Edgar Keeps Lightweight Title in Dazzling Come-From-Behind Win

By Brian Knapp Oct 8, 2011
In a thrilling performance that will likely come to define his reign atop the 155-pound division, Frankie Edgar survived another harrowing first round, roared back from behind and put away his previously unbeaten challenger.

Edgar (14-1-1, 9-1-1 UFC) stopped Gray Maynard on fourth-round punches in the UFC 136 headliner on Saturday at the Toyota Center in Houston. The champion brought finality to a riveting trilogy between the two rivals 3:54 into round four, having covered Maynard in a series of power punches. A right uppercut wobbled him, a right hook floored him and follow-up left hands on the ground finished him.

In a scene that was eerily reminiscent of their second encounter on New Year’s Day, Edgar weathered a violent storm in the first round. A ringing right uppercut from Maynard (10-1-1, 1 NC, 8-1-1, 1 NC UFC) placed him in serious peril, and the Xtreme Couture Mixed Martial Arts standout appeared close to sealing the deal more than once. Maynard also connected with a beautiful straight hand and a stiff knee in close quarters. Bloodied and cut, Edgar retreated to his corner on the brink but still very much in the fight.

“That last fight we had, he hurt me the first round,” Edgar said. “I don’t know, man. Maybe I just wanted to make it exciting. Who knows?”

Maynard eased his foot off the gas in the second round in what proved to be a strategic blunder. He was never able to re-establish himself. Edgar’s superior footwork, lateral movement and boxing skills took over. In the fourth round, Edgar staggered Maynard with a short right uppercut during a scramble, sending him backpedaling into the cage. Another right hand blasted through and wicked right hook planted Maynard face down on the canvas. Edgar then swarmed with left hands, forcing the stoppage.

“I hit him with a right hand. I saw he was rocked, and I just went in for the kill, man,” Edgar said. “It ain’t easy fighting somebody three times. Gray brought the best out in me, so I’ve got to thank him and his team.”

Aldo Denies Florian, Retains Featherweight Crown

Superior on the feet and on the ground, Jose Aldo turned away Kenny Florian and kept his stranglehold on the UFC featherweight title with a competitive but no less one-sided unanimous decision in the co-main event. Aldo (20-1, 2-0 UFC) swept the scorecards by matching 49-46 counts.

Florian (14-6, 12-5 UFC) has now been denied in three bids for UFC gold.

It took Aldo a round to find his rhythm, as Florian pressed him against the cage in the clinch, closed the distance and largely neutralized the champion’s speed advantage. However, Florian’s level of success waned as the fight deepened, as Aldo attacked the inside of his leg with kicks, stuffed repeated takedown attempts and compromised his defenses with straight punches and counter right hooks.

Once the fight went to the ground, Aldo was on another level. He twice mounted Florian -- in the third round and again in the fifth -- and delivered short elbows from the top when the opportunities presented themselves. When it ended, Florian looked like a man defeated, the champion having clearly established he was the better man.

“It played out great,” Aldo said. “He’s a very strategic fighter, a very smart and experienced guy. I just had to go in and impose my game. Next time, I’ll put on a better fight for you guys.”

Sonnen Dominates, Submits Stann

Chael Sonnen File Photo

Sonnen submitted Stann.
Chael Sonnen walked through Brian Stann and then called for his rematch with UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva.

Sonnen (26-11-1, 5-4 UFC) grinded down Stann with his overwhelming blend of takedowns and ground-and-pound, ultimately working himself into position for a fight-ending arm-triangle choke in the second round of their middleweight showcase. After struggling briefly, Stann, the former WEC light heavyweight champion, reluctantly tapped out to the choke 3:51 into round two.

In his first appearance since losing to Silva in August 2010, Sonnen was flawless. He never allowed Stann a moment’s rest, as he pursued the clinch, delivered takedowns and mounted the American war hero twice. In the second round, he caught a kick from Stann (11-4, 5-3 UFC), took it back to the ground and moved for the finish after softening his foe from the top. Sonnen had not ended a fight by submission in nearly five years.

Afterward, he targeted the incomparable Silva.

“Anderson Silva, you absolutely suck,” Sonnen said. “Super Bowl weekend, [I want] the biggest rematch in the history of the business. I’m calling you out, Silva, but we’re upping the stakes. I beat you, you leave the division. You beat me, I will leave the UFC forever.”

Phan Outpoints Garcia in Thriller

Ten months later, Nam Phan found some justice.

“The Ultimate Fighter” Season 12 semifinalist took a unanimous decision from Leonard Garcia on the strength of superior hand speed and accurate combinations in a featured featherweight matchup. All three judges scored it 29-28 for Phan, who lost a widely panned unanimous decision to Garcia at “The Ultimate Fighter 12” Finale in December.

Phan (17-9, 1-2 UFC) controlled the first two rounds, as he savagely attacked Garcia’s body and head with crisp punches. He dropped the Jackson’s Mixed Martial Arts representative with a right hand in the first round and had him reeling. Still, Garcia (15-8-1, 2-4 UFC) did not go away quietly.

The third round between them will stand on its own as one of the best of the year. Garcia had his foe in serious trouble with a pair of brutal left hooks. Phan wobbled but did not go down, and, later, once Garcia had exhausted himself with wild punches in pursuit of a knockout, he returned fire and scored with a well-timed takedown.

“I knew I had him in trouble, but he had gathered so many points against me in the beginning that I knew if I didn’t finish him I would probably lose a decision,” Garcia said. “Man, Houston, I love you guys. One of these days, I’m going to get it together, and I’m going to win one for you guys.”

Lauzon Submits Guillard in 47 Seconds

“The Ultimate Fighter” Season 5 alum Joe Lauzon stunned the surging Melvin Guillard, as he submitted the lightweight contender with a rear-naked choke in 47 seconds. The defeat snapped Guillard’s five-fight winning streak and knocked him from the cusp from title contention.

Guillard (29-9-2, 1 NC, 10-5 UFC) unleashed with power punches from the start, but left himself open to be countered. Lauzon (21-6, 8-3 UFC) obliged with a short left hand that staggered Guillard, who backed away and stumbled near the cage, landing on his elbows and knees. Lauzon pounced, moved immediately to his back, hooks in, snaked his arms around his stunned foe’s neck and finished it there.

“I’m feeling great,” Lauzon said. “We were really worried about Melvin’s standup, so we trained really hard and came out ahead. I almost wanted to go for the guillotine, but he gave up his back and I got the short choke.”

More UFC 136 »
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