on in the future. Good win for Soto though to keep his own UFC career afloat.
Salter was initially pegged to face Phil Baroni here in what wouldíve been the NYBAís return to 185lbs, but he ended up pulling out with injury and so Miller stepped in, looking to snap a three-fight losing streak. Normally a run like thatís enough to get you out of the UFC, but to be fair Millerís opponents were hardly easy (Sonnen, Maia and Bisping!) so it was definitely fair to keep him around. I was hoping heíd get rid of Salter with something nasty too Ė Salterís crappy celebration of Jason MacDonald snapping his ankle really left me with a bad taste in my mouth.
We get underway and they exchange punches from the off with both men landing. Miller looks more comfortable standing though, landing crisper punches to Salterís stiffer shots. Good right hand lands for Miller and backs Salter up. Body kick from Miller but Salter catches the leg on the way out and gets a takedown to guard. Miller keeps a high guard and looks for an armbar, but Salter goes a nice job of avoiding it and postures out. Miller gets his feet on the hips and pushes Salter off, but as he gets to his feet he eats a left hand. They continue to exchange with punches and again Miller seems to be the more comfortable, throwing combinations to Salterís one punches. They clinch and Salter lands a good knee on the break. Takedown from Salter and he gets caught in a guillotine, but he manages to pop his head free and wind up in side mount. Round ends with Salter on top. Close round to score but Iíd go with Dan Miller by a hair.
Round Two and they exchange punches again, and this time Salter looks a bit looser, landing with a right hook. Miller is still getting the better of the striking in my opinion though. Good combination lands for him. Takedown attempt from Salter but Miller blocks it and grabs a guillotine, and this time he switches off to the Miguel Torres style power guillotine, and rolls off to the side to force the tapout! Beautiful. Announcers are calling it the ninja choke. Well, there we go. Same finish as Torresís 2008 win over Chase Beebe in fact.
Sick submission finish to what was a pretty decent little fight. Nice to see Miller back on the winning path after some tough fights and I figure heíll settle into a comfortable role as a gatekeeper-ish guy at 185lbs now.
This was the first prelim on this card to be shown on Spike TV, and both men were looking to move up the ladder at 155lbs after encouraging starts to their UFC careers Ė Winner had two impressive wins while Lentz had two and a draw with Thiago Tavares. Classic striker vs. grappler fight but naturally I was pulling for Dre.
Round One and Lentz quickly shoots on a single leg and drives Winner into the cage. Winner shows some good takedown defense and stays on his feet, but Lentz stays relentless and gets him down with a single. Andre pops right back up but Lentz uses a rear waistlock to drag him down again. Dre quickly posts back up and gets to his feet again, but he just canít get Lentz off him. Nice knee inside from Winner but Lentz stays stuck to him like glue. Finally Andre manages to break free, but Lentz throws a right hand into another takedown attempt and forces him to the cage again. Good knee again from Winner from close quarters. Winner is showing some good takedown defense here but he just canít get Lentz off him. Good knee lands again though. Crowd begin to boo as this is basically a stalemate. Good knee and elbow from the clinch from Winner and he separates, but Lentz catches a kick and forces him back to the cage. Finally he gets a takedown, but Winner gets to his feet again and lands a left hook as Lentz clinches again. Round ends there. Horrible round and personally, Iíd score it 10-10 as it was a total stalemate and I wouldnít award Lentz for simply forcing Winner into the cage when he only got like one takedown and couldnít hold Andre down. Plus, Winner landed the most damaging strikes.
2nd round and Winner pushes forward with a low kick. Lentz answers with a right hand and tries to clinch, but Dre breaks off and throws a high kick. Lentz grabs hold of him though and goes for the takedown again, and weíre back to the first round as Winner defends while Lentz keeps driving him into the cage. Good knee to the midsection from Andre but Lentz keeps on pushing into the fence. This is making the Pierce fight from earlier look like a FOTYC. Nik Lentz sucks. He actually gets Andre in the air at one point, but still canít get him down. Good knee from Winner and he breaks off with a right hook. Uppercut lands for the Brit as Lentz wades forward, but again Lentz looks for the takedown. He gets Andre down this time, but once again the Brit works by using the fence and gets to his feet. This time Lentz ends up clutching the ankle with Andre sitting over him, and he attempts to go for the back, but slips off and Lentz ends up on top and lands about two punches as Andre stands. Aaaand, weíre back to stalemate position. Lentz keeps trying the takedown and lifts him right up and for a second it looks like Andreís going to try the inverted hanging triangle made famous in Bellator last year, but Lentz drops him off the back. Dre pops right back up though to end the round. Fuck it, I just donít see how you can score these rounds for Lentz when he isnít actually getting the takedowns or using them when he does. 10-9 Winner for his strikes.
