After a weekend filled with plenty of UFC exposure the 2nd Round Submission is back to make you say “YEEEEAAAHHHH!!!”
UFC 118: Edgar vs Penn 2
I had the pleasure of attending UFC’s long awaiting arrival to Boston Saturday night at the TD Garden. UFC 118 was headlined by the long awaited rematch for the lightweight title between the champion Frankie “The Answer” Edgar and the former champ “The Prodigy” BJ Penn. Talking to many people before the show it seemed quite clear everyone thought it was just a matter of time until Penn regained the title. Edgar was well aware going in that there were several who questioned his merits as the top lightweight in the company.
Regardless of what everyone one else thought, Frankie Edgar stepped into the cage that night and dominated BJ Penn. I could break down every round but there’s really no sense in doing so because it was much of the same for 25 minutes. Frankie was faster, more aggressive, more tactical, and overall just better then BJ. He won every round by mixing up his striking and keeping Penn off guard by quickly moving in for takedowns.
Penn’s performance left many thinking he’s done as a premier fighter. Between rounds you could see him getting more and more frustrated. His corner gave little in the way of advice and I don’t blame them. For years they’ve used the time between rounds to stroke BJ’s ego as he catches his breath. This is in no way a knock against him or his corner but after years of being dominant it’s tough to know what to say in that position. By the 5th round The Prodigy looked like a beaten and exhausted fighter.
Edgar took the judges’ decision 50-45 on all scorecards.
The most prominently featured bout on the card pitted former 5-time UFC champion and hall of famer, Randy Couture, against multiple division boxing champion James “Lights Out” Toney. I have no earthly clue how this fight was sanctioned but it was going happen. Toney managed to push Dana White’s buttons by chasing him all over the country and running his mouth about how he’d knock out any UFC fighter. He got his wish and was given the opportunity to do exactly what he proclaimed he would.
The atmosphere in the building was incredible for this match up. Toney was passionately booed by much of the Boston crowd. Like a good heel should, he ate up the reaction. Couture received an ovation like few have gotten before. Everyone stood anxiously awaiting the action to begin. When the bell rang it took about 15 seconds for Randy to dump Lights Out on his oversized ass. From there he quickly moved to the full mount and started pounding away. He locked in an arm triangle and the crowd went nuts. Shockingly, Toney managed to withstand the initial submission attempt. The audience broke out into a loud “UFC” chant. Probably the first and only time we’ll hear this. Couture repositioned himself, sank in the choke again and forced the boxer to tap out. Everyone, including the fighters sitting behind press row, erupted upon Randy’s victory. He proved that on this night that it takes much more than boxing to come into the octagon and win over a fully capable mixed martial artist.
Following the fight Randy commended Toney on being the first boxer to actually step in to the octagon and compete. That was the only praise James would receive for his performance. Dana White assured everyone that Lights Out, or any other boxers for that matter, wouldn’t be returning to the octagon for a sport vs sport match up.
Hometown favorite, Kenny Florian took on Gray Maynard with the #1 contender spot for the lightweight title on the line. This was not a good night for the Westwood, MA native. The first round was fairly even with neither man doing much. Florian held a very slight advantage while on their feet while Maynard was able to score a takedown. Tough round to score here but 2 out of 3 judges gave it to Gray. The remainder of the fight Maynard was able to control the action with his wrestling. Florian seemed tentative and unable to figure out Maynard’s strategy. The crowd was initially patient but as time went on they became more and more on edge hoping Kenny would gain an advantage. In the closing minutes of the fight Florian attempted a few submissions from the bottom but wasn’t able to secure anything. A disappointing performance for Kenflo in front of his hometown fans while Maynard solidified himself as the #1 contender and a chance to earn a second win over champion Frankie Edgar.
When it comes to Gray Maynard I think he’s the lightweight version of Jon Fitch. I can’t say anything bad about either man’s record but their bouts are nothing to write home about. I can appreciate a good ground battle but their style of grappling does little for me. Maynard hasn’t lost since he’s become a UFC fighter, that doesn’t take into account his loss to Nate Diaz on TUF season 5 because it was only a 2 round fight. He’s beaten some good opponents but from what I can recall he only has 1 win by stoppage. I’m hoping Edgar’s quickness will make this match with Gray somewhat entertaining. I don’t think I can handle 5 rounds of nothing but wrestling. No way they can headline a PPV with this fight. I’m expecting it to be a co-main event with St. Pierre vs Koscheck in December or Silva vs Sonnen 2 in January.
