UFC 118 took place on Saturday. I was in the press box sitting next to my new friend Ryan Loco where we witnessed a noisy, homerific crowd, the crowning of a new champion and a boxer try to wrestle. I meant to write this earlier in the week, but The Sports Hernia and I ended up tipping back a few too many PBR pounders outside Yankee Stadium. Anyway, here’s the wrap up.
Jersey Shore Represent
Frankie Edgar is now the top lightweight in the world. He holds the UFC belt, so it must be so. Where does this rank on the list of people from New Jersey appearing on MTV reality shows and becoming stars? He’s no Eric Nies, but now a defending UFC champion, he has to be on there with The Situation, Snookie and Eric Nies. To Edgar’s credit, he’s the only one to actually be at the top of a profession. “Abs” and “drunken midget” don’t technically count. We either need to get him on Dancing With The Stars or The Grind. That’s the logical next step.
Edgar clearly defeated BJ Penn on Saturday. There were no questions this time. He earned every one of those 50-45 nods. In April, I could make a case for him winning the fight, on Saturday, there was no doubt. While we should be busy crowning Edgar, most people will try to figure what happened to BJ.
Is BJ Penn starting to look washed up? He looked lackluster in both fights and its hard to tell if it was because of Edgar, or if Penn is just starting to lose it. He says he wants to get right back in there and fight as often as possible. So, hopefully, we’ll see soon if BJ is on the downside of his career. Or if Frankie Edgar is just that freaking good.
UFC versus Boxing!
Randy Couture defended MMA’s honor quite easily in the co-main event. It basically took an open door and a gust of wind to get James Toney on the ground. Once Randy dove to the ground and touched Toney’s ankle, he just kind of fell. The crowd went nuts. As Randy climbed on top of Toney to start punching him, the crowd broke into chants of U-F-C. On the one hand, come on guys, its M-M-A. On the other hand, the UFC has become the preeminent brand in mixed martial arts and they themselves billed this as UFC versus Boxing. What are you going to do?
After a few minutes of punching, Randy applied a choke, threw a couple more punches then reapplied a choke that made Toney tap out. At least he tried to tap. He ended up just flailing his arm. To his credit, Toney was gracious in defeat and said later that he wants to fight in MMA again. Don’t expect to see him back in the Octagon though.
By easily dispatching James Toney, Randy Couture further solidified his legend. Now he’s not only “UFC Hall-of-Famer, Randy Couture.” He’s also the guy that humbled the boxer who said mean things about our sport!
Joe Lauzon looked awesome. Its hard to recall an uneven matchup on par with Lauzon and Gabe Ruediger. Lauzon won every aspect of the fight convincingly and violently. The crowd loved every second of the ass-kicking. In 8 UFC bouts Lauzon now has 3 submission, 1 KO and 2 fight of the night awards.
Oh, Kenny Florian. Gray Maynard remained unbeaten by tossing around KenFlo and out-wrestling him for 15 minutes. Maynard earned a rematch with Frankie Edgar that just so happens to be a title fight. Kenny Florian gets to answer questions about choking in big fights and his role in the UFC. General consensus is that he’ll be a high level lightweight gate keeper.
The crowd went nuts for everyone with a Boston connection, including The Irish Hand Grenade, Marcus Davis. Only Lauzon obliged the fans. Davis got absolutely destroyed by the longer Nate Diaz in the Fight of the Night. As you can see in this picture from Cage Writer, it got ugly.