Third and final round and to say the crowd are pissed off with this would be an understatement. Winner pushes forward and lands some strikes, but Lentz again drives him into the fence. Winner blocks the takedown as before but this time Lentz forces him down into a seated position. Winner again works back up though. Joe Rogan is like, I canít imagine anyone having Andre winning this fight. Thatís all well and good but WHAT THE FUCK is Lentz doing to warrant winning? This guy is the worst fighter Iíve seen in the UFC in a long, long time. He manages to get Andre down again, but once more the Brit pops up. Lentz drags him back down and gets the back, finally a decent position, but Winner turns into half-guard and of course Lentz does NOTHING with the position. He gets full mount but the punches he lands couldnít knock a fucking baby out to be quite frank. Lentz has the back here and STILL canít do anything. Paging Antonio McKee, thereís officially a fighter more boring than you in the UFC! Good lord this is bad. Seconds to go and the fight ends with Lentz looking for a possible rear naked choke. 10-9 Lentz for the positioning this time which means Iíd have it a 29-29 draw, but the judges and the shitty system will make it 30-27 for Nik Lentz.
Sure enough itís 30-27, 29-28, 30-27 Nik Lentz, despite him not being able to get takedowns until the third round, eating the more damaging strikes, and making no attempt to actually *fight*. So basically he wins for putting Andre into a neutral position for fifteen minutes. Disgusting stuff. Worst televised fight of 2010. Fuck you Nik Lentz.
Hometown kid Lauzon was originally supposed to face Brit Terry Etim in what wouldíve made for serious fireworks, but the Scouser got injured and so incredibly, Gabe Ruediger was brought in on short notice. Sure Gabe was on a six-fight win streak, but come on, did ANYONE expect him to be brought back to the UFC following TUF 5ís weight cutting debacle? Tough fight for me to pick actually because I like Gabe (who comfortably made weight here!) but I thought Lauzon probably had too much for him. On a side note, Gabeís sleazy grin in the pre-fight video package is hilarious and itís as if he knows the crowd are going to boo him regardless so heís heeling out anyway. Announcers mention these guys despise one another after the events of TUF 5.
Fight gets started and Lauzon comes out aggressively, tagging Gabe with punches en route to getting a clinch. Nice takedown follows and he lands in half-guard and instantly passes to side mount. Gabe tries to scramble, but gives his back and Lauzon lands with some HUGE elbows and punches that have Gabe hurt. Ruediger tries to roll and goes for a leglock, but Lauzon pulls right out and drops a heavy right hand over the top. Big elbows follow and Gabeís head is bouncing off the mat. Crowd going wild. Sick pass into side mount follows and then Ruediger gives his back and takes some hard uppercuts from under the arm. Ruediger stands, but a suplex puts him back down and Lauzon gets both hooks in and opens up with shots before securing an armbar for the tapout.
Post-fight Ruediger refuses to shake Lauzonís hand, but I donít think Joe cares. I hope Dana and Lorenzo paid Lauzon a huge extra bonus for this because he just saved this show after the Nik Lentz debacle. This was a total squash and really won the crowd back after that previous shitty fight. In a way you have to feel bad for Gabe because he was unable to do a thing here. The most impressive performance in Lauzonís UFC career and it comes in his hometown. Whatís not to love?
Great fight on paper here, with natural fan favourite (Irish background, duh) Davis taking on Diaz, who is always comfortable playing the villain. Despite Davisís boxing background I saw Diaz as a horrible fight for him, as heíd looked fantastic in stopping Rory Markham in his first fight at 170lbs and as well as the classy BJJ game heís got some excellent boxing himself with a far longer reach than Davisís. My pick was Diaz with a late submission.
