TORONTO - Frankie Edgar survived yet another brutal first round with Gray Maynard en route to scoring a huge fourth-round TKO at UFC 136 in Houston Saturday.
Maynard battered the lightweight champion with a series of uppercuts in the opening stanza. But just like their previous fight, Edgar weathered the storm and found his rhythm. The second and third rounds saw Edgar simply out-strike Maynard, who seemed to shut down after failing to get the finish.
Immediately following a failed takedown attempt towards the end of the fourth round, Edgar dropped Maynard with a big uppercut. He then unloaded with punches to snag his first TKO victory in over four years.
“That last fight we had, he hurt me in the first round,” Edgar said. “I hit him with a right hand on the transition. I saw him rocked and went in for the kill.”
Though nothing has been announced, it’s speculated Edgar’s next opponent could be Strikeforce title-holder Gilbert Melendez.
Featherweight champion Jose Aldo won a workmanlike unanimous decision over Kenny Florian in the co-main event.
The story of the fight was Aldo’s takedown defence and leg kicks, which he used to batter his opponent’s lead leg. Florian continually tried to get Aldo down against the cage, but was unsuccessful outside of the first round. The third and fifth rounds saw Florian’s takedown attempts bite him in the ass, as Aldo threw him to the mat and work from the top position.
After five rounds, the judges’ unanimously scored it 49-46 for Aldo.
“It played out great,” Aldo said through his translator. “He’s a very smart and strategic fighter. I just had to go in there and implement my game.
“I expected him to pin me against the cage. I watched his fight with B.J. Penn and I knew he would try to do that.”
Chael Sonnen made it look easy, submitting Brian Stann with an arm-triangle choke.
Following the impressive victory, Sonnen immediately called out middleweight champion Anderson Silva, dropping a bombshell in the process.
“Anderson Silva, you absolutely suck!” Sonnen said. “Super Bowl weekend, the biggest rematch in the business. I’m calling you out, but we’re upping the stakes. If I beat you, you leave the division. You beat me, I will leave the UFC forever.”
Nam Phan got his revenge, winning a wild unanimous decision against Leonard Garcia.
The two picked up right where they left off from their December brawl that saw Garcia win a controversial split-decision. This time around, Phan outworked Garcia for the first 10 minutes, but came close to getting knocked out in the third round after nasty left-hook courtesy Garcia.
However, Phan managed to recover and hold on for the decision win.
“I knew I had him in trouble, but he had gathered so many points in the beginning,” Garcia said. “I knew if I didn’t finish him, I was losing this one.”
Joe Lauzon played the role of spoiler, submitting lightweight contender Melvin Guillard in 47 seconds.
Guillard, who was riding a five-fight win streak, came out hard, landing a few stiff punches and kicks. But as he charged forward with punches, he got dropped with a left-hook. Lauzon then slipped in a beautiful rear-naked choke for the stunning upset.
“I’m feeling great,” an excited Lauzon said. “I almost wanted to go for guillotine, but he gave up his back and I went for the rear-naked choke.”
Demian Maia won a unanimous decision over former Sengoku middleweight champion Jorge Santiago in a battle of Brazilian jiu jitsu black belts.
Though Maia continually took Santiago to the mat, he was unable to threaten with many submission attempts due to Santiago’s strong defensive guard. Santiago respected Maia’s skills on the ground so much so that he never once attempted a hold of his own.
What resulted was a lacklustre bout that saw Maia dominate Santiago, but never put him in any real danger.
Former WEC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis secured his first UFC victory, snagging a close split-decision over hard-hitting Jeremy Stephens.
Despite both men being talented strikers, the bout was mostly a grappling affair.
Stephens was first to go the to the takedowns, edging Pettis in the first round. But the final 10 minutes saw Pettis adjust his game plan and out-grapple Stephens to earn the judges’ nod.
Undefeated prospect Stipe Miocic extended his streak to seven fights, earning a hard-fought unanimous decision over Joey Beltran in his UFC debut.
Miocic hit Beltran with everything he had, but couldn’t put the tough-as-nails heavyweight away.