Frankie Edgar and Chael Sonnen are both tremendous fighters in their respective divisions. The only knock on them is the fact that they both tend to win decisions as oppose to winning "knockout of the night" or "submission of the night" bonuses.
Edgar has gone to the judges' scorecards in 10 of his 16 professional fights and Sonnen has gone to decision in 17 of his 38 career fights.
Although there are probably more decisions in the respective futures of both these fighters, last night wasn't a night for decisions at UFC 136 in Houston, Texas.
Sonnen faced off against U.S. marine Brian Stann for the first time since his loss to middleweight champion Anderson Silva back at UFC 117 in August 2010. Sonnen exposed Stann's wrestling weakness for the first time at 185 pounds, something the marine had struggled with in the past at 205 pounds.
It didn't take long for Sonnen to use his dominant positions in the fight to lock in an arm triangle choke forcing the marine to tap early on in round two of their fight.
After the win, Sonnen took a chapter out of pro wrestling theatrics and delivered some pretty strong words in Silva's direction.
“Anderson Silva, you absolutely suck,” Sonnen so eloquently stated.
“Super Bowl weekend, the biggest rematch in the history of the business. I’m calling you out Silva but we’re upping the stakes," Sonnen continued. "I beat you, you leave the division. You beat me; I will leave the UFC forever.”
Sonnen continued on his rant in the post fight press conference, calling himself the champion and Anderson Silva the challenger.
Whether Sonnen actually believes a word he says, his antics definitely catch the attention of the fans and when the fans want a fight to happen, UFC president Dana White usually comes through.
Sonnen lost to Silva via triangle choke, but that was after 23 minutes of a completely one-sided affair in Sonnen's favor. Sonnen came forward during that fight throwing punches until he could shoot for the takedown.
Unfortunately for Sonnen, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu has been his Achilles heel throughout his career as that was the seventh time he has lost by submission and the fourth by triangle choke.
Silva was nursing a rib injury prior to and during the fight with Sonnen. A rematch is definitely in order to see how Sonnen would fair against a healthy Silva and considering nobody in the UFC has pushed Silva like the one Sonnen had it only makes sense to pit them against each other once again.
The win over Stann was a big win for Sonnen, but the post fight interview and press conference are what put the exclamation point on his victory last night.
Frankie Edgar on the other hand isn't exactly the trash talking pro wrestling alter ego that Sonnen is. He is a pretty humble guy, but just as dominant inside the octagon, as he has now defended his title for the third time and he did so emphatically.
Last night's main event was the rematch of Edgar vs. Gray Maynard. If you haven't seen the first title fight I suggest you do.
Much like the second fight of their trilogy, Maynard tagged Edgar early and had the New Jersey native reeling and playing defense for all of round one. It was absolutely shocking to see Edgar survive another first round like he had in the first title fight with Maynard.
In the second and thirds rounds, it was really beginning to look like déjà vu. Edgar found his range and Maynard was having trouble replicating what he had done in round one.
Unlike the first title fight, this fight didn't go the distance. In the fourth round, Edgar caught Maynard with a solid punch that staggered and backed up the challenger. From there Edgar poured it on Maynard until he fell to the mat and the referee was forced to stop the fight.
Edgar finally got the monkey off his back in what has been a tough series of three fights against Maynard. The first fight was a three round decision in Maynard's favor. In their second outing, Edgar was hoping to erase the loss, but was forced to settle for a draw in his second title defense. Third time was the charm for him and as it stands now the head to head between these two stands at 1-1-1.
Is a rematch in order? Probably not right away, but definitely down the road if both fighters keep winning. Their battles have been so entertaining; there is no doubting that the fans will want more.
What Edgar did tonight really sent a message out to the rest of the lightweight division. He's showcased probably one of the toughest chins in the division, he can come back from adversity and even though he is undersized, he can still knock the toughest guys out if given the opportunity.
Last night was a big night for both Edgar and Sonnen. Although they are both at different stages of their careers and have vastly different personalities, both guys left fans wanting to see more of them after their performances last night and that is the exact feeling every fighter wants to leave fans with.
In the case of Sonnen, many fans probably have more disdain for him than they have love for him, but the bottom line is everybody is going to be watching his next fight, love him or hate him.
Edgar will be seeing a lot more love than Sonnen and that's because of the heart and determination he shows when his back is against the wall and let's face it, everyone loves to root for the little guy.
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