First round and both men look ready to strike. They exchange some shots and Diaz begins to taunt him right away, but Davis comes wading in and drops him with a left hook! Diaz looks in trouble but he turtles up to avoid the shots and gets free with another taunt. Looks like Davis is cut already. They appear to clash heads into the clinch and Diaz breaks free with a left hook. Davisís eye is looking rough but he lands another left hand. Diaz is beginning to use his reach now, landing with a left, as the crowd chant ďDiaz sucksĒ. Double jab into a left hook from Marcus but Diaz answers with some long punches. Good right hook from Nate. Left hook again from Davis and it looks like both men are bleeding now. Good combination from Diaz, ending in a leg kick. He clinches and looks for the takedown, but Davis stuffs it and breaks off. Nice punches from Nate who appears to have his timing and range down now. He goes for the takedown again but canít get it. Davisís face is a mess. Exchange continues and referee Yves Lavigne warns them about the heads clashing again. Davis is really struggling with the reach now as Diaz pops him from the outside. Head kick narrowly misses. Marcus keeps touching the eye too, looks like itís giving him big problems. He lands the left hand again, though. Both men land in a wild exchange to end the round. Awesome stuff. 10-9 for Diaz. Davisís eye is looking like hell.
Round Two but the doctor stops it before it begins to make sure Davis can see out of the right eye. Yves Lavigne is even like, heís fine doc! Doctor decides to let it go and they get underway and Diaz picks up from where he left off, using his range to land punches on the shorter Davis. Takedown attempt from Diaz and they collide heads again, making the cut on Davisís right eye even worse. He shows some good defense though to remain on his feet. Davis breaks off and swings with the left hand, but Diaz stays just out of range and lands with another pair of combinations. Davis is getting smacked around here. This is just like watching Nick Diaz in fact. Davis finally manages to catch him with a left and gets a clinch, but he decides not to go for a takedown and breaks off. Diaz lands with another combo and holy shit thereís a lot of blood at this point, both men bleeding. Davis begins to land some leg kicks, but heís still being tagged by hard punches from Nate. Surprised Yves Lavigne hasnít called the doctor in now as Davisís eye is beginning to swell to nasty proportions. Clinch from Diaz and he lands some short uppercuts from there before dropping for the takedown. Davis defends well again, then gets his own takedown, and thatís the round. 10-9 Diaz and Davis is in deep, deep trouble. His face is looking inhuman now.
Third and final round and the crowd are loving this, even cheering now when Diaz raises his arms. Combination opens the round for Diaz and Davis looks like a fucking alien. Crowd chanting for Davis but he still canít seem to deal with the reach. To his credit though heís still swinging. Guy has tons of heart. Good leg kick lands for him before Diaz clinches and forces him to the fence. Marcus breaks off but gets tagged by another combination and Joe Rogan now mentions that it looks like Davisís reflexes are failing him, which makes sense as heís pushing 40 now. Big combination from Diaz, slapping Marcus around like heís doing a Joe Calzaghe impression. I doubt Davis can see out of his eye either. Two minutes to go and a combo ending in a body kick leads to a takedown for Nate. He lands some punches from half-guard and then hops into side mount, and as Davis tries to scramble free Diaz latches onto the neck and gets a tight guillotine, slightly off to the side. Davis tries to resist but ends up passing out rather than tapping. Awesome fight.
Fight actually went exactly how Iíd expected, as Davisís boxing style just couldnít deal with the reach of Diaz like a more rounded kickboxer might be able to, and once the eye was badly injured after the first round he clearly had problems with his vision which led to more punishment. To give him credit though he has the heart of a lion and I hope he has a job for life with the UFC because since when did you ever see Marcus Davis put on a boring fight? Interesting note Ė Marcus Davis is a tougher opponent at 170lbs than anyone that Nateís brother Nick has fought since leaving the UFC and I actually have Nate ranked above Nick now despite Nick being the better fighter in my opinion, which just goes to show the advantage of fighting in the UFC. That aside though the younger Diaz really has developed into a fantastic fighter to watch and heís a guy Iíd pay to see every time. Hell of a brawl.
This was pretty much a #1 Contenderís bout, with the undefeated-but-dull Maynard taking on Florian, who had bounced back from his unsuccessful title challenge to submit Clay Guida and Takanori Gomi. Although I was picking Penn to regain the title in the main event and couldnít see the point in Penn-Florian II, I still ended up going with Ken-Flo here based on stronger gameplanning, a more well-rounded game and a far more likely chance of finishing the fight. Pretty much the first time Iíve ever picked Kenny I think except the Guida fight!