I may be going out on a limb here but I’d like to see WEC lightweight champion, Ben Henderson, take on the winner of this fight in a unification bout. Henderson has very good wrestling, versatile striking and solid BJJ. I’d expect it to be a very interesting match up whether against Maynard or Edgar. If it ends up happening remember where you heard it first.
Nick Diaz secured his second straight win since moving up to welterweight. He busted open Marcus Davis early in the 1st round and pounded away at his rapidly swelling eye throughout the contest. In the 3rd round he took Davis down and locked in a guillotine choke to put his opponent to sleep, literally.
There were 3 fights on the show that were dreadfully boring. I’ll never boo a fight or a fighter but I can’t really fault those who chose to. Andre Winner vs Nik Lentz was probably the worst fight I’ve seen all year. 90% of the fight saw Lentz holding Winner against the fence, never gaining an advantage. Truly a horrible way to start the free Spike TV broadcast. Mike Pierce vs Amilcar Alves started the night of fights off very very slowly. Mercifully, Pierce was able to finish the fight in the 3rd with an armbar. Demien Maia and Mario Miranda rolled around on the mat for the better part of 15 minutes and left the crowd very restless. Do not look up these fights on the internet or watch on demand unless you’re looking to fall asleep.
Fear not, I will not end this recap on a low note. Joe Lauzon was the greatest man in the history of Boston sports on Saturday evening. Am I exaggerating? Only slightly my friends. Lauzon is from about 20 minutes outside of Boston and along with Florian was the other local fighter on the card. Lauzon himself sold 600 tickets to the event and his supporters were decked out with their green and white JL shirts. J-Lau came to the ring to a thunderous ovation for his match up against former Ultimate Fighter teammate Gabe Ruediger. I thought the Garden was loud for Joe during the introductions but really this was nothing compared to what was coming. The fight started and what took place was the most well rounded, one-sided, decisive ass kicking I’ve seen in a long time, maybe ever. Right away Joe landed hard punches then dumped Gabe to the mat with a hip throw. He quickly took his back and looked for a submission. Ruediger tried to improve his position but Joe stayed right on top of him and continued going to work. From side control Lauzon landed some very hard elbows to the crowd’s delight. Joe then moved to back control and scored with some vicious uppercuts that had the audience yelling “OOHHH!!!” with each one that rocked Ruediger’s head. Gabe momentarily got to his feet but was immediately taken back down hard with a belly to back suplex. J-Lau took his back again, scored with some more uppercuts then cinched in an armbar for the tap out in 2:01. The television broadcast didn’t do justice to how loud it was in the building for this. Easily the loudest crowd reaction I’ve heard in person at a UFC show. This was clearly the highlight of the event. Joe said he wanted to take Gabe’s heart then take his arm and that’s exactly what he did. Congrats to Joe for such a great performance in front of his home crowd. If there is another show in Boston next year this man needs to be put on the main card without question.
Those who came to see the event live we’re quite the collection of characters. I’d like to personally congratulate Boston for being the site of the most crowd fights at a UFC event. Philly was the original leader with 3 but Beantown took the title with 4 confirmed crowd fights and possibly one more. There were no knockouts in the octagon but my award for knockout of the night goes to the drunk guy sitting in the lower level who when throwing a punch at a hooligan sent himself tumbling to the ground face first after missing horribly. His reward wasn’t 60 grand but a police escort out of the building.
For the most part the crowd was very patient. Shockingly some of the boring fights only received light booing and often time applause at the end of every round. Despite what Bruce Buffer said at the start of the broadcast, the Garden didn’t appear to be sold out. Word is Dana and other UFC people were giving out free tickets all the way up until the show. No complaints on my end though, we were able to relocate to a great location for a majority of the show.
Also part of the Boston debut was a Fan Expo that took place on Friday and Saturday. According to those who have been to other expos, this one was far inferior. It was nice to see UFC go all out and bring this event along but I didn’t find it all that fan friendly. If you’re a fan of standing in long lines to meet a fighter then this would be right up your alley. Don’t get me wrong, there were some noteworthy fighters there but no way I was waiting in line for over an hour to meet Chuck Liddell. If you chose to stand in line you better hope the line is moving fast because if a fighter was only scheduled to sign autographs until 5, once the clock struck 5 they were taking off no matter how long the line was. This wasn’t really the fighter’s fault since their managers seemed to be moving them along. Kudos to Tito Ortiz who continued signing autographs and taking pictures well beyond the allotted time. There were a few freebies scattered around but my sister and I missed out on most of them. I did manage to win a free t-shirt and some other goodies for matching Dan Hardy’s vertical jump of 35”. I managed to pull this off barefoot, as I came to the event in flip flops, so Hardy I’m calling you out. You and I in a vertical leap contest. You will be defeated.
