UFC 136 Frankie Edgar vs. Gray Maynard: Will the Fight Live Up to the Hype?

Andrew BarrCorrespondent IOctober 8, 2011

The main card of UFC 136 is just two hours away and it will be headlined by one of the most highly anticipated matchups of 2011, Frankie Edgar vs. Gray Maynard 3.

The two men have already fought once this year, at UFC 125, in a fight that is indisputably a Fight of the Year contender.

It was a remarkable bout and the only thing it lacked was a decisive ending.

Maynard came—very—close to finishing the fight in the first round, rocking Edgar with a huge right hand and hunting him down from there, landing punch after punch.

Edgar, however, showed the heart of a champion and managed to recover and make it out of that round.

In the rounds that proceeded, Edgar had much more success, outworking Maynard on the feet and scoring the more dominant takedowns.

The UFC lightweight champ's efforts were not in vain, as he managed to do enough to get a draw and retain his belt.

After that performance, the audience in attendance and the fans at home all felt they had received their "money's worth", so it makes sense that the UFC would entrust Edgar and Maynard to headline another event.

But can the third fight live up to the hype—can it be just as incredible as their bout at UFC 125—can lightning strike twice?

In a word, no.

I'm not saying this will be a bad fight, in fact I believe it will be an exciting match, but there is no way that it will be the same barn-burner that it was at UFC 125.

Maynard is obsessed with beating Edgar and becoming the UFC lightweight champion, so he's likely going to come into this fight with a safer and potentially more effective strategy.

At UFC 125, Maynard gassed himself a bit in the first round, trying too hard for the finish and it put a damper on the rest of his performance.

This time around, Maynard is going to focus way more on his wrestling and that will make the fight less exciting for most of the fans.

Expect a solid, competitive main event this evening, but keep your expectations a little bit low—I don`t think we`re going to see another Fight of the Year performance.

Be sure to check out Bleacher Report for all things UFC 136. B/R is your home for MMA, from pre-fight predictions to in-fight coverage , live results and post-fight analysis...which you can check out on our UFC 136 event hub.

Andrew Barr is a Featured Columnist for Bleacherreport.com. For updates on what's happening in the world of MMA, follow him on Twitter http://twitter.com/#!/AndrewBarr8