First round and they circle, with Florian in a very low stance. No action in the first minute as they circle with both looking tentative. Head kick narrowly misses for Florian. Big overhand right misses for Maynard. Couple of low kicks land for Kenny with little power. Nothing of note landed for either man yet. Hard body kick is blocked by Gray. Nice knee and a right hand land for Florian but Maynard shakes it off. Florian looks to be opening up a little more now but he eats a right hand to the body. Takedown attempt finally comes from Maynard and Florian attempts to defend it, doing a good job initially, but Maynard stays on him and gets a slam with a minute remaining. Few decent punches land for Maynard as he has Kennyís head wedged into the fence, and he ends the round on top. Gray stole the round right at the end pretty much. 10-9 Maynard.
Into the 2nd and they circle tentatively again with Kenny missing a high kick. Looks like Florianís too worried about the takedown to really pull the trigger. Big right hand from Maynard but Kenny just about ducks under it. Big kick connects with the arms of Maynard. Glancing right hand and uppercut land for Maynard and he shoots for the takedown and gets it. Florian tries to escape to his feet but Maynard stays right on him and trips him down into side mount. Big right hand from Maynard from the top and Florian is cut. Nice elbow follows. One minute to go and I donít see Kenny getting back up. He gets to half-guard but takes some heavy shots and then ends up with his head wedged against the fence again. Maynard stands over him for a second and then continues to land with punches, and thatís the round. Two rounds in the books for Gray Maynard and Florian needs a finish.
Third round and Florian still looks concerned about opening up and giving away a takedown. He misses with a right hook and Maynard seems content to let Kenny come to him. Kick lands on the arms of the Bully again. Spinning wheel kick misses for Florian. Another pair of kicks connect with Grayís arms, but the Bully shoots and gets a takedown to guard. Again he lands with punches, pinning Florian into the fence and holding him down. This is similar to Kennyís fight with Sean Sherk in 2006 which suggests that despite his tremendous improvements since then, great wrestling is still his Achilles heel. Kenny manages to escape to his feet for a second, but Gray gets him back down and comfortably avoids an oma plata attempt. Maynard keeps him down and another oma plata attempt follows and looks a little closer, but again Gray works free before Kenny kicks him away. Seconds to go and Florian presses forward, but doesnít open up and thatís all she wrote. Iíve got this 30-27 Maynard in a total shutout. Crowd are really disappointed.
All three judges have it 30-27 Maynard, no other way to score it really. The problem for Florian here seemed to be that he was unable to open up standing for fear of the takedown, and on his back he doesnít have a killer guard to catch a guy like Maynard with a submission. Gray came in with a very smart gameplan and didnít get too aggressive and allow Kenny to counter, and took a lopsided decision over one of the best 155lbers in the world. Not the most exciting fight but how can you deny Maynard his title shot when heís beaten Edgar, Miller, Huerta, Diaz and now Florian? Dude is a very tough man to stop.
Bit of an odd situation here as initially this wouldíve been Nate Marquardt vs. Rousimar Palhares, but after Alan Belcher Ė set to fight Maia on Septemberís Fight Night card Ė pulled out with a torn retina, Zuffa moved the Marquardt-Palhares fight to that card, replaced Belcher with Brazilian wrestler Miranda, and put his fight with Maia on this card. Whew. My pick was Maia with another amazing submission.
Fight begins and Miranda comes out throwing kicks as Maia pushes forward. Maia gets a clinch and drops for the takedown, and secures a single leg to get Miranda on the ground. Good knees to the body from Demian but Miranda works back up to his feet. Another takedown follows though and Maia lands some punches and looks to advance to full mount. Instead he tries to take the back, getting both hooks in, and he lands some punches from behind. Miranda attempts to stand with Maia on his back to shake him off, but instead Maia looks to transition into an armbar. Miranda does an excellent job of escaping though, and throws some strikes as he gets to his feet. Maia looks to push forward and lands a nice leg kick before clinching again, forcing Miranda into the fence. Crowd are dead for this fight, it must be said. Miranda breaks off and they circle with Mario landing a couple of leg kicks. Seconds to go in the round and very little happens. 10-9 Maia.
