Monday, August 30, 2010
UFC 118 questions get answered
By Andrew Plante
Randy Couture welcomed James Toney to the Octagon with a decisive first-round victory.
Several questions loomed over this weekend’s UFC 118 (held in Boston, Mass) including what sort of success the organization should expect with their inaugural event in Beantown. Despite the battle over the last several years legalizing the sport in the state of Massachusetts, the Boston area absolutely proved itself an MMA fight town this weekend. Between UFC Fan Expo and UFC 118 that included several hometown favorites like Kenny Florian, Marcus Davis, and Joe Lauzon, Boston’s first ever UFC event went off with out a hitch. It’s likely that UFC president Dana White, a Bostonian himself, will bring the UFC back to his beloved hometown often, particularly if New York continues to stretch out the debate over the sports' legality.
As for the other questions we pondered last week in regard to UFC 118, let’s get some answers.
1. Can boxing veteran James Toney, who refuses to utilize all aspects of MMA, beat Randy Couture, a seasoned champion mixed martial artist?
Of course not. In one of the quickest and most one-sided victories in Couture’s storied UFC career, the hall-of-famer easily dominated a one-dimensional Toney. Couture immediately went for the low single-leg takedown in the first round avoiding any of Toney’s power and forcing the boxing champ to his back. After a minute or so of a little ground-and-pound, Couture positioned him in an arm triangle and submitted the MMA novice. Toney is the first and likely the last ‘boxer’ you’ll see fighting in the Octagon.
Yep. In what was one of the most lackluster bouts of the evening, Maynard grinded out a decision victory over Boston-favorite Kenny Florian. KenFlo, who has lost in two previous lightweight title fights, seems to suffer from the old adage ‘always the bride’s maid never the bride.' Whether it was the title shot hanging over his head or the fact that he was fighting for his hometown, Florian succumbed to the pressure providing little or no resistance to Maynard’s constant and smothering attack. Just like Sherk, Maynard is an excellent wrestler that used those skills to envelop Florian in all three rounds. Florian will definitely need to address this hole in his game before he gets back into contender status yet again.
Absolutely. His original win over ‘The Prodigy’ at UFC 112 might have been based on what many considered questionable judging, but Edgar conclusively earned his belt in the sequel. Although ‘The Answer’ wasn’t able to finish Penn, Edgar was the epitome of a mixed martial artist in his first title defense. With better boxing, better wrestling and constant pressure, Edgar deserves his props as the UFC’s lightweight champion. Next up for the Edgar? Gray Maynard.
4. Does another B.J. Penn loss tarnish the fighter’s highly regarded position as the best lightweight fighter of all time?
Heck no. After being overwhelmed by Edgar in the main event, there have been more than a few blogs this weekend questioning ‘The Prodigy’s’ legacy, Penn went eight years in his lightweight UFC career between defeats. During that time he has defeated some of the best 155ers in the sport including Diego Sanchez, Joe Stephenson, Takanori Gomi, Sean Sherk, Kenny Florian, among others. I guess there has to be a debate about his abilities after losing two fights in a row, but to me it’s a no brainer. Penn had a long and dominating run in the division and is a shoe-in for the UFC Hall of Fame, despite Saturday’s disappointing loss.
5. Should Mario Miranda throw his Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt skills aside and keep his fight against fellow BJJ black belt Demian Maia standing?
Yes and No. If he could have kept the fight standing, it’s likely that he would have had Maia’s number. But Miranda was entirely incapable of preventing Maia’s takedowns. Miranda spent the majority of the time on his back getting swarmed by fellow jiu-jitsu ace. It’s back to the drawing board for Miranda, who now has two losses in a row after going a perfect 11-0 outside of the UFC.