UFC 136: Main Card Fight Reviews and Fighter Grades
This is my first attempt at live coverage of a UFC event, and I do hope that it comes out well, making it worth the $50 investment. Tonight will be headlined by the third fight between Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard for the Lightweight championship, and the co-main event will be Jose Aldo vs. Kenny Florian for the Featherweight title. Please let me know what you guys think!
P.S. I will be scoring rounds individually, but the final result shown will be the judges' decision.
Joe Lauzon vs. Melvin Guillard
They open up respecting each other's striking, but Joe caught Guillard early with a left hook. He stumbled and Lauzon pounced right on him, spun around, caught his back, flattened him out, and submitted The Young Assassin.
Joe Lauzon by First Round Submission
Lauzon vs. Guillard Grades
Melvin Guillard: C-
He came out in amazing shape, and looked like usual ginormous self. His shots were clean and everything was going well until he got caught. He lost to the more well-rounded fighter, and that's that. I'm sure that he will make a big comeback, though, since he is still going to be training with Greg Jackson.
He has gotten his life together, and has matured greatly since he began his career. This fight will be serve as a learning experience for him, and I'm sure Jackson and him will iron out the kinks in his submissions defense.
Joe Lauzon: A+
I don't think it really gets any better than this for J-Lau. I thought that Lauzon had a chance to win, but picked him to lose by first-round knockout.
As a huge fan of his, I am definitely not upset to be wrong on this one. He just beat someone who almost everyone picked to win, and beat him in dominant fashion.
Leonard Garcia vs. Nam Phan
Garcia comes out looking like a weight class bigger than Phan. Garcia is definitely swinging more intelligently this time around. Phan still has so much power for his smaller frame, and has definitely shown that every shot he throws, whether it be to the body or head, is thrown with bad intentions. I'd have to give that round to Nam, since he connected clearly on more of his shots, and he definitely hit more significant strikes.
Both come out quick and ready to go. Phan has shown that he is fantastic at changing levels when he gets close for devastating combinations. Garcia looking tired early in the second, and it's become abundantly clear that he simply is not as technical when he's tired. Almost every kick he's thrown has either whiffed or just been a grazing shot.
Nam is just hitting everything he throws, it seems. Garcia keeps showing how tired he is by standing straight up in a blocking stance. It just lets Phan pound him down in all of the unblocked areas, like his temples. This one was definitely not as close as the first. Phan clearly loves to abuse the body.
Garcia comes out with a lot of energy. But it's definitely looking like he's going to be tired at about 3:30. Garcia caught Nam and started unloading shots against the cage, but got too tired and just isn't connecting well enough. Still chasing him along the cage, Leonard landed a couple more extra shots, but now that they're both in the center of the cage, it's clear that Garcia punched himself out too early. He drops his hands and lets Phan hit him a bunch of times before trying to unload a big right, missing almost every time.
Nam Phan takes him down, but it's stood up after about 15 seconds of booing, it seemed. Garcia did very well, but I still feel like Nam Phan won this round. He had a good takedown, landed the cleaner shots, and just seemed to be the much more technically efficient. I can see picking Garcia in the third, but I personally don't quite agree on it.
Winner by Unanimous Decision, 29-28 across all judges' scores, Nam Phan
Garcia vs. Phan Grades
Leonard Garcia: C-
He looked very good whenever he was fresh. Sadly, that was pretty rare. Every time he got a little gassed, he only made the situation worse by swinging for the fences, trying to knock Phan's head into the crowd. That didn't work since Phan is much faster and hits extremely hard. I like Garcia; he's a very good fighter with a lot of heart. But he is essentially Joey Beltran at 145.
Nam Phan: B+
Nam Phan just flew up my rankings. He's so quick, and packs so much power into those half-power shots that it's crazy. Then when he DOES go all out, he does insane amounts of damage. He hits fast, hits hard, and loves to work the body as well as the head. Even though he doesn't use too many kicks, he's a fantastic fighter, and will only get better with time.
Chael Sonnen vs. Brian Stann
Stann comes out looking to strike, and Sonnen comes out looking for a takedown. I get the feeling this fight is going to be like nothing we've ever seen, based off of this opening. Both are clinching against the cage, rotating positions constantly. Sonnen spins Stann around and takes him down. Sonnen is holding him in side control, and went to move for mount, but failed.
Eventually, he worked to get Stann's back. Over time, he stood up, but Chael being Chael, he picked him up and dropped him. The rest of the round, Sonnen just rode the top position and pounded him. I'm honestly having a hard time not saying that was a 10-8 round.
Sonnen opens up the round with a takedown, and holds Stann against the cage. After about a minute, he worked into side control, and then full mount. The ref stood it up for some strange reason. After a decent hit, Sonnen gets Stann in the clinch, takes him down, and works into an arm triangle from the opposite side. He then moved across Stann's entire body and forced a tapout.
