Frankie Edgar vs Gray Maynard 3 - In April of 2008, Gray Maynard and Frankie Edgar fought for the first time. Both were undefeated. Maynard took home a 30-27 decision on all of the score cards. Neither of which would go on to lose a fight before meeting again on January 1st for the UFC Lightweight title, which Edgar had leapfrogged Maynard and won from BJ Penn.
Maynard absolutely destroyed Edgar in the first round, while Edgar came back and did well enough in the remaining rounds to earn a split draw. All three judges gave Maynard round 1 10-8 and Edgar rounds 2 and 4 10-9. The 3rd and 5th rounds is were the division of viewpoints comes in. One judge gave Maynard both rounds 10-9, resulting in the Maynard decision victory 48-46. One judge gave Edgar both rounds, resulting in a 48-46 Edgar scorecard. The third judge gave Maynard the 3rd and Edgar the 5th, providing a 47-47 draw.
Some make the case for a 10-7 scoring for the first round...if there was ever any one round that deserved it, I think that would be it. Edgar was formally dropped no less then 3 times, but between his stumbling and the takedowns he attempted while half out of it...he hit the ground about 8 times while Maynard was attacking him. He didn't score any takedowns and the few strikes he landed had virtually nothing on them. Had the judges scored this round as a 10-7, then Maynard would have taken home a split decision.
When looking at the prospect of a rematch, the big question is 'What was the story of the fight?'. Was it a story of Edgar getting the better of the majority of the fight despite having a horrible first round, or was it a story of Maynard punching himself out in the first round and dropping too many rounds after? It seems like most people are leaning towards the first. 'Disregarding the first round, it just seemed like Edgar was better at everything'...but I am leaning toward the latter argument.
Both guys came out fresh in the first round and Maynard dominated. I believe that he did punch himself out. He threw something like 97 punches(or maybe it was that he landed 97 punches) trying to finish that fight and it didn't happen. He was clearly tired out and has said that he had to lay back a bit in the 2nd round in order to pace himself to go for 3 more.
That's the key, Maynard laying back and resigning to giving up the 2nd round gave Edgar more time to recover, and it gave him time to feel out the rhythm of Maynard's reactions and iron out the timing for his own attacks. As a result, Edgar landed a lot of pretty heavy shots and scored a big takedown...that certainly couldn't have helped Maynard going forward.
When Maynard decided to get back in the fight in the 3rd, he won the round at least in the eyes of most. But Edgar had come back alive, he had done damage, had some success and was completely back in the fight, which made the rest of the fight a pretty back and forth contest.
The great equalizer everyone likes to use in this argument is 'Edgar took an insane amount of damage in the first, so I'd say between that and Maynard punching himself out, it's a wash'...that's all well and good, but it's incorrect. The fact of the matter is that Edgar DID recover. He did the seemingly impossible, took a horrible beating, and was able to get his legs back, get his movement back, his speed, timing, everything. He recovered from the damage, Maynard did not recover from all of the energy he expelled, and that's what cost Maynard the victory.
Had the judges been willing to give Maynard a 10-7 in the first round, he would have won the fight, he almost won the fight anyway despite gassing a bit. On top of that, had he simply played his cards right, he likely could have finished Edgar with a submission in the first round. On top of THAT, that fight could have EASILY been stopped in the first and not to many complaints would have been issued, if any. Several people I was watching with were actually exclaiming 'How is this not being stopped?' during a few moments. So that, to me, is sort of 4 levels of 'Maynard could have easily won that fight'.
If the judges weren't insane about not giving 10-7s, Maynard had picked his shots better or looked for a submission, the ref had been just a little bit more jumpy to stop the fight, or if Maynard had paced himself instead of throwing crazy....we wouldn't be having any talks about a trilogy fight.
Edgar had to come back and fight his ass off against a winded Maynard just to get a draw. Throw on the fact that Maynard took a clean sweep on the scorecards in the first fight, and I would say that barring something crazy, this match is easy to call.
Maynard will either pace himself to win a one sided wrestling-based decision, or he will land something big again, but take a more measured approach to get a submission or stoppage victory. I'm betting that a perfect sorm of Edgar not going out, Maynard punching himself out, and the ref being so un-willing to stop the fight will not be repeated here.
Gray Maynard takes this fight, I see it coming. We'll have a new, undefeated Lightweight champion. I haven't really been sold on Edgar since day one, here's his chance to win me over.
And in case you are wondering, here are my pickes for the whole card
- Cantwell vs Massenzio - Massenzio
- Simpson vs Shafer - Simpson
- Quan vs Elkins - Quan
- Beltran vs Miocic - Miocic
- Pettis vs Stephens - Pettis
- Maia vs Santiago - Santiago
- Guillard vs Lauzon - Guillard
- Garcia vs Phan - Phan
- Sonnen vs Stann - Stann
- Aldo vs Florian - Aldo
- Edgar vs Maynard - Maynard(duh)
I was actually going to do a post for the top 3 fights of the card, but it's no fun convincing people for a page and a half that the guy everyone thinks will win, Aldo, is going to win...so yeah. Cheers. Check back here tomorrow night to see if I have to eat some crow.