Frankie Edgar took all five rounds from Urijah Faber. | Photo: Mitch Viquez/UFC/Zuffa/Getty
Chalk one up for the east coast.
In a matchup of two of the sport’s most accomplished lighter-weight fighters, Toms River, N.J., native Frankie Edgar always seemed to be just a step ahead of Sacramento, Calif.’s, Urijah Faber. In the end, that was more than enough for Edgar to come away with a unanimous decision triumph in the UFC Fight Night “Edgar vs. Faber” headliner at the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila on Saturday morning.
It was a clean sweep for Edgar (19-4-1, 14-4-1 UFC), as he was the recipient of a trio of identical 50-45 scorecards from the cageside judges. According to “The Answer,” the fight was closer than the final tallies would indicate.
“I wanted to go out there and really make a statement,” Edgar said. “I won 5-0, but Urijah’s tough as hell. He was the guy that I looked up to when I first got in. He was the guy everyone wanted to be. It was an honor to fight him. He’s a legend in our sport, and all featherweights really owe it to this guy.”
After two closely contested rounds, Edgar truly began to assert himself over the featherweight bout’s final 15 minutes. While Edgar landed in greater volume on the feet than Faber (32-8, 8-4 UFC) throughout the contest, the former lightweight ruler landed his first three takedowns of the fight in round three, a significant turning point in the fight.
Faber would have some success landing individual strikes here and there, but he was unable to string combinations together and attempted just three takedowns in the bout – failing on each attempt. All told, Edgar held an 83-to-48 advantage in significant strikes landed.
As he so often does, Edgar was able to keep yet another opponent guessing with his pace, volume and variety. It was Faber’s first loss in a non-title bout in UFC and WEC competition.
“I said I wanted to push the pace like I always do, and that’s what I did,” Edgar said. “Takedowns were there, but the dude’s so technical that he was able to get up. I wasn’t able to use my ground-and-pound that I’ve been able to utilize. I want that title, man.”
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Mousasi Cruises Past Philippou
Former Strikeforce light heavyweight king Gegard Mousasi made it look easy against Costas Philippou.
Controlling the majority of their middleweight bout from top position, Mousasi (37-5-2, 4-2 UFC) cruised to a clear-cut decision win over the Bellmore Kickboxing Academy product. All three judges submitted identical 30-27 scorecards in favor of the Dutchman, who has won back-to-back fights in the UFC for the first time since joining the promotion in 2013.
Beautifully-timed level changes defined Mousasi’s mastery over Philippou (13-5, 6-4 UFC). He took the former boxer down in each frame and was able to stay heavy from top position with methodical ground-and-pound and positional advancements. Philippou has now lost three of his last four fights in the Octagon.
“I just kept it smart with ground-and-pound,” Mousasi said. “His standup is dangerous. On the ground I had the advantage. I just played it smart. I’m not gonna risk getting knocked out.”
Munoz Tops Barnatt in Farewell Bout
Mark Munoz said goodbye to mixed martial arts in style.
The Filipino Wrecking Machine turned back the clock against Luke Barnatt, authoring a vintage performance in front of a partisan crowd to capture a unanimous decision triumph (29-28, 30-27, 30-27) in a featured middleweight tilt. Munoz (14-6, 9-6 UFC) announced his intentions to retire prior to the bout.
Munoz came out firing, as he bombed away on his taller English foe with punches near the fence, landed takedowns and unleashed some of his trademark “Donkey Kong” strikes on the mat. The Reign MMA founder briefly appeared to lose some steam in the second frame, but he closed with a flourish in the final stanza, backing up Barnatt (8-3, 3-3 UFC) with overhand rights and combinations before sealing his victory with one last salvo of ground-and-pound.
At the conclusion of the bout, Munoz left his gloves in the center of the Octagon, a traditional farewell gesture.
“This is something I dreamed about and I hoped for,” Munoz said. “I know I didn’t accomplish what I wanted to accomplish in the cage, but I invested a lot of my time in lives. I’ve been able to help change lives and impact lives in a positive way. That’s what I’m here for.”
Magny TKOs Lim, Wins Seventh Straight
Neil Magny just keeps on rolling.
The Grudge Training Center product earned his seventh straight UFC victory, stopping Hyun Gyu Lim via technical knockout in the second round of their welterweight tussle. A steady stream of punches from back mount forced referee Steve Perceval to intervene at the 1:24 mark of the period. Magny is now tied for the fourth-longest active winning streak in the Las Vegas-based promotion.
Magny (15-3, 8-2 UFC) had to endure some heavy fire to keep his winning streak alive. Lim (13-5-1, 3-2 UFC) stunned the Coloradoan with a right hand early in round one and rushed forward in typical fashion for the finish. Magny was able to survive the ensuing onslaught of heavy punches and knees near the fence, however, and rallied to take control of the fight in the second half of the frame with a couple of takedowns.
That theme continued into round two, as Magny slammed his Korean foe to the canvas immediately and seamlessly transitioned to full mount. Lim eventually gave up his back, allowing Magny to flatten him out and finish the bout with a series of left hands to the side of the head.
“He definitely caught me hard in the first round, rocked me for a little bit,” Magny said. “I just tried to keep my composure, stay calm and find my opening to take him down.”
Nover Takes Split Verdict Over Nam
More than six years after his UFC debut, Phillipe Nover finally has his first Octagon triumph.
The Ultimate Fighter 8 alum neutralized Yui Chul Nam’s aggressive approach to take a narrow split-decision triumph in a featured lightweight tilt. Two judges scored it 29-28 for Nover (11-6-1, 1-3 UFC), while a third submitted a 29-28 tally in favor of Nam (18-5-1, 1-1 UFC).
