UFC 118 at the TD Garden in Boston took place Saturday night complete with a heavily stacked card and a very crowd-pleasing match up between MMA legend, Randy Couture, and boxing legend, James Toney. The main card offered three fights that would be worth the hefty pay per view amount regardless of the other two fights. The bouts I’m referring to are Edgar/Penn 2, Couture/Toney and Florian/Maynard.
Kenny Florian VS Gray Maynard, Winner: Maynard via decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
The crowd roared for their hometown hero as he made his way toward the octagon. Kenny Florian, fighting out of Massachusetts, found himself in a career altering match up with power wrestler, Gray Maynard. Florian came in with a low stance, ready to defend Maynard’s relentless takedowns. For a while this worked, but no damage was being inflicted by either fighters. Maynard began taking Florian down at will and kept Florian busy off his back. By the third round Kenny Florian looked like a man who had lost all hope. With a little over 10 seconds left in the 3rd round, Kenny was able to get off the mat but failed to even throw a last punch at Maynard. Maynard now remains undefeated and will face Frankie Edgar next for the UFC Lightweight Championship. Note: Maynard has already beat Edgar.
Randy Couture VS James Toney, Winner: Couture via submission (arm triangle) at 3:19 of 1st round
UFC VS Boxing. That’s what this was all about right? On Saturday, August 28th the octagon became the biggest proving ground in combat sports history. Arguably the most legendary MMA fighter ever, Randy Couture, was scheduled to take on perennial boxing champ, James Toney. Toney came into this bout with 9 months of training and plenty of unnecessary, movement-slowing weight. Toney couldn’t even throw a punch before Couture successfully performed a single-leg takedown about 30 seconds into the 1st round. It was sad watching Toney struggling to figure out what the hell he was exactly supposed to do when he was sprawled out on his back. Couture did was Couture always does: takedown, grind, use the cage, grind, and then repeat. As Toney lost complete control, Couture slid his way up into an overwhelming full mount and punched Toney’s head until he was able to slip in that artfully crafted arm triangle. This fight was exactly what it was supposed to be–Randy Couture beating James Toney’s lights out.
Frankie Edgar VS BJ Penn 2, Winner: Frankie Edgar via unanimous decision (50-45)
Well, Frankie Edgar has officially silenced his critics. He has solidified himself as the number one lightweight fighter in the entire world. Watching this bout was like witnessing a school yard bully take on the nerdy kid at lunch. Edgar’s head movement, foot movement and takedowns were on a completely different level than their first bout. It was heart-wrenching to see Edgar do that to Penn. BJ had no answers for “The Answer” as Edgar completely outworked BJ until the bell sounded at the end of the 5th round. Frankie’s grappling and striking were far superior, and this isn’t an easy thing to say when you are talking about going up against BJ Penn–arguably the best striker and grappler at lightweight of all time. Edgar came in with the same game plan, but a heavier skill set and outworked BJ Penn for a unanimous decision. Edgar will now face Maynard for his second title defense. Also, one can only wonder what BJ Penn is going to do next… Welterweight again?
UFC 118 showed the world that a boxer, who is completely out of shape, will have a tough time entering the octagon and fighting one of the best-ever MMA fighters (Randy Couture, who always looks chiseled out of stone). It was also discovered that Kenny Florian is slipping away in the lightweight division. If he can’t beat BJ Penn and Gray Maynard (the top two lightweight contenders) then what’s left for him to try to prove? Also, Frankie Edgar proved to UFC and MMA fans everywhere that he is the best lightweight in the world. Edgar VS Maynard will be a very interesting style match up because these two men basically mirror each other (head movement, boxing, wrestling).
Fight of the Night ($60,000 to each fighter): Nate Diaz VS Marcus Davis
Submission of the Night ($60,000): Joe Lauzon