2nd round and Miranda opens with a leg kick and a pair of knees to the body as Maia looks to close the distance. Maia looks for a single leg and switches to a double, and as Miranda scrambles to avoid he gives his neck and Demian gets a front facelock. Trip takedown from Maia puts him on top in half-guard and he looks to pass as Miranda ends up seated against the cage trying to stand. Some good left hands get through for Maia and land flush to the face. He manages to step into an odd variant of full mount with Miranda seated against the fence, and then moves Mario away from the cage to take full mount proper. Miranda is in deep trouble. Arm triangle attempt from Maia but Miranda manages to pop free. Few more punches land for Demian and he inches his way up and looks to set up for a topside triangle or an armbar. He decides not to bother though, likely because the fence was in the way, and goes back to the mount. Another armbar attempt comes though and he sits back for it, but Miranda somehow slips his arm free! Amazing. Maia ends up on his back with Miranda kicking at his legs, and the round ends shortly thereafter. Very dominant round for Maia.
Round Three and they circle before Maia grabs a single leg and uses it to grab a rear waistlock to get Miranda down. Maia takes the back with both hooks, and works to flatten Mario out before switching to the body triangle. Maia lands punches from the position but nothing too damaging, as heís obviously looking to soften him up for a submission. He goes for the arm again, but Miranda manages to stand free. Miranda grabs a front facelock now and sprawls out, then decides to stand free. Diving single leg misses for Maia and he drops to his back, annoying the crowd. Miranda is having none of that and calls him back to his feet. Action slows down horribly as both men look exhausted. Takedown attempt from Maia is successful and he lands in half-guard. Quick pass puts him in full mount with a minute to go. He works his way up and looks for the armbar again, but he canít quite get his leg across the face and Miranda manages to pivot over the top and get free to his feet. Seconds to go and Mario dives on top. 10-9 Maia and a 30-27 shutout overall.
Judges agree with me and itís 30-27 all round for Demian Maia. Dominant performance from Maia but it wasnít the most exciting fight even if it was technically sound, and the dead crowd didnít help either. I mean sure, he did everything but submit the guy, but when youíre used to seeing Demian put guys away with the slickest submissions in the UFC you expect a little more, you know?
Iíll be honest Ė when it was announced that the UFC had signed Toney Ė one of the great boxers of the 90ís and early 00ís, but way past his prime and horribly out of shape Ė I was pretty disgusted. After all, hadnít we learned in 1993 that a grappler will beat a striker who has no grappling skill nearly every time? And make no mistake about it Ė Toney wasnít even pretending to be well-rounded Ė he firmly believed in his delusions that his boxing skill would be enough to beat anyone in the UFC. After laughably asking for Brock Lesnar, in the end Toneyís first opponent to welcome him to the Octagon, fittingly, would be Randy Couture. Personally Iíd be interested in seeing a boxer in their prime or with some existing wrestling skill inside the cage Ė say, David Haye or Kermit Cintron or something Ė but Toney isnít even a top boxer any more Ė heís a fat steroid abuser. So the only smart pick here was Randy by early submission after a quick takedown and some ground-and-pound. And after all the trash Toney had talked, I couldnít wait to see it.
Crowd are pretty hot for the introductions to this one, evidently having rested up during the Demian Maia fight. Theyíre firmly behind Couture of course, who looks in tremendous shape for a guy pushing 50. Toney meanwhile is sporting a gut that Roy Nelson would be proud of.
We begin and they circle for a moment before Couture hits the lowest single leg takedown Iíve ever seen in MMA, pretty much an ankle pick, and sure enough Toney goes down. Ha. Randy gets right into mount and Toney is blatantly lost on his back, eating punches. Toney is helpless here and is reduced to simply grabbing Couture in an attempt to stop the onslaught. Toney isnít even attempting to buck or hip escape or anything. Randy slowly moves him towards the fence as the crowd begin to chant ďUFCĒ. More punches from Randy and he begins to set up for an arm triangle choke. Evidently Toneyís clueless at defending submissions too as he makes no attempt to get into the answering the phone position. The fence prevents Randy from finishing the hold though and he lets it go to land some more punches before a second attempt is more successful, causing Toney to wave in the air to signify the submission. Ha, dude couldnít even tap out right.
