UFC 136 Rewind
October 14, 2011
By Brian Edwards
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Frankie Edgar finally defeated his nemesis this past Saturday when he retained The Ultimate Fighting Championship’s lightweight crown with a thrilling fourth-round knockout of Gray Maynard at UFC 136 in Houston.
Edgar hooked up his betting supporters as a minus-140 favorite.
In another epic slugfest, Maynard pounced on Edgar once again in the first round, staggering the champ with a huge right-hand uppercut at the 2:40 mark. Edgar immediately went for a takedown, only to get stuffed before eating two more big uppercuts and a knee.
Unlike the previous meeting when Maynard went all out for the kill, he was more patient this time around. Just when it seemed Edgar was regaining his senses, Maynard dropped the Garden State native with a right hook.
Edgar jumped up and unsuccessfully tried for a single. As the rivals separated, blood began to clearly flow from Edgar’s nose. Maynard patiently stalked, repeatedly landing uppercuts and then dropped Edgar again with a knee to the face with 50 ticks remaining in the opening frame.
Maynard nailed Edgar with hammer fists as the champ got back to his feet and retreated in survival mode. Edgar took more punishment as Maynard stuffed several takedown attempts.
When the bell sounded, Edgar was a bloody mess and his right eye was visibly swollen. Meanwhile, Maynard wasn’t nearly as gassed as he was in the New Year’s Day showdown.
VegasInsider.com scored Round 1 in favor of Maynard by a 10-8 count.
Both fighters stayed on their feet the entire second round and things were even for the first three minutes and change. In the last 90 seconds of the stanza, Edgar began to get the better of it thanks to his movement and quick combinations.
VI scored the round for Edgar, 10-9.
The third round was much of the same, as Maynard continued to struggle to find Edgar, who dashed in and out and scored points with a number of leg kicks. Again, we gave Round 3 to Edgar.
Almost four minutes into the fourth round, the stanza (and the fight) appeared to be dead even. But as Edgar lunged for a takedown that was stuffed by Maynard, Edgar found a home on Maynard’s chin for a big right-hand uppercut.
The uppercut stunned Maynard, who went to one knee. Edgar promptly landed three more bombs that sent Maynard back against the cage. Next, a right-hand hook sent Maynard to the canvas and Edgar proceeded to connect with four lefts to the head before referee Josh Rosenthal intervened.
And just like that, Maynard’s dominance of Edgar was over. Although three fights covering 12 rounds show a 1-1-1 record for both lightweights, it’s Edgar that keeps the belt and Maynard who is left to pick up the pieces following the first loss of his career.
Jose Aldo kept his 145-pound belt by winning a unanimous decision over Kenny Florian as an expensive favorite. Aldo was given the fight 49-46 on all three judges’ scorecards.
Like his Octagon debut with Mark Hominick, Aldo wasn’t dominant and his standing in the top five of the pound-for-pound rankings is likely to take a hit. Nevertheless, Aldo’s blazing speed and exciting stand-up skills were enough to remain the bantamweight champ even though there are clearly holes in his overall game.
Florian, who has enjoyed an outstanding career but has come up short in three championship opportunities, was left to ponder a future that almost certainly won’t include another title shot. That future might involve a retirement announcement in the coming weeks.
Chael Sonnen showed zero signs of cage rust by dominating Brian Stann from start to finish before submitting him with an arm triangle at the 3:51 mark of the second round.
In his post-fight interview with Joe Rogan, Sonnen said, “Anderson Silva, you absolutely suck! On Super Bowl weekend in the biggest rematch in the history of this spot, I’m upping the ante. I win and you leave the division. You win and I leave the UFC forever.”
Then in the post-event presser, Sonnen continued to bring it.
“If the [shoe] had been on the other foot, I’d have come over that [shoe] and shoved that microphone up his [expletive], if he would have said that to me. You saw what he did. He sat there. And you know what? It was a good move.”
Joe Lauzon pulled the biggest upset of the night, stunning Melvin Guillard with a submission victory just 47 seconds into the fight. Lauzon cashed monster underdog tickets in the plus-300 range (risk $100 to win $300).
Guillard had won five consecutive fight and some had suggested that a win over Lauzon might get him a shot at the 155-pound belt. But Guillard came out careless throwing haymakers and got caught himself by a left hook from Lauzon, who then jumped on the ‘Young Assassin’ and choked him out to earn Submission of the Night honors.
The $75,000 bonus for Fight of the Night went to Nam Phan and Leonard Garcia, who punished each other in a stand-up war. Phan won a unanimous decision 29-28 on each scorecard thanks to taking Rounds 1 and 2.
In Round 3, Garcia put on a show with incredible guts and effort. He rocked Phan several times but didn’t have enough to finish. The crowd gave both fighting a stirring ovation when the bell sounded.
**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**
--Edgar won KO of the Night honors and the $75,000 bonus that came with it.
--Demian Maia defeated Jorge Santiago via unanimous decision by winning all three rounds on each scorecard.
--Anthony ‘Showtime’ Pettis bounced back from his loss to Clay Guida to capture his first career win in the Octagon. Pettis beat Jeremy Stephens by split decision.
--BetOnFighting.com has installed Jon ‘Bones’ Jones as a minus-375 ‘chalk’ in his second title defense against Lyoto ‘The Dragon’ Machida, who is plus-275 on the comeback. The website is also listing ‘Little Nog’ as a minus-160 favorite vs. Tito Ortiz (+130).
Brian Edwards can be reached at email@example.com.
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