Top MMA News Breaks Down UFC 136: Edgar vs. Maynard III
The UFC makes its way to Houston, Texas for UFC 136 at the Toyota Center on Saturday, October 8th. The event will include two UFC title fights, headlined by Lightweight Champion Frankie ‘The Answer’ Edgar defending his belt against Gray ‘The Bully’ Maynard as they go head-to-head for the third time. Also on the card, Featherweight Champion Jose ‘Scarface’ Aldo will be taking on UFC veteran and consistent top contender Kenny ‘Ken-Flo’ Florian. The five main card bouts will be broadcasted live on Pay-Per-View while two preliminary bouts will be aired on Spike TV and Rogers Sportsnet. The remaining four fights will be live on Facebook. If there was ever a time to make the effort to watch a card top to bottom, this may be it.
Now for the breakdown:
Lightweight Champion Frankie Edgar (13-1-1) –167 vs. Gray Maynard (10-0-1) +120
The trilogy between two of the best lightweights in the world, champion Frankie Edgar is ready to prove that he can beat Gray Maynard for the first time in three attempts. After being dominated by the bigger Maynard in the first fight and surviving the second en route to a draw, Edgar must have his game plan steadily prepared to stop the bigger fighter. Their second fight can easily be considered the best fight of 2011. After being brutally dominated in the first round, Frankie Edgar came back and managed to turn what looked to be a sure loss into a draw, where many still thought he won the final four rounds. Gray Maynard is a physically dominant fighter as he uses the power he carries in both hands to set up his phenomenal wrestling. When he gets the fight to the ground, few fighters can manage to manoeuvre out of his top positioning. Much of the undefeated Maynard’s fights have been against big name lightweights such as Kenny Florian, Jim Miller and Edgar, all of which he was able to dominate convincingly. He must not allow himself to tire as he overpowers the far smaller Edgar. He has to get in tight to the speedy champion and push the fight towards the fence as Randy Couture would want him to do. Edgar must not allow himself to get into much of a grappling match with the massive Maynard. He needs to use his speed and boxing to outwork him and frustrate him and only look to shoot for takedowns when the opportunity presents itself. Edgar holds huge wins over Sean Sherk and twice over B.J. Penn but if he can beat Maynard, he would undoubtedly consider that the biggest win of his career. If this is anything like the last fight, fans should be extremely excited for another fight of the year candidate and Edgar should hope that is the case; however, Maynard will likely want to make this fight ugly if he is unable to finish early as he almost did back in January.
Prediction: Maynard via Unanimous Decision
Featherweight Champion Jose Aldo (19-1) –357 vs. Kenny Florian (15-5) +225
In the first of two title fights, Jose Aldo is ready to continue his dominance over the featherweight division as he fights the man of a million weight classes, Kenny Florian. After emerging victorious against the dangerous Diego Nunes, Kenny Florian is going into another big time fight, which he has been criticized for underperforming in throughout his career. This will be his third title fight in the UFC and he needs to win it or else it will be tough to see him receiving anymore of the top contender treatment. Jose Aldo is one of the most consistently dominant fighters in the UFC. In his debut against Mark Hominick, he fought through illness as he battered the Canadian for four rounds before his gas tank bailed on him in the fifth. He managed to survive the round but he must hope the weight cut will not be a struggle as it was the last time around. Fortunately for him, he is fighting a guy that has not dealt with the 145 pound weight cut very often. Florian is naturally a LW but has fought in a UFC record four weight divisions. Aldo should be his usual dominant self on the feet, as he will likely attempt to attack Florian’s legs with his quick kicks as he did to Urijah Faber. The biggest question mark in this fight will be what will happen if the fight goes to the ground. After witnessing Hominick ground and pound Aldo like we have never seen before, some will likely give Florian a good chance to win this fight, as long as he can do some of the same early and often. If that is the case, Florian has excellent ground and pound as he uses extremely effective elbows both in top position and off of his back and he will not hesitate to attack a fighters cut. Aldo, however, is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt and if it truly was an illness that made him look helpless on the ground in his UFC debut, than he should be just fine off of his back. Aldo will likely be able to keep the fight standing and use his quickness and power to keep Florian off balance as he is able to finish the fight and retain his title.
