Friday, January 7, 2011

FIGHT BLOG: Lightweight Title in Chaos

The fights last Saturday at UFC 125 were certainly fun and unpredictable. In the six preliminary fights, I went 1-5 in my picks, only managing to call Phil Baroni's failure (and subsequent release).

However, on the main card, I made up for the failures of the prelims, going 3-1 before the main event. I will say that Brian Stann was even more impressive than I was giving him credit for and I hope to see him begin making a move toward title contendership at 185 lbs.

All of this led to the main event of the evening, which is where the focus of this blog sits: Edgar-Maynard II.

This fight actually developed into the kind of stand-up battle I called during the preview, but with obviously a different result.

For anyone complaining about the decision, I actually thought a draw was justified and ruled to that extent while I was scoring the fight myself. Maynard's taking of Round 3 could have easily gone to Edgar, though, much as Edgar's total lack of offense nearly forced him into the first 10-7 round in major MMA history.

This has of course led to Dana White's decision to forego WEC Champion Anthony Pettis' title shot in favor of Edgar-Maynard III. While I do feel for Pettis in this situation, it does make a lot of sense. Maynard is undefeated in two fights with the champion and this last fight simply demands a rematch.

Besides that, the entire point of the UFC-WEC unification bout is to determine an undisputed champion, and with Maynard having a legitimate claim, that will not be able to happen until he and Edgar resolve their issues.

I will say that I would take Edgar in a rematch, though. Edgar's comeback Saturday showed his skills have grown at a higher rate than Maynard since their last fight, and if that continues, he should have a slight edge when they rematch closer to summer.

Besides that, however, an Edgar loss here would lead to Maynard having a 2-0-1 advantage in their rivalry. While Edgar would most likely be one fight from a rematch, a third failure may get in his head and prevent him from actually being competitive should they ever fight a fourth time.

Edgar truly needs this fight to gain a mental edge and maintain his position as top dog in the division.

As for Pettis, I would strongly recommend that Dana put on a Pettis match with Donald Cerrone. If it's done at a Fight Night card, they could put the WEC belt back on the line in the same 25-foot ring it's always been defended in. This could also give the UFC audience a chance to see who will be squaring off in this unification bout and give UFC a chance to see just how much the Showtime Kick actually can sell a card.

Hopefully their third fight will keep the stand-up element or at least show some aggressive grappling. So long as Maynard does not turn the match into a lay-and-pray-fest, it should be a good match.

EXTRA: I am adding this as a heads up that I will be sharing my thoughts on either the Tuff-N-Uff MMA card tomorrow or the ESPN Friday Night Fights that will be at UNLV. I'm not sure which I will watch, but keep a look out for that tomorrow.

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