Sunday, January 2, 2011

UFC 125: No Resolution

In a fight card original billed as "Resolution," partly because of the New Year, but mainly because of the main event, a solid UFC 125 started 2011 off on the right foot. That is depending on how you feel about a main event that had no resolution after all. In a fight that I quoted in my preview as, “is about as evenly matched as you can get in a title fight,” lightweight (155 lbs.) champion Frankie Edgar (13-1-1, 2 KO's 3 subs) and Gray Maynard (10-1-1, 2 KO's) fought five rounds to a draw.

The two big questions here are, how was the first and last round scored? In round one, Maynard dropped Edgar twice with solid punches that had the champion in serious trouble and clearly on Wobble Street throughout. Question number one, did that round deserve to be scored 10-8? Unlike boxing, the rules are not so clear cut in MMA as to what constitutes such scoring. This is also not taking into consideration whether the referee should have stopped the fight, which is a judgement call. In this case it appeared to be the right call not to as Edgar somehow came back strong in round two.

The second question is who won the last round? That seemed to be the determining factor seeing that Maynard clearly won rounds one and three, while Edgar did the same in rounds two and four. A difficult round to score, as both had their moments, I have to be impartial, going against my prediction before the fight, and say I felt Maynard won the last round, thus winning the fight. That said, I can see how Edgar was given the last round and how this fight was a called a draw.

Regardless of the outcome, it was a back and forth fight, one which garnered 'Fight of the Night' honors and giving both fighters a $60,000 bonus each. While both fighters, especially Maynard, both expressed their desire to do it again, Dana White, President of the UFC, immediately announced in the post fight press conference that Anthony 'Showtime' Pettis, the last WEC lightweight champion, will be Edgar's next opponent. (Please note, the UFC has since announced that Dana White has had a change of heart and Edgar/Maynard III will actually be the next title defense after all).

In the co-main event, middleweight (185 lbs.) and former Marine, Brian 'All-American' Stann (10-3, 7 KO's 1 sub) left no doubt in the first round as he stopped Chris Leben (25-7, 13 KO's 6 subs). He did it with a combination of power punches that started with a left hook and ended with a right cross. Leben, who's been known to have a granite chin, made the mistake of testing it while trying to stand and trade with the much heavier punching Stann. In the post fight press conference when asked, Stann respectfully said, "I would like to fight legendary Wanderlei Silva next."

In other action, light-heavyweight (205 lbs.) Thiago Silva (15-2, 11 KO's 2 subs) won a dominant unanimous decision against Brandon Vera (11-6, 7 KO's 1 sub), thus making 'The Truth' out to be a liar. Beating Vera with wrestling and a vicious ground and pound game, Silva left Vera not only with a loss, but a clearly fractured nose that was grotesquely disfigured after the fight.

Welterweight (170 lbs.) Dong Hyun Kim (14-0-1, 6 KO's 1 sub) did the same against Nate Diaz (13-6, 3 KO's 9 subs), wrestling and controlling the jiu-jitsu wizard on the ground. In his post-fight interview, the Korean speaking in his native language clearly stated, "GSP", meaning he wants his crack at the reigning welterweight champion. Time will tell if he gets it.

In the opening fight of the pay-per-view, lightweight Clay Guida (28-11, 4 KO's 15 subs) finished Takanori Gomi (32-7, 12 KO's 6 subs) in the second round with a slick guillotine choke submission. Guida said afterwards, "my goal is to be in title contention by the end of 2011." As stated above, a solid night of fights and while I went 2-2-1 in my pre-fight predictions, UFC 125: Resolution ended up offering no resolution after all.

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