Post-fight Randy says he knew the low single leg would work on Toney and that heís been working on the arm triangle for about a year so itís nice to be able to get it in a fight. Neil Melanson then presents him with his BJJ black belt which is pretty hilarious, although of course he didnít get it just for tapping Toney and clearly has the skill to warrant it. Toney then says, well, who knows? Heís so punch drunk that he makes Mark Coleman at UFC 93 look coherent.
Fight went down exactly how anyone with a sound mind wouldíve figured it to, as Toney was absolutely clueless once the fight hit the ground and Randy didnít play with his food at all. How Toney expected to come into the UFC with nothing but his boxing and do well is honestly beyond me, but then when heís claiming Couture would be a ďbumĒ in the boxing world because he has ten losses then thereís just no hope for him. Total squash but it was tremendously fun to watch to see this idiotic trash talker get his mouth firmly shut. Hopefully thatís the last weíll see of pure boxers in MMA then, particularly past their prime, out of shape ones, unless they actually decide to work on their other skills.
When Edgar upset longtime champion Penn in April for the title, it seemed pretty clear that a rematch was needed fast. Not to sell Edgar short, but not only had the decision been horribly close and a fair case could easily be argued for BJ winning, but BJ had fought so flat that night in Abu Dhabi that it just seemed like he was probably sick or injured or something. Despite Edgarís clear skill then, I was picking BJ to right the wrongs in this rematch and win with a fourth-round rear naked choke. Pre-fight video package is fun as BJ comes off as the dickhead supreme, claiming Edgarís win was bogus and that he isnít that good, while Frankie is the total babyface, saying that you have to work hard if you want to be the champ and you canít just expect to walk into fights and walk out with the belt without putting the effort in.
Crowd seem pretty split which is interesting as normally BJ is an inexplicable fan favourite despite his completely unlikeable personality. Itís also pretty obvious that he isnít in the same shape as he was for the Florian and Sanchez fights in 2009 where he looked fantastic.
Round One and Edgar looks to stick and move right away, before BJ lands with a clipping uppercut. Frankie takes it though and grabs hold of him....and gets the takedown! Whoa. Full butterfly guard for Penn and he tries to sweep and go for an arm, but Edgar defends and remains on top. Penn ties him up as Frankie looks to pass the guard, and then a scramble allows BJ to get to his feet. Edgar begins to use his movement and footwork again, landing a quick combination before getting out to avoid the counter. Another nice combo lands for Edgar, ending with a left hook. Crowd still split, chants for both BJ and Frankie can be heard. Knee from Penn but Edgar forces him to the fence and gets him down. Penn pops back up to his feet...but Frankie lifts him up and slams him back down! Side mount for Edgar but Penn manages to get a butterfly hook back in and escapes to his feet. Knee on the exit from Edgar. Edgarís movement is making him very hard to hit. Couple of good leg kicks land for Frankie. Lunging left hook from Penn glances off the champion. Combo from Edgar finishing with a body kick ends the round. Eye-opening stuff. 10-9 Frankie Edgar.
Round Two and Penn opens with a pair of kicks to try to slow Frankie down. Couple of counters land for BJ but Edgar fires back with a strong body kick. Single leg attempt from Edgar is stuffed, but he lands a knee on the way out. Another takedown is blocked, but a right hand from Edgar lands to the body. Good combo from Edgar again. Couple of jabs from Penn but Edgar shoots in and wrestles him to the ground once more, into half-guard. BJ gets full butterfly guard back in and pops back up, but eats a right on the way out. Left hook lands for Edgar too. Penn just canít seem to deal with the speed of Frankie. More of the same follows as Edgar dances around and lands shots from the outside. Nice body kick from Frankie. Seconds to go and itís more of the same. 10-9 Edgar and Penn needs to change things up quickly.
Round Three and Frankie opens the round with a combo. Takedown is stuffed by Penn but he canít counter with anything. Edgar remains on his bike before popping in with another combo. Penn finally gets hold of him and lands a knee, but canít follow it up. Edgarís footwork is owning him. Couple of leg kicks land for Frankie too. Beautiful combo leads into a right hand that lands flush for Edgar. Another big right follows and snaps BJís head to the side. Nice left hook from Frankie as he continues to work him over using his movement and speed. They clinch up after a takedown attempt but again itís Edgar who lands on the way out. BJ Penn is getting outclassed which is amazing. Takedown attempt from Frankie and he drives BJ into the fence, landing an uppercut from close quarters before breaking off. Edgar continues to land on him until the round ends. 10-9 Edgar and this has been one-sided thus far.