Prediction: Aldo via TKO Round 3
Chael Sonnen (25-11-1) –278 vs. Brian Stann (11-3) +190
After over a year away from the sport due to a suspension, the outspoken Chael Sonnen returns as he hopes to get passed the dangerous Brian Stann to earn another shot at his rival, Anderson Silva. Chael Sonnen possesses some of the best wrestling in the division and whenever he feels the need to, he will get the fight to the ground. Brian Stann has some unbelievable power and precision in his stand up as he put out the ever durable Chris Leben and Jorge Santiago in consecutive bouts. He has looked spectacular ever since he cut to middleweight and can potentially earn himself a title shot with a victory. Arguably his biggest weakness is his takedown defence, as was the case against the much bigger Phil Davis; however, he has been in very little trouble against the smaller fighters which makes that one of the most intriguing aspects of this fight. Chael Sonnen is susceptible to submissions but he is extremely dominant in top position. He has underrated striking which tends to look even more impressive considering he is such a threat for takedowns. Sonnen was the first fighter in the UFC to completely expose Silva’s biggest flaw in their title fight back in August 2010. He did the very same thing against top contenders Nate Marquardt and Yushin Okami. With his impressive display of grappling throughout his career and his ability to wear his opponents down, it is tough to see him being unable to outwork the American hero, Stann; that is, unless Stann has been working on his triangle chokes.
Prediction: Sonnen via Unanimous Decision
Joe Lauzon (20-6) +210 vs. Melvin Guillard (29-8-2) –312
According to Dana White, Melvin Guillard looks like he is in line for the next shot at the Lightweight Championship depending on his performance against the dangerous Joe Lauzon. Guillard has finally managed to put together an impressive streak in his career and it could not be at a better time. He finally seems to have reached his potential as a mixed martial artist and his quick and powerful striking has overwhelmed his most recent opponents in Evan Dunham and Shane Roller. Joe Lauzon presents a fight similar to that of Dunham, but he brings a bit more toughness to the table. Guillard looked very questionable against Jeremy Stephens and it showed that as long as you walk through Guillard’s power and hit him right back, Guillard will struggle to find an answer and you will have him backpedalling. Lauzon has the skill set to do that and as long as the fight gets to the ground, he will hold a solid advantage with a variety of submissions. Guillard will come out with a lot of explosiveness and he will likely not allow Lauzon to do much. Lauzon must get a hold of Guillard and must turn this fight into a grind. If he frustrates Guillard enough, he could manage to come out victorious; however, it is tough to see Lauzon doing much against a hungry contender.
Prediction: Guillard via TKO Round 2
Leonard Garcia (15-7-1) vs. Nam Phan (16-9)
After a heavyweight bout between Dave Herman and Mike Russow was scrapped from the event, it became Nam Phan and Leonard Garcia’s gain as they were promoted from the facebook prelims to the main card. This will be the second time these two are going head to head after the first ended in extreme controversy as Phan dominated the stand up and picked apart Garcia but lost in a split decision. If this fight will manage to turn out anything like the last, Phan should not have a tough time staying on the outside and working very effective jabs throughout three rounds. Garcia has been known to have a brawler’s mentality, coming out and swinging for the fences and that stylistic choice has managed to give him the edge in fights where many thought he should not have won. Fights against Chan Sung Jung, Nam Phan and an odd split decision loss to Mark Hominick shows that being aggressive is attractive to the judges. Nam Phan’s technical striking and unaggressive pace will mean he will have to avoid leaving it in the hands of the judges. Phan must manage to get in tight and not allow Garcia to stalk him so he avoids the judges in hope that he can finish the fight. Phan has a lot of potential in the featherweight division but he has lost two unfortunate decisions. Phan should be able to work Garcia’s body as he slows Garcia down and manages to finish the fight for his first win in the UFC.
Prediction: Phan via TKO Round 3