Strikeforce: Lawal vs Cavalcante
Pour Pour Strikeforce. This promotion can use all the help it can get. They have about 5 names that they can bill as major draws, Fedor, Hershel Walker, Cyborg, Lashley, and King Mo . . . actually make that number 6 with Hendo inluced. Well last Saturday night 2 of those major names lost convincingly, Mo and Lashley. Bobby Lashley has gotten a great deal of attention because of his WWE past. After leaving Vince’s company he’s looked somewhat impressive in his 5 wins. Clearly he can wrestle by taking down opponents at will. Once on the ground he’s used effective ground and pound. His standup has looked marginal at best and his submission game has been non-existent. Thus far, as shown by his perfect record, he’s gotten by with the limited tools he has. Well his limited abilities finally bit him in the backside.
In the first round the former WWE champion controlled the action with repeated takedowns. Late in the round when shooting in for a double leg, Bobby got tagged with an uppercut that busted open a gash under his left eye. Lashley was leaking life liquid everywhere (felt like using some alliteration). As the horn sounded for the conclusions of round 1 Bobby looked battered as he was very slow to get to his feet.
Lashley looked winded, beaten, and troubled at the start of the 2nd while Griggs looked fresh and ready for action. This round looked similar to the 1st early on as the Dominator’s aggressive wrestling controlled the fight. From top position Lashley did little. A few of his strike attempts grazed Griggs but didn’t leave a mark. All the while he continued to spill blood everywhere. The ref stopped the action so the doctor could come in to check the gash. Another one had been opened above Bobby’s eye. The doc gave his “ok” for the fight to continue and action returned in the standing position. This was odd because when the action was stopped Lashley was in full mount position. Not sure why this was done instead of things restarting in the same position. A very poor job of refereeing here. Bobby shot in again but Chad stuff it with a sprawl. Griggs landed several upper cuts and hammer fist while Lashley kept trying for the single leg. When the round closed Lashley was in rough shape. Once again he slowly got to his feet and once he did he wasn’t able to stand upright. The ref saw this and called an end to the action. Griggs won in a huge upset.
The winner noted in his post fight interview that only 15 people, his family, expected him to win. He knew Lashley was getting tired and took advantage. Great win here.
KJ Noons defeated Jorge Gorgel via 2nd round TKO. Good action here along with some controversy. After the 1st round bell Noons dropped Gorgel with a powerful right hook. Clearly JG was still seeing stars when the 2nd started. Once again poor referring here. He should have checked on Gorgel between rounds to ensure he was fully recovered before coming out for the round. At the end of the fight KJ again put JG on the mat with strikes. Just as the ref stepped in to stop the fight, he attempted a soccer kick that would have made Landon Donovan proud. This is a highly illegal. There is no excuse for such an attack by Noon’s going unpunished. With all that said the conclusion was a victory for Noons who is now 2-0 since returning to MMA.
Jacare Souza and Tim Kennedy faced off for the vacant middleweight title. Good back and forth fight here over 5 rounds. Each round was close but it was clear to the judges through the action and Kennedy’s face that Souza had won. Unanimous decision 49-46, 48-47, 48-47.
King Mo Lawal came into the main event in his hometown as the undefeated light heavyweight champion. Prior to the fight Mo had stated his confidence coming in and expected his wrestling to be the most influential part of the fight. His opponent, Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante, would look to his Muay Thai and BJJ to win the fight. It was nice to see the producer of Strikeforce was wise enough to show King Mo’s entrance for change.
The first round saw Mo control the action early with a huge back suplex slam and controlled Feijao on the cage. The Lawal supporters started the chant of one person yelling “KING” and the crowd responding with “MO”. In the latter half of the 1st Cavalcante used his muay thai to gain favor of the judges. He used a mix of punches coming forward, knees to the body, and a snapping leg kick. Close round to score. I gave the slight advantage to the Brazilian.