Chael Sonnen via Arm-triangle submission in the second round
Sonnen called out Silva in the post-fight interview, yelled that Anderson "sucked" and immediately challenged him to a rematch on Super Bowl Weekend. I see this as something almost guaranteed to happen.
Chael Sonnen vs. Brian Stann Grades
Chael Sonnen: A+
He could not have performed any better tonight. It's as simple as that. He dominated on the ground, and has the best top control in the sport, if you ask me. It's almost a guarantee that he fights Silva on Super Bowl Weekend, and believe me, everyone is looking forward to it.
Brian Stann: D
This was a nightmarish matchup for Brian Stann. It was simply the worst possible matchup the UFC brass could have given him. He performed as well as he could have, considering he has struggled against wrestlers in the past, and had to face one of the top five wrestlers in the UFC tonight. However, despite what was expected to happen happening, he gets a lot grade.
Kenny Florian vs. Jose Aldo for the Featherweight Championship
Oh Goodness...Miragliotta is the ref.
Kenny throwing kicks while Aldo checks them, to start. Aldo comes forward with a flurry, but missing almost all of the strikes. Both showing respect for the other's striking. Florian attempts a takedown, but after some scrambling, Florian has Aldo against the cage. Florian uses a great trip, but Aldo gets back up. Happens yet again. This has to be exhausting for Aldo, fending off these takedowns.
Kenny is showing great timing, in ducking under strikes for takedown attempts. Florian dominated that round completely. Definitely a surprise, so far. His timing has been superb and while he didn't take Aldo down, Jose has to be getting tired. Especially for someone with already questionable cardio.
Both are doing a little bit of striking, but Kenny Florian has been ducking under Aldo's shots repeatedly. For the most part, they're both bouncing back and forth. As the commentators have mentioned, Aldo is holding back on kicks this round because he doesn't want to get caught by a takedown attempt. They've each hit each other a few times, but nothing significant has happened this round.
A couple of head kick attempts going both ways have been checked. More leg kicks are exchanged, and Florian ends the round with Aldo against the cage. This fight has been moderately one-sided, in my opinion, and I am quite frankly shocked. I expected Florian to be good, but Aldo seems a little scared so far, to me.
Both exchanging, but Aldo has been pegging Florian throughout the round. Kenny needs to circle away from Aldo, as mentioned by Goldberg, or it might just end badly. Aldo gets Florian down into the mount, but Kenny working him into the guard.
He's showing very good hips in defending Aldo's transition attempts. Jose has been moving well, but didn't seem to really do any damage to Florian while he was on top. Once again, however, Florian ends the round holding Aldo against the cage. This was by far Aldo's best round.
I'm seriously surprised this fight has gone this long. Both have touched gloves every round of the fight so far. Aldo is still landing a lot of leg-kicks, and Florian's inner-right thigh is looking very red. Not to mention that his balance has been so good that none of Florian's takedowns are working. He looks tired to me, but he hasn't been on the ground and not in a dominant position. Florian has been holding Aldo against the cage for a couple minutes, but he got out.
After a minute of moving around, Aldo held Florian in the clinch against the cage, but he got out. After a couple shots to the face, Kenny decides he doesn't like that and pushes Aldo against the cage once again. Aldo got out with 20 seconds remaining, caught Florian with a decent shot, and they finished the round in the center of the cage. Aldo's corner men say he's winning three round "at least", but I highly disagree.
Every single round, they touched gloves. Such good sportsmanship, that I felt like I needed to say something about it. Both start the round trying to counterstrike. Once again, Florian has gotten Aldo against the cage. Florian slips, but they both bounce kicks at each other. Aldo got into the mount,but Kenny managed to escape for the most part, forcing Aldo back into a side control/guard position. Kenny needs to get out, because he's losing the round, and knowing how inconsistent judges can be, I think he just might be losing the fight.
Florian got up, but Aldo held him on the cage. After a short time, Miragliotta separates them. Aldo once again gets Florian stuck on the cage., then they switch positions. Both strike it out to the finish, but I'm giving Aldo that round.
Despite how Aldo clearly feels, I'd give it to Florian, 48-47.
The official decision is 49-46 Unanimous Decision, Jose Aldo.
To put it lightly, I completely disagree with that ruling. To me, this looks like yet another case of bad judging. And to say that Aldo won four rounds is absurd to me. On a side note, my mom cried because Florian was crying. Thanks a lot!
Kenny Florian vs. Jose Aldo Grades
Kenny Florian: B+
While I personally believe he was, to a degree, screwed, he didn't walk out with a belt. He really looked great to me. He wasn't perfect by any means, but he most indubitably could have won that one. It was a very close fight, but considering he performed so far ahead of expectations by just about anyone, I feel he deserves a lot of respect for his performance.
