Sunday, August 29, 2010

Dirty Review: UFC 118 | Edgar vs. Penn 2

Admittedly, review of a mixed martial arts event like UFC 118: Edgar vs. Penn 2 is outside the wheelhouse of what usually gets covered on The Dirtywhirl but here’s the deal… we like MMA and we write about what we like, thus we’re writing about a UFC event. Indulge us, if you will. Onto the review.

Unfortunately, the UFC’s streak of hot events ended with a thud with last night’s debut Boston show, UFC 118: Edgar vs. Penn 2. While there were entertaining moments (boxing loudmouths being put in their place by Captain America AKA Randy Couture, Joe Lauzon’s destruction of douchebag Gabe Reudiger) too many contests went to the judges’ scorecards and the styles of some of the fighters were, to be kind, less than entertaining with no fight (other than the prelim battle between Lauzon and Reudiger) garnering more than a three and a half out of five rating. Let’s go match by match with the main card:

MAIN EVENT: LIGHTWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP: Frankie Edgar (12-1; #1 Lightweight) (Champion) vs. BJ Penn (15-6-1, #2 Lightweight)
Our Prefight Pick: Penn
Result: Edgar | Unanimous Decision, Round 5
In a five round title fight, champion Frankie Edgar dominated BJ Penn like no one has dominated Penn in his MMA career by winning all five rounds en route to defending his title for the first time. Edgar seemed on a mission to prove that his victory over Penn at UFC 112 in Abu Dhabi back in April was no fluke. It started out as a chess match (much like their first fight) before Edgar just completely took over, taking Penn down more than anyone else ever has in his career and seemingly doing it at will. The frustration was all over Penn’s face throughout the fight as this seemed to be the type of matchup that signified one fighter just completely having the other’s number. It wasn’t pretty but it was impressive and, after taking back-to-back fights against Penn (maybe the best lightweight ever to compete in the Octagon), Edgar solidified his standing as the best 155-pounder in the world and set up a match with another UFC 118 winner, Gray Maynard, who just so happens to be the man responsible for Edgar’s lone loss. Color us intrigued, albeit slightly.
Our Match Rating: 3.5/5

HEAVYWEIGHT: Randy Couture (18-10) vs. James Toney (0-0)
Our Prefight Pick: Couture
Result: Couture | Submission, Round 1
This was the sideshow portion of the event as years of hearing boxers claim that they could take MMA fighters out with one punch if they were so inclined went by the wayside as UFC Hall Of Famer Randy Couture (47 year old Randy Couture, that is) took out five-time boxing champ James Toney without hardly breaking a sweat. Toney didn’t even have a chance to throw hands as Couture took him down with ease early in the opening round, pounded him on the ground for a  bit before sinking in an arm-triangle choke and putting Toney to sleep. There was a loud “UFC” chant from the Boston crowd during the fight and Couture was gracious (as always) in putting the boxing vs. MMA war to bed in his post-fight interview. Also, according to UFC president Dana White, Toney is done in the UFC following this performance. Fun for what it was, but not anywhere near Couture’s top matches.
Our Match Rating: 3/5

LIGHTWEIGHT: Kenny Florian (13-4, #5 Lightweight) vs. Gray Maynard (9-0, #8 Lightweight)
Our Prefight Pick: Florian
Result: Maynard | Unanimous Decision, Round 3
Gray Maynard lived up to his moniker of “The Bully” as he bullied Kenny Florian around (in Florian’s own hometown, no less) for three rounds, in the process earning himself a shot at Frankie Edgar’s lightweight title. After a long feeling-out process to start the fight, Maynard began to take over due to his superior wrestling ability and Florian’s seeming lack of urgency. Florian has long been a top contender in the 155 weight class but has a history of choking when there’s a lot riding on a fight (see his title fights against Penn and Sean Sherk) and with a lightweight title shot on the line in this one, his gag reflex once again became apparent. Maynard has a victory over Edgar in his career but neither fighter’s style is that dynamic so that title fight has the potential to be a snoozer.
Our Match Rating: 3/5

WELTERWEIGHT: Nate Diaz (12-5) vs. Marcus Davis (17-6)
Our Prefight Pick: Diaz
Result: Diaz | Submission, Round 3
Nate Diaz came out and played his familiar role as villain against Marcus Davis (another New England native fighting on the card) and Diaz’s usual taunting and Davis’s hometown boy standing lead to a rather loud “Diaz sucks” chant early on but those chants quickly turned to cheers as both men seemed more than willing to swing away in what was largely a standup war. Diaz eventually began picking Davis apart with strikes, opening up a NASTY cut on Davis’s right eye that required medical attention throughout the fight. Diaz got a takedown late in the final round, took Davis’s back, and sunk in a guillotine choke to take the victory.
Our Match Rating: 3.5/5

MIDDLEWEIGHT: Damian Maia (12-2, #5 Middleweight) vs. Mario Miranda (10-1)
Our Prefight Pick: Maia
Result: Maia | Unanimous Decision, Round 3
Coming off an incredibly lackluster showing against middleweight champion Anderson Silva at UFC 112 that tarnished the standing of both men, Damian Maia seemingly had a lot to prove against Mario Miranda but the fight was the equivalent of watching paint dry as neither man seemed to want to do much. Maia eventually did just enough to secure the judges’ decision but it’s possible that after the Silva debacle and now this, his days of fighting on the main card may be coming to an end.
Our Match Rating: 2/5

Other than the prelim fight where Lauzon absolutely destroyed Reudiger (which was admittedly more entertaining for longtime Ultimate Fighter viewers to see a dickhole like Reudiger get put in his place more than anything else) there were no signature fights that stood out on the card. Sure, Edgar solidified his stature in the lightweight division but the fight wasn’t really what you’d call entertaining and yes, Couture’s victory over Toney will garner some mainstream press but it wasn’t really anything more than a curiosity. Maybe we’ve been spoiled by Silva/Sonnen, Leben/Akiyama, and Lesnar/Carwin over the last few events but UFC 118 really was a disappointment.

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