Lawal was more aggressive with his hands early in the 2nd. More of the “KING” “MO” chant from the crowd. After Feijao landed some good strikes Mo brought him to the ground again however he quickly returned to his feet. This was not a very action packed stanza. Both fighters were cautious and didn’t waste any motion or energy with ineffective offense. Late in the round Mo worked several punches to the challenger’s body. He took this round evening the bout at 19-19
Feijao tagged the champ to start the 3rd and slightly rocked him. He followed that up with and wild right hand then a knee to the jaw. Rafael then leaped in for a knee but got blasted with an overhand right. Mo came in and attacked Cavalcante’s body but got caught in the muay thai plum and ate 2 knees to the face. The challenger rushed in on his wobbled opponent and put him on his back with a powerful right hand. Lawal grabbed a single leg as Rafael tried to finish the fight with hammerfist and short upper cuts. Mo was able to drive him to the cage but continued to take punishment. Feijao started drilling him with repeated elbows and the champion slowly went limp. Referee John McCarthy had seen enough and stopped the fight. The 2nd big upset of the night. A victorious Cavalcante fell to his knees overcome with emotion.
The new champion said his victory was a result of several hours of training and a lot of hard work. He was gracious in defeat and thanked Strikeforce and Mo for the opportunity
Lawal seemed unphased by the loss. He said he knew where he went wrong and would make the proper corrections. When Gus Johnson asked what exactly he’d do he was wise enough not to reveal his strategy.
At the top of the card was a rematch between champion Dominic Cruz and Joseph Benavidez for the Bantamweight championship. Early in the fight Benavidez did well to counter strike and time his attacks as Cruz constantly moved in and out of range. The champion fought in his typical style of being very elusive and keeping his opponent off balance. The first 2 rounds were close to score and believe could have gone to the challenger. In the later rounds Cruz began to land more strikes, get takedowns, and impose his will. Overall this was an entertaining back and forth battle which the judges scored as a split decision win for Cruz, (47-48, 48-47, 49-46)
Shane Roller took on “Showtime” Anthony Pettis in contest between 2 top lightweights. Roller, and renowned wrestler, came in with the strategy of getting the fight to the ground. Pettis had hopes of using his versatile striking to gain a victory.
“Showtime” looked great in this fight. He consistently frustrated Roller by stuffing takedown attempts. While standing Pettis went to work on Shane. He used traditional punches and kicks initially then mixed in an array of acrobatic strikes such as a cresent kick, a capoeira kick, and a spinning back kick.
Late in the 3rd, with Pettis on his back, Roller dove in for some ground and pound. Seconds later he found himself caught in a triangle choke and had not choice but to tap out with 9 seconds left in the fight. Pettis called out 155 lbs champion Ben Henderson following the fight. Expect to see that fight later this year.
As expected, the fight of the night clearly went to Scott Jorgensen vs Brad Pickett. This was an awesome battle and needs to be viewed if you haven’t done so already. 3 back and forth rounds of great action. I gave the first round to Pickett as he was able to land the more damaging punches and kicks. The last 2 rounds belonged to Scott. At the start of the 2nd Jorgensen came out hungry and aggressive. He found his range with his punches and mixed in takedown attempts with each strike. This fight was pretty much a non-stop highlight reel with stiff punches, hard kicks, great scrambles, and submission attempts. Many have considered Leonard Garcia vs “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung as fight of the year but I’d give this fight a nod over that one. This battle had just as much action and was far more technical. Hats off to these fighters
Elsewhere Chad Mendes defeated Cub Swanson via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28) and Bart Palaszewski beat Zach Micklewright by 2nd round TKO.
Recent news that just broke yesterday, the Welterweight title match between Georges St. Pierre and Josh Koscheck at UFC 122 will take place in Montreal, Quebec. Of course GSP will be treated as a Canadian hero and Kos will do his best to be heavily booed by our neighbors to the north. I’m expecting this event to sell out in about 15 seconds.
One more update, UFC 123, headlined by Quinton “Rampage” Jackson vs Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida, will take place in Detroit, Michigan
I’m done for this edition
2nd Round Submission of the Week:
Frankie Edgar rear naked choke on Matt Veach (TUF 10 Finale)
About the Author
Written by Martin Foster
Martin H. Foster is the author of "The 2nd Round Submission" and host of "Verbal Submission Radio" Follow him at www.twitter.com/MHMFoster