Nover rarely gave Nam space to work, as he pressed his foe against the fence and landed takedowns for the first half of the bout. Nam began to come to life late in round two, when he attacked with a barrage of ground-and-pound from above. Nover, meanwhile, attempted to deter his foe’s approach with submission attempts from an active guard. Nam spent most of the final stanza in top position before finishing with one final flurry of hammerfists, but it was not quite enough to make up for his slow start.
Makashvili Earns Methodical Triumph vs. Eddiva
Levan Makashvili relied on his wrestling roots to defeat Mark Eddiva in a featherweight encounter. Takedowns and grueling clinch work carried the Cage Fury Fighting Championships veteran to a split verdict (29-28, 28-29, 30-27) in his Octagon debut.
Makashvili, who replaced Alex White on short notice, was not dominant in victory, but his overall strength advantage was evident throughout the contest. “The Hornet” consistently sucked Eddiva (6-2, 1-2 UFC) into the clinch and took his Filipino foe down in each frame, sometimes with powerful slams. While Makashvili was not able to capitalize on those positions, his approach made Eddiva more conservative when it came to finishing combinations on the feet.
Tuck Rocks, Submits Bang
Jon Tuck showcased his power and submission savvy in a first-round stoppage of Tae Hyun Bang in a preliminary lightweight clash. The Guam native ended the bout with a rear-naked choke 3:56 into the opening period. Bang (17-9, 1-2 UFC) has not earned consecutive wins since 2008.
“I’m feeling so good. I haven’t fought in Manila since 2011; this is like a second home,” said Tuck (9-2, 3-2 UFC). “I just want to thank everybody that flew out from Guam, all 500-plus.”
Both fighters had their moments in the early going, but Tuck changed the course of the fight when clipped his opponent with a right hook after whiffing on an axe kick. That blow sent Bang tumbling to the floor, and Tuck unloaded with punches before changing course and taking his foe’s back. Moments later, “Super Saiyan” was able to slide his left arm under Bang’s neck to get the tapout.
Johnson Wears Down Zhang
Canadian veteran Kajan Johnson relied on a grappling-heavy approach to capture a unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28) triumph against Lipeng Zhang in a lightweight duel. The Tristar Gym-based fighter went the distance for just the fifth time in 20 professional victories.
Johnson (20-11-1, 1-1 UFC) did a good job controlling the range throughout, as he landed strikes at a comfortable distance and forced clinches and takedowns when Zhang (9-9-1, 2-2 UFC) attempted to get inside. Johnson was particularly sticky in close quarters, and his persistence in that area appeared to wear down his Chinese adversary as the bout progressed.
‘The Leech’ Makes Short Work of Lima
China Top Team representative Jingliang Li earned his seventh victory in nine outings, as he stopped “TUF 19” finalist Dhiego Lima via technical knockout in the first round of their welterweight tussle. The end came 1:25 into the period, when “The Leech” rendered Lima (10-4, 1-3 UFC) unconscious with a series of right hands on the mat.
Li (10-3, 2-1 UFC) backed Lima up against the fence early with a series of uppercuts and unloaded from there. A left hook-right hook combination landed flush to stun the 26-year-old Brazilian. Li gave his foe no time to recover, as he landed about five or six heavy right hands under the armpit of a kneeling Lima to force referee Terry Hill to call a halt to the bout.
Ning Flurry Puts Away Wee
“The Ultimate Fighter: China” winner Guangyou Ning was too much for Royston Wee in their bantamweight showdown. A ferocious flurry brought a halt to the bout with just one second remaining in round two.
An overhand left from Ning (5-2-1, 2-0 UFC) had Wee reeling, and the Chinese fighter followed up with a right hook and a left to the body to send his man to the canvas. From there, the 33-year-old “Smasher” forced a stoppage with a series of vicious elbows on the mat just before the frame expired. Wee (4-1, 2-1 UFC) struggled to generate any type of output before the finish, as Ning controlled the bout with aggressive punching flurries, hard leg kicks and multiple takedowns.
Reyes Chokes Out Sangcha-an in Wild Scrap
Guam’s Jon delos Reyes submitted Roldan Sangcha-an with a rear-naked choke in an entertaining flyweight battle. Sangcha-an asked out of the contest 3:13 into round two, his second consecutive defeat inside the Octagon. Reyes has finished all eight of his professional triumphs inside the distance.
After a back-and-forth opening frame that featured spirited exchanges both standing and on the mat, Reyes (8-4, 1-2 UFC) took control in the second stanza. A big right hand temporarily dislodged Sangcha-an’s (4-2, 0-2 UFC) mouthpiece, and Reyes pounced for the finish with heavy standing-to-ground punches before diving into his foe’s guard. Referee Greg Kleynjans then halted the bout to examine a nasty cut near Reyes’ right eye, which opened during an incidental clash of heads earlier in the period. When the action resumed, Reyes was able to transition to Sangcha-an’s back to secure the fight-ending choke.
Yao Takes Split Verdict Over Ticman
The Ultimate Fighter China cast member Zhikui Yao earned a contentious split-decision triumph over Kings MMA’s Nolan Ticman in a preliminary flyweight affair. Two cageside judges scored the bout 29-28 in favor of Yao, while a third saw it 29-28 in favor of Ticman.
While Ticman (4-3, 0-2 UFC), a former wrestler at Cal State Fullerton, spent the majority of the fight circling away from his opponent, he was seemingly able to land the majority of the fight’s most significant strikes through periodic counters. However, Yao (2-2, 1-1 UFC) was likely rewarded for his aggression, as he applied pressure throughout the fight. However, the 24-year-old China native spent most of bout chasing Ticman rather than cutting off the cage.