UFC 136 Results: The Real Winners and Losers from Edgar vs. Maynard
Another amazing night of fights from the UFC was capped off tonight when UFC lightweight Frankie Edgar triumphed over the only fighter who has ever defeated him—Gray Maynard—at UFC 136 from Houston.
Edgar continued his winning streak tonight, but he and Maynard were only two of the fighters from tonight’s card. The official winners and losers will go down in the record books, but there was more that went into tonight’s event than that.
Like most MMA events, tonight proved again that you don’t necessarily have to have been involved in the fight card to have been affected by its outcome. The real winners and losers often don’t show up in the record books, and tonight was no different as many outsiders were affected.
So with that said, let’s take a closer look at UFC 136: Edgar vs. Maynard as we examine who the real winners and losers really were.
Loser: Zhang Tie-Quan
Chinese competitor Zhang Tie-Quan has been the face of MMA for China for quite awhile now, but it was his move over to the United States in 2010 that made his popularity really explode.
The UFC has been careful with promoting their potential cash-cow and gave him what some consider to be an easy fight for his debut in the Octagon against Jason Reinhardt. He almost effortlessly ran through Reinhardt, submitting him in less than a minute, but he was not as lucky tonight.
Darrin Elkins dominated Tie-Quan in this one on his way to a unanimous decision victory, dropping the Chinese fighter’s record in America to just 2-2.
He still will likely be the face of Chinese MMA in America for quite some time, but the loss will keep him on the undercard as well.
Winner: Stipe Miocic
Croatian fighter Stipe Miocic made his Octagon debut tonight in the preliminary fights of UFC 136, defeating UFC veteran Joey Beltran by way of unanimous judges’ decision.
Miocic started the fight utilizing a superior technique to pick apart Beltran but fell into a bit of a trap in the second and third rounds as the fight turned into what Beltran is always looking for—a brawl.
Beltran took control and arguably won the second round but was unable to overcome the takedown skills and overall superior game of the man who some fans are calling “the new Cro Cop.” Miocic moves to 7-0 in his MMA career with the win and could be one to watch in 2012.
Loser: Jeremy Stephens
The up-and-down career of Jeremy Stephens continued tonight as he was outpointed by former WEC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis.
Stephens, who is known for having some of the best knockout power in the division, was unable to land the one big shot that he often finishes fights with. He did prove that he was the physically stronger fighter but was still repeatedly taken down by the smaller Pettis who likely surprised Stephens with his improved wrestling.
The Des Moines native did an excellent job of avoiding a triangle as well as staying out of the rear-naked choke when Pettis had his back, but only the judge saw it his way. He will remain as a top-level lightweight, but Stephens does drop a few spots down in the division with this loss.
Winner: Anthony Pettis
The man known for the “Showtime” kick, Anthony Pettis was one of the more dominant lightweights in the WEC and ended up as the final champion in the history of the division. When the company merged into the UFC, Pettis was expected to be an immediate player for the UFC lightweight title. Unfortunately, things didn’t start off so well as he was dominated in his UFC debut by the wrestling of Clay Guida.
That experience seems to have changed Pettis’ outlook on fighting, though, as tonight, he proved that he can get it done with his newfound wrestling skills in addition to his innovative striking and impressive guard game.
Pettis didn’t utilize quite as many of the crazy techniques as he normally does, but the wrestling seemed to catch Stephens off-guard, and he utilized excellent top game to control Stephens once the fight was on the ground.
It wasn’t his best fight ever, but Pettis earned his first career UFC victory which may truly be the biggest moment he has ever had in the sport.
Loser: Melvin Guillard
The extremely confident Melvin Guillard came into tonight’s contest looking to make a case to become the No. 1 contender for the UFC lightweight championship. But the confidence may have been his downfall tonight as Joe Lauzon surprised everyone by catching Guillard on the feet early in the fight before taking the Team Jackson member’s back and submitting him with a picture-perfect rear-naked choke.
Guillard is very skilled on the feet, but maybe some of us have overestimated just how good he really is.
Winner: Joe Lauzon
Self-confessed nerd Joe Lauzon proved again tonight that he is perhaps the most overlooked contender in the UFC lightweight division when he upset the highly-hyped Melvin Guillard less than a minute into their fight.
He’s still likely a fight or two away from a title shot himself, but Lauzon is absolutely no joke. This guy is a top-level fighter who is capable of beating anyone on any night.
Winners: Nam Phan and Leonard Garcia
The highly-anticipated rematch between Nam Phan and Leonard Garcia made the main card on tonight’s UFC 136 main event over fights that could have been considered more important, but there is no doubt that this one delivered the fun.
In what will inevitably go down as the Fight of the Night and potentially one of the candidates for Fight of the Year, Nam Phan earned retribution for the first fight these two had when he was robbed of a decision by the judges. Tonight, in another extremely close contest, Phan was the one who walked out with the victory on the scorecards.
Given the unbelievable pace of this fight, however, both fighters are listed as a “winner” on tonight’s Real Winners and Losers list.
Bring Phan-Garcia No. 3!
Winner: Chael Sonnen
Making his return to the Octagon after a 14-month layoff, Chael Sonnen was matched up against an opponent whom just about everyone agreed would be a tough matchup for him in Brian Stann. That said, the consensus continues to be that if Chael is able to bring fights to the ground, it’s all over.
And he did just that tonight.
Sonnen brought relentless aggression from the very first seconds of the fight, constantly looking to bring Stann to the ground. He didn’t get the first one but was able to secure a takedown with just about every attempt thereafter.
He ate a couple punches from Stann in the second round, but Sonnen finally finished the fight in the second round with a beautiful arm-triangle choke, solidifying the fact that yes, he can finish fights.
