Monday, 30 August 2010

UFC 118: Edgar vs Penn 2 on ESPN - TV Review

So was it a freak show or the perfect MMA fight? And did it overshadow what looked like a cracking match? That’s what I was hoping to find out as I watched UFC 118: Edgar v Penn 2, shown live in the early hours of this past Sunday morning on ESPN here in Britain.

The show began with the preliminary bouts, and Andre Winner facing Nik Lentz in the lightweight division.

The best way to describe this fight would be a dogged battle of wills. For the first two rounds Lentz went to great pains to try and take Winner to the ground, but when he succeeded the Brit got right back up again.

Lentz succeeded with his chosen tactic in the third, showing some nice transitions. It was pretty but it was effective.

All three judges scored in favour of Lentz. Well, the style may not have been to the fans’ liking, but it got the job done.

It was also good to see that Bruce Buffer has finally learned how to pronounce Leicester properly!

The lightweight action continued as Joe Lauzon faced Gabe Ruediger. Nice to see that old Gabe was able to make weight on a UFC show.

This was an awesome performance from Lauzon in front of his hometown fans. He absolutely demolished Ruediger, taking him down to the mat, transitioning well and getting the submission with an arm bar just two minutes into the fight. I bet Ruediger wasn’t screaming “put me back in” after that display!

It was up to middleweight for the next fight as Dan Miller went up against John Salter.

A nice back and forth battle saw Salter score with a couple of good take downs in the first round, with Miller able to escape, getting off a few good blows of his own.

The end came early in the second. As Salter went for a take down Miller countered with an anaconda choke that secured the impressive submission win.

The main show began with welterweight action as Nate Diaz faced Marcus Davis.

When Diaz began by taunting Davis you know what kind of fight you were going to get. It was an excellent display of striking, with a combination from Lauzon opening up a nasty cut above Davis’ right eye early on.

As the fight progressed Davis’ eye got worse, but this didn’t stop the great action, even when the Irish Hand Grenade began to resemble Quasimodo at the beginning of the third.

Diaz secured the win in the final minute, taking the fight to the ground and locking in a guillotine. Davis refused to tap, with the referee stopping the fight has he passed out. Boy was this good!

It was back down to the lightweight division for the next fight as Kenny Florian took on Gray Maynard.

An extended feeling out period began this fight, with both fighters testing the waters before Maynard finally scored with the take down.

This was how the rest of the fight played out, with Maynard scoring with take downs and dominating Florian on the ground. Florian sustained a nasty cut above his left eye that clearly bothered him as the fight went on.

Maynard took home the unanimous decision and a shot at the lightweight title. One couldn’t help but feel sympathy for Florian though, one of the most likeable fighters in MMA at the moment.

Action from the middleweight division followed as Demian Maia went up against Mario Miranda.

This was the Demian Maia we weren’t allowed to see during the Anderson Silva fight, a great ground fighter who for the most part dominated Miranda.

Miranda had couple of good moments, but they were scarce as all three judges gave the fight to Maia.

And the ironic thing about this fight was the presence of one A. Silva in Miranda’s corner.

Then it was on to the big heavyweight encounter, as Hall of Famer Randy Couture faced the challenge of boxing legend James Toney.

This was a complete miss-match. Couture got the early take down, and as Toney floundered around like a beached whale Couture unleashed with the ground and pound before going for an arm triangle. It was soon lights out for Toney as he tapped out, giving Couture the submission win.

You know, it’s hard to rate Couture’s performance. Let’s be honest here, this was nothing more than a freak show.

The main event saw B.J. Penn attempting to reclaim the Lightweight title from Frankie Edgar.

Edgar came into this fight full of confidence, and it showed in his performance as he did something I never thought anyone could do.

Edgar dominated Penn in every aspect, from the striking to the ground game to the defensive work. He was also able to take Penn down numerous times.

The former champion was very disappointing, and even though he scored with a couple of take downs he just seemed to be going through the motions, content just to survive. It must be said as well that the advice Penn was getting from his corner did absolutely nothing for him. When they should have been giving him severe tongue lashings they were basically telling him to keep up the good work. The only thing was that the work wasn’t that good.

All three judges gave every round to Edgar, and rightfully so. This was Edgar’s best performance in the UFC, the complete opposite to Penn’s disappointing showing.

A second showing of the Lauzon/Ruediger fight rounded out the show.

In conclusion - apart from the freak show that was Couture/Toney, UFC 118 was a great show filled with great performances, and once again the main event stole the show as Edgar dominated a man we never thought could be dominated in that way.

So overall, great stuff. Just don’t put any more professional boxers in there Dana!

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