John Heinis: Frankly, there have not been many trilogies in MMA that have gotten the fans pumped up in recent years, but clearly this is an exception.
This fight was originally scheduled for UFC 130, but both Edgar and Maynard were injured about a month out from the card...so instead, we got Rampage Jackson vs. Matt Hamill. 'Nuff said.
Maynard looked like he had the lightweight title in the bag as he decimated Edgar in Round 1 of their New Year's Day meeting, but Edgar showed unbelievable grit and determination by bouncing back to put on a top Fight of the Year candidate.
The majority of fans either support the draw or feel that Edgar won the fight, so both "The Answer" and "The Bully" still feel like there is a lot to prove in this one.
The wrestling is negated here since both guys are former standout college wrestlers. Edgar showed superior takedowns in the last fight, but Maynard's sound takedowns and top control won him the initial battle between the two.
The striking is also a wash since Gray has the bigger power, while Frankie has the quicker and more precise boxing.
I suppose Edgar has the jiu-jitsu advantage, but considering Maynard's size and power advantage (and the fact he trains at Xtreme Couture), I sincerely doubt a submission ends this one.
All in all, expect another fantastic fight, but Frankie Edgar finally solidifies his place on the pound-for-pound list of MMA fighters.
Frankie Edgar via split decision (48-47 x2 Edgar, 48-47 Maynard)
Dwight Wakabayashi: Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard still have unfinished business to settle this Saturday night, but my question is, what do you do for an encore, as these two men delivered a clear Fight of the Year candidate on New Year's Day 2011?
The see-saw, razor-thin battle that saw Edgar hurt and on the brink of defeat early delivered "Fight of the Night" on that card and in my opinion is still the fight of the year. Can these two men deliver such a pleasing war again?
Edgar showed tremendous heart in that fight, and he is also notorious for learning and evolving from one fight to the next, but I believe he escaped that last fight fortunate to still have the title.
Many felt before that fight that Maynard had Edgar's number, and I do believe that to be true. Not much has changed since their last fight except that Maynard has become hungrier while Edgar has had obligations.
I picture an angry Maynard training underground like Clubber Lang in Rocky III, while Edgar is the new star Balboa, getting frayed in his focus like many new champions do.
It is a recipe for disaster for Edgar, and I see Maynard taking full advantage and bullying the smaller Edgar around the cage. I feel Maynard gassed out a bit in the last fight due to the circumstances of trying to finish in the first round.
Shane Carwin knows this scenario well. Edgar was able to recover from being rocked more than Maynard could recover from fatigue, and the rest is history.
That scenario allowed Edgar to control most of the remainder of the fight. That will not happen this time around.
In the end, the difference will be the size, strength and wrestling of Gray Maynard.
Gray Maynard via unanimous decision (50-45, 48-47, 50-45)
Jeffrey McKinney: Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard will meet again to settle the score.
Maynard defeated Edgar back in 2008 and has since been the only man to ever defeat Edgar.
Their second fight at UFC 125 was much different than their first. Edgar was nearly knocked out in the first round but showed his huge heart and fought his way back into the fight only to earn a draw.
Edgar will have the speed and stamina advantage coming into this fight, while Maynard will have the size and power advantage.
If Edgar is to finally get over the hump, he will have use his technical boxing to his advantage and outwork Maynard.
For Maynard to win, he will have to be able to make his shots count and keep his cardio up long enough to deal with Edgar’s offensive.
It’s hard to go against Edgar, but this will finally be Maynard’s night to shine.
Maynard by a hard-fought split decision to become the new UFC Lightweight Champion
Dale De Souza: Fight one saw Gray Maynard’s wrestling overpower Frankie Edgar, while fight two almost saw Maynard knock him out in front of a live crowd and 500,000-plus people at home.
Keep in mind those are the same people who said that Edgar-Maynard 2, the UFC 125 main event, was going to suck more than a movie dedicated to sucking.
Fight three...well, that’s on Saturday.
Maynard almost knocked out Edgar in Round 1, but Edgar almost submitted Maynard multiple times in Round 4. While the wrestling did show in that second fight, it was not the snoozer almost every fight fan predicted.
Dana White said “Let’s see what the judges think," and they stood at a stalemate, as one judge saw it 3-2 for Edgar, one judge saw it 3-2 for Maynard and one judge saw it as a 2-2-1 standoff, meaning that Maynard neither lost the fight nor won the belt.
By the rules of a draw, the champ retains his belt, but Edgar wants to make sure that it is clear who wins the bout this time, and Maynard agrees. But for those who are like me and said Edgar should have gotten a split decision, Maynard says this:
“I respectfully disagree.”
I know some of you do too, so I’m not going to act like Maynard can’t finish what he started, but the last time Edgar had to prove himself in a rematch, he swept arguably the greatest lightweight ever in BJ Penn in all five rounds at UFC 118.
Edgar unquestionably lost in his first bout with Maynard, but he wants everyone to see that he should have gotten the win on Jan. 1.
This time out, some might say he did, while others say he did not, but at the end of UFC 136, in front of an amplified crowd in one of the largest cities in a true sports hotbed...well, let’s put it in the form of a possible B/R results piece:
“UFC 136 Results: Gray Maynard Finally Loses His ‘0’ in a Hard Fight in Houston”
Or, to put it another way...
Frankie Edgar by split decision