Between rounds we see some of the problems surrounding BJ, as Edgarís corner are giving him technical advice like how to change up his angles to avoid the counters while Pennís cornerman calls Edgar a cocksucker and just tells BJ to go out and hit him.
Round Four and Edgar doesnít seem to have slowed down at all. He comes in with a combo but Penn grabs hold of him and quickly gets a takedown. Uh oh. Penn looks to pass to the mount in a scramble and almost does it, but Edgar does a good job of getting to full guard. Penn tries to pass again, but this time Edgar slips free and escapes to his feet! Good right hand coming forward from Edgar. They circle off and Frankie counters a leg kick with one of his own, and sweeps BJís leg from under him, dropping him to the ground! He quickly gets on top in the guard and this time he feeds him some elbows and punches as Penn attempts to get to the rubber guard. Frankie stands over him for a moment and then drops a big right hand down, landing it pretty flush. This is unbelievable. Frankie stands and lets BJ join him, and then lands with a nice left hook. One minute in the round and another leg kick connects for the challenger. Couple of jabs and a body kick follow. Penn just looks mesmerised now. He lands a shot at the end of the round, but itís inconsequential at this point. Edgarís up 40-36 now and Penn needs a finish.
Round Five and Penn comes in for a takedown and gets a single leg to put Frankie on his back. Edgar gets guard and holds him in a guillotine for a moment before letting go. Penn postures up over him and then grabs a rear waistlock as Edgar tries to scramble, taking the back. In a sick move though Edgar manages somehow to free himself and get into top position! Insane. Short punches and hammer fists land for the champion from the top position Good elbows follow up. BJ Penn is getting OWNED. Less than two minutes remaining now. Penn manages to use the fence to escape to his feet, but he eats an uppercut as Frankie fakes a takedown attempt. Another combination lands for Edgar. Seconds to go and Edgar remains the aggressor, landing a knee to avoid a takedown attempt. Fight ends with Edgar landing some more shots. Amazing showing from Frankie Edgar.
Judges scorecards all read 50-45 for Frankie Edgar who left no doubt in anyoneís mind this time. While the UFC 112 fight was razor-close, this one was a one-sided domination in Edgarís favour, as Penn had no answer for the speed, footwork, striking or takedowns of the champion. I mean, what more can you say? BJ Penn got outclassed. And while Edgar still feels somehow more vulnerable as champion than BJ did, wins over Penn, Sherk, Griffin, Franca and Fisher canít really be sneezed at. I guess the doubt still remains as the Gray Maynard loss is hanging over him, but heíll get a chance to erase that next week. The guy really has developed into an amazing fighter. As for BJ Penn, in my opinion while heís a tremendous fighter, heís also a frontrunner and a bully who has a tendency to wilt when the fight doesnít go his way or the opponent wonít go away (and isnít badly hurt like Diego Sanchez was) and weíve seen that twice before in the first Pulver and GSP fights. For me if he really wants to win another UFC title he needs to leave Hilo where heís surrounded by yes-men like the ones in his corner here, and hook up with a proper camp. But we shall see! This night though was all about Edgar and he delivered in spades.
-Highlight reel runs and we end the night there.
After three great shows in a row, UFC were due a disappointing one and in that aspect this delivered. Sure, Diaz-Davis was a tremendous fight and Osipczak-Soto wasnít far away from it either, but outside of those two and the main event, which was shocking but not all that explosive, we got two entertaining squashes (Toney-Couture and Lauzon-Ruediger) and then a bunch of really dull fights, the worst offender being Lentz-Winner of course. Itís not the worst UFC show ever or even the worst of 2010 (Iíd say 109, 112, 119 and 122 were worse) but itís only worth a thumbs in the middle.
Best Fight: Diaz-Davis
Worst Fight: Lentz-Winner
Overall Rating: **3/4
UFC: 119-124, Fight Night 22
King of the Cage: Various shows