Jose Aldo: B+
Don't get me wrong, Aldo looked great. But regardless of who left the building with the belt, I feel that Aldo didn't do as well as people expected him to, which is why I must downgrade him just a little bit. And trust me when I say this isn't all about bias. I originally picked Aldo to win by third-round TKO.
Edgar vs Maynard for the Lightweight Championship
Both fighters come out excited, but everything Maynard is throwing is missing so far, mostly because they're pawing jabs. So far, Edgar has been getting some small shots on Maynard, but nothing that'll do damage. A quick takedown attempt pushes Maynard against the cage, but he gets up. Maynard rocks him, and pounces, doing some legit damage, but he stays calm and doesn't overdo it.
Gray has been connecting consistently with an uppercut, and has dropped him numerous times. He dropped Edgar once again, and Frankie is bleeding pretty badly out of his nose. However, he just keeps on standing for some reason, like he can't sleep without it being on purpose. Maynard dominated that round for the final three or four minutes. After dropping Edgar enough times, I think this one is a 10-8.
Maynard comes out with great footwork, which is clearly improved over the last fight. They're both going back and forth with strikes, but nothing big has happened. Blood is still coming from Edgar's nose which forces me to beg the question -- is it broken? If so, that might be devastating to the rest of the match. Maynard looks fresh still, but he doesn't seem to be doing quite as much damage on the feet. Especially compared to the first round.
Edgar has connected on more shots, but absolutely nothing is doing damage. Not that it should be expected, since he's small for the division, but with how clean some of his shots are coming, I'm surprised that Gray hasn't even been shook up. As Rogan mentioned, Maynard seemed to just take that round off.
Maynard comes out a bit more aggressive, but I think he needs to start throwing that uppercut. I also agree with his corner in saying that he should be trying to get the takedowns. I think Gray's takedowns are better than Edgar's defense. Still, for the most part through this round, they've been dancing with each other. Edgar has attempted a couple takedowns, but it doesn't seem to be working at all. This fight is probably staying standing as long as Gray wants it to.
Maynard seems to really be having a hard time getting his rhythm back in this round, and as Joe Rogan mentioned, it's probably because he took the second round off. Edgar has landed more strikes and been faster. Maynard needs to start being more aggressive, and he needs to stop using the pawing jabs. Just use a real jab and he won't be outscored so much.
They keep moving around, and Edgar is outpointing him rather clearly. Gray needs to go for the takedowns because when you become a one-dimensional boxer, you lose. Something really needs to happen or else Edgar is going to leave with the belt tonight. Edgar has landed a couple of clean right hand power shots. Edgar rocked Maynard one more time and buckled him. After a few more shots, Josh Rosenthal had to step in.
Edgar by fourth-round TKO
Maynard vs. Edgar Grades
Gray Maynard: D-
He started out performing so well, but in the end, he lost. He got knocked out because he stopped sticking to his style. He is an aggressive guy who is a wrestler, first and foremost. Tonight, he showed no aggression after the first round and tried for MAYBE two or three takedowns, at most, and tried to outbox one of the best boxers in the division.
As a Maynard fan, I can honestly say that I'm not just angry, but disappointed in him as a fighter. He didn't need to be as aggressive as he was in the last fight, but he didn't need to be so damn passive. If not for the good first round, he would get an F, but he gets a D- for being Deplorable.
Frankie Edgar: A-
Props to Edgar for coming back and winning the fight, and surely getting the Knockout of the night. Definitely good for him. However, this is a fight that he should have lost. He was rocked badly repeatedly, and going against one of the worst matchups he could have gotten.
However, due to his opponent playing into his bread and butter, he won. He deserved the win, but I still feel that if Maynard had fought his best style of fighting, that Edgar would have lost a decision.
Final Thoughts and Opinions
If I had to make predictions on the "...of the Night" awards:
Knockout of the Night: Frankie Edgar
Submission of the Night: Joe Lauzon (And Sonnen coming in at a close second, since I DEFINITELY didn't see that coming)
Fight of the Night: Leonard Garcia vs. Nam Phan
I know it looks like I only picked them because they were main card, but come on...this was an amazing night of fights, but the main card really couldn't have been a whole lot more entertaining. Frankie got his first knockout in what feels like forever, Lauzon submitted a top five fighter who looked like he would steamroll him, and Garcia/Phan was an absolute war.
I think MMA judging needs to be corrected, still. It was a close fight, but no way was it 49-46 Aldo. I just can't see how that would be it.
Stipe Miocic looked very good in his debut, to me, and he looks like yet another member of a quickly improving heavyweight division.
Maia needs a finish or he'll never get a title shot again. I am a big fan of his, but if he can't get finishes, people will just assume he'll be dominated again. He'll be the Jon Fitch of the 185 division.
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed my coverage. Please let me know what you thought of the coverage, the grades, or my thoughts on judging in a comment! I love a good debate!
Edit: I was right on all of my picks for the "...of the Night" awards. I'm not surprised since those were definitely the best fights of the night, for me.