Photo via UFC.com
Well, it was not much of a night for surprises. The only thing that could have been more shocking than the repeat performance of Frank Edgar was James Toney knocking out Randy Couture. He didn't even a punch. Well, maybe one. From his back. By the way, turns out he can't knock someone out from his back like he said he could. In with a few thoughts about the show.
- I hope Randy Couture, as much as I like him, doesn't get too much praise for what he did tonight. He doesn't deserve it. No one on the entire planet thought anything different would happen. Except maybe James Toney and I'm sure that even he knew he didn't stand a chance. My fear is that Dana White will award Couture with some sort of big time fight for what he did tonight but that's not what should happen. He should end up fighting Rich Franklin like was originally rumored for UFC 115. It's a fight that should be competitive and it makes sense for the division.
- In the post fight press conference Dana White stated that we won't have to put up with James Toney anymore. He'll be going back to boxing. Good riddance.
- I stated this already in the post fight recap for the Penn-Edgar fight but I'll say it again. Frankie Edgar will lose his title to Gray Maynard. Edgar relies on speed and angles to frustrate his opponents while scoring and wearing them out. What is the perfect counter to that? A strong wrestler who can hold him down and keep him there. Of everyone in the Lightweight division there is one guy that fits that profile. One Gray Maynard. There is a reason he already beat him once. He will do it again.
- Speaking of that fight, the UFC is going to have to find a way to protect it. Gray Maynard vs Frank Edgar for the Lightweight championship cannot and will not headline a PPV. It would sell worse than the worst selling fight of the past 5 years. Sadly enough, it can't just be about the sport in MMA. As long as the business model is built on PPV, they will have to put together cards that sell. What should happen is they should package this fight with the GSP-Josh Koscheck title fight in December. The timing is right and that card will sell for sure. I expect this card to break the streak of 7 straight PPV's of over 500,000 buys. They can't rely on Edgar being a draw because he beat BJ Penn twice. And now that Penn has lost two in a row to the champion, one has to wonder how affected his draw is as well. The UFC Lightweight division may be without a major draw. Not good.
- Demian Maia is one of the most entertaining fighters in the UFC. The way he applies his jiu-jitsu to MMA is a thing of beauty. It's amazing how he can so seamlessly transition from one submission to the next without a single pause while there is another highly trained individual actively trying to crack his skull. There are already quite a few people out there complaining about his performance and saying his fight with Miranda was boring. For those people there is no amount of technique and skill that can be displayed that will please them. Not sure where he goes next but I eagerly await.
- What's next for BJ Penn? He didn't just look beaten as a fighter, he looked defeated as a human. Like he had nothing left to give. When I saw him walk out and then get into the cage with that stoic expression on his face I took it as him being more focused then he's ever been. Now, after the performance he put in, it seems more like it was a look of indifference. Like he didn't really care. That's probably not the case and it flies in the face of everything he said in the lead up to this fight but again he just didn't look right. Unlike last time, there will be no excuses for this one. He was beaten by a fighter who is better than he is. That's all there is to it.
- Nate Diaz was extremely vocal in the post fight presser that he either wants a top 3 guy at Lightweight or Welterweight. At this point, he doesn't deserve either. He also said that he would like to fight Gray Maynard again because he was jobbed last time. Dana quickly told him that wasn't going to happen. I think he should get the winner of the Carlos Condit-Dan Hardy fight at UFC 120. If it's Hardy, and I think it will be, that would be another Fight of the Night level fight that would actually propel him into title contention at 170lbs. He looks a lot better at this weight too despite his repeated insistence that he wants to continue fighting at Lightweight. No matter where he fights it will be entertaining so I guess I don't really care all that much.
Overall, after the amazing shows that UFC 115, 116 and 117 delivered this card was a bit of a disappointment when you judge the card as a whole. Not a single KO or TKO and from a business sense the UFC is worse off than they were when they came in. That said, it's always worth the dollars spent.