He made things even better, though, when he used his post-fight interview with Joe Rogan to call out UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva in epic, pro wresting-like fashion.
Loser: Brian Stann
“All-American” Brian Stann was certainly the fan-favorite tonight, but that wasn’t enough to get him a win in the record books.
Though he confidently stuffed one of Chael Sonnen’s takedowns early, he was unable to continue that throughout the fight. He did display good defense off his back in the first round but was just completely unable to get up off his back after takedowns.
This was perhaps the toughest opponent stylistically for Stann in the middleweight division, so he shouldn’t be too discouraged, but he needs to hope that Anderson Silva defeats Chael Sonnen so that he can have a realistic chance of one day holding the title... As crazy as that may sound...
Loser: Kenny Florian
Kenny Florian started in the UFC at 185 pounds as the runner-up on the first season of The Ultimate Fighter. He quickly decided to move down to 170 pounds which was the lowest weight class in the company at the time. However, when the opportunity came to drop down even lower to 155 pounds, Florian jumped on it. It looked as if he had a real chance to become the lightweight champion, but it just never happened for him.
Florian finally moved down all the way to 145 pounds, making his debut in the weight class just a few months ago. Tonight, he got his chance to prove all of his critics wrong and realize his dream of becoming a UFC champion.
Unfortunately, it just wasn’t meant to be.
He came out strong tonight early in the fight but trailed off in the championship rounds as he simply could not control the dominant 145-pound champion Jose Aldo.
As great as he can be at times, Florian has again fallen short in a big fight and just continues to prove Dana White right that he has “choked” when he gets his biggest chances.
Winner: Jose Aldo
The dominating UFC featherweight champion has been absolutely unstoppable since defeating Mike Brown to become the then-WEC featherweight champion back in November 2009, but his winning streak has actually been going on all the way since May 2006.
Tonight, Aldo had arguably the toughest fight of his career against the most experienced opponent he has ever fought—Kenny Florian.
The champion came out hesitant in the early rounds, seemingly nervous to throw his trademark leg kicks in fear of being taken down. This allowed Florian to jump out to a lead and gain the confidence that he needed.
But Aldo is the champion for a reason,and he didn’t let a slow start keep him down. Instead, he quickly answered, dominating each of the final three rounds on his way to winning a unanimous judges’ decision by the score of 49-46.
At this point, only one real challenger remains for Aldo at 145 pounds, and that challenger is Chad Mendez. Look for that fight to happen in early 2012. If Aldo walks out victorious in that fight as well, we may even see him decide to move up to 155 pounds to get a real challenge.
Loser: Gray Maynard
The third fight of this epic trilogy between Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard delivered every bit as much as the previous two—and more. While the first two fights went to judges’ decisions, the third was finally definitively finished.
The speed difference between these two fighters was evident early as the smaller and quicker Edgar outstruck the larger and stronger Maynard.
But in an eerily similar fashion to the previous fight, Maynard finally caught Edgar with a big uppercut that sent the champion to the ground. Maynard proceeded, repeatedly rocking Edgar in the first round but failing to finish him just like he did in the first fight. Edgar’s nose was broken late in the first round, and the blood poured from it like a fountain.
Unfortunately, that was as close as Gray Maynard would get to becoming the UFC lightweight champion. Edgar bounced back just like he did in the second rounds, controlling the fight from that point on.
Edgar’s persistent and precise striking held Maynard off before he finally caught him with an uppercut of his own, rocking the challenger before he finished him off with a series of right hands followed by left hands with Maynard on the ground before the referee stopped the fight.
This won’t be the last time we see Gray Maynard by any means, but with Dana White announcing that there will not be a fourth fight between Maynard and Edgar, he will have to wait until someone else finally shows up to fight and takes the title away from Frankie Edgar.
Winner: Frankie Edgar
Despite being the reigning UFC lightweight champion, one fighter has haunted Frankie Edgar since the very beginning of his UFC run, and that fighter was Gray Maynard.
Maynard defeated Edgar in their first fight and then fought to a draw against him in their second fight, becoming the only fighter to leave any sort of negative mark on the champion’s record. Tonight, Frankie Edgar finally put the monster to sleep and secured his place as the consensus top lightweight fighter in the UFC.
The unbelievable heart he showed in the first round, once again, was just amazing. To not get finish by a ridiculous barrage of punches from Maynard has to be terrifying for the rest of the UFC lightweight division.
Winner... or Was He a Loser?: Anderson Silva
With Chael Sonnen outclassing Brian Stann tonight, the rematch between him and champion Anderson Silva just makes sense. One could have argued that an immediate rematch following their UFC 117 fight was needed, but Sonnen’s suspension stopped that from happening.
Now, there aren’t any excuses and Silva just doesn’t have any other realistic challengers.
Silva was dominated in the first fight these two had and a rematch has benefit for both fighters. Silva to prove that he just had a bad night before and he’s still the best; Sonnen to prove that it wasn’t a fluke that he controlled Silva and that it’s his time to hold the title.
Then again, this could also be a big loss for Silva, as most would agree that his advantage against Brian Stann is much greater than his advantage against Chael Sonnen.
In addition to his challenge to Silva, Sonnen threw in an additional challenge—if Silva loses, he has to leave the middleweight division..if Sonnen loses, he has to leave the UFC completely.
Winner: UFC Fans
It seems like this is being said more and more often, but UFC 136 honestly has to be considered one of the most exciting events that the UFC has ever put on. From the opening preliminary fight through the main event, fans were treated to the best of the best in the biggest MMA organization in the world.
Excellent submissions, memorable knockouts and even exciting fights that went to judges’ decisions will all be part of this event’s history in what could very well go down as the best fight card of 2011.