In what was a highly anticipated fight card, UFC 118 turned out on one hand to be quite predictable, yet on another not so much. The intrigues of the rematch between lightweight champion (155lbs.) Frankie 'The Answer' Edgar (13-1, 2 KO's 3 subs) (pictured at left) and former champ B.J. 'The Prodigy' Penn (15-7-1, 6 KO's 6 subs) proved to be just that, but the outcome was nothing anyone saw coming.
While their first fight was a very close, highly disputed decision win for Edgar, this one was also another decision win for the champ. However, this time there was no disputing the decision. Edgar completely dominated a totally focused Penn right from the start, beating him to the punch, taking him down at will, which no one had ever done so much before at lightweight, and simply outclassed the former champion. Other than Georges St. Pierre @ welterweight (170lbs.), no one had ever defeated Penn so handily.
Edgar silenced the naysayers and solidified his standing as the true champion of the weight class. Up next for the champ, the only fighter to give him a blemish on his record thus far, Gray 'The Bully' Maynard. Maynard (10-0-1, 1 KO) "bullied" (no pun intended) his way to a #1 contender spot, by grinding out a workmanlike unanimous decision over previous two-time #1 contender Kenny 'Ken-Flo' Florian (13-5, 3 KO's 9 subs) who was fighting in his hometown of Boston.
In the co-main event, what was arguably the most predicted outcome of the entire card came to pass as UFC Hall of Famer Randy 'The Natural' Couture (19-10, 7 KO's 4 subs) faced Boxing legend and champion James 'Lights Out' Toney in what was Toney's first Mixed Martial Arts fight. While boxing skills are a significant part of MMA, being solely a boxer would prove no match against an experienced MMA fighter, especially one whose specialty is wrestling.
Couture didn't even take one punch as he shot in on Toney for a single leg takedown and got it within the first 30 seconds. The next two minutes was Toney experiencing his worst nightmare, which was an experienced grappler in mounted position on top of him, raining down punches and working for position. Eventually Couture set up an arm triangle choke, locked it in and Toney immediately waved to the referee to let him out.
To Toney's credit, he weathered the storm a whole lot longer than I expected as I figured he would panic, hyperventilate and tap immediately once Couture got on top of him. He did not and while the outcome was inevitable, he fought back admirably as best as he could. While he did not say that would be his last MMA fight, Dana White said it would be his last in the UFC as he stated he would not experiment with boxers in the cage in the future, regardless of who it is. "I don't care if it's (Floyd) Mayweather or anybody else."
I have a feeling Dana will come to eat those words at some point. While I think he feels content that MMA came out on top and that he has nothing further to prove, he's still a promoter at heart. Thus, first, foremost and ultimately it's always going to be about money. Therefore, if an opportunity to make money with a boxer in the future should present itself, well 'nuff said!
That said, I hope Dana does stays true to his word and never lets another boxer in the cage. I love and respect both sports deeply; thus I don't feel there is any need for either to face each other. Yes, they are both combat sports, but they are two totally different entities. Therefore, this continuing question as to which sport or fighter is more dominant is irrelevant. It is apples and oranges and we should appreciate both for what they are and more importantly for what they bring. To us hardcore fans, that is joy.