I had unrealistic expectations for UFC 136. There had been multiple times where I called it the best UFC card ever put together in terms of how good fights should be on paper. I'd say that things didn't quite play out the way I expected and it wasn't what I'd consider the best UFC event ever but it was certainly entertaining with some great performances.
Let's run it down.
- I still can't quite figure out what happened with Gray Maynard after the first round. Yes, Edgar started to get his timing down and was in and out with his speed, but Maynard needed to still try to let his hands go. Instead it was another great first round but this time the fight just slipped away more and more. I wonder if Maynard was more shellshocked from Edgar surviving the first round than Edgar was from taking the damage.
- Edgar is a very good and very unique fighter, don't get me wrong. But I want to see him get a few more title defenses in before I'm ready to comment on his place in lightweight history and the sport. Still, last night was a great display of heart and coming back from adversity to break Maynard's will and eventually stop him.
- Jose Aldo's performance is going to get overlooked and that's a shame. He showed one of the true marks of a champion and after a first round by Kenny Florian that set the tone for the fight, Aldo was able to make the correct adjustments and clearly take over the rest of the fight. It wasn't the spectacular KO that we got used to from Jose in the WEC, it was simply a mature in-fight approach against a guy who looked to take the champ out of his comfort zone.
- Mike Fagan hit it right on the head that Florian is a perfect example of "good, not great." He has good skills but he isn't quite as good as he has been sold and he was never an elite fighter.
- I couldn't shake what Phil Davis did to Brian Stann when thinking about Stann vs. Chael Sonnen. Sonnen is just a much better wrestler in terms of application to MMA than Davis and I figured he'd have plenty of success getting it to the ground, it was just if he could avoid getting hit on the way in. Sonnen absolutely drubbed Stann throughout the fight. Some of the most impressive stuff in the fight was Sonnen's passing ability and ground transitions. Stann is a very solid fighter who isn't likely to ever challenge for the title but will beat people who are solid stylistic matchups.
- I love that some people are mad that Sonnen would dare say Anderson Silva "sucks." The guy is simply great at selling a fight and generating some buzz. The clip of Sonnen's post fight mic work alone will sell more PPV's for that rematch than the great UFC 136 matchmaking did for this show.
- Leonard Garcia and Nam Phan put on an exciting fight. Technique isn't everything for me and I did enjoy the fight. But the announce team has to do a better job of pointing out how few of Garcia's punches actually land. He certainly "goes for it" but his lack of accuracy leads to tons of wasted energy. Phan ate him alive for the first two rounds. Garcia finally connected with him in the third and had Phan hurt, but he didn't settle down, take aim and land shots to finish it off. Instead he just fired wide shots that didn't connect and Phan had the chance to recover. Without judging travesties, Garcia should now be on a nine fight losing streak.
- Fagan left out the most amazing Garcia/Phan Fight Metric stat in his earlier analysis. Garcia landed 9 power shots to the head out of 130 thrown. That's an incredible lack of accuracy.
- Melvin Guillard was not a mature fighter last night. He was flying around trying to do something spectacular and Lauzon just stayed composed, threw some simple punches, connected on a bit of a looping hook from an awkward position and dropped Melvin. Once it hit the ground Melvin was unable to balance recovering with defending and got subbed with quickness.
- Jorge Santiago needs to be used at a lower level. Just treat him like they do with Leonard Garcia if they're going to keep him around and stick him in fights that are likely to be decided in a stand-up battle.
- Anthony Pettis and Jeremy Stephens fought a smart fight. That ended up being a disappointing thing as I think everyone was hoping for a dynamic and exciting stand-up battle. It wasn't that it was a bad fight, it just didn't deliver exactly what we (or at least I) wanted. Is that unfair? Probably.
- I really, really did not enjoy the Joey Beltran/Stipe Miocic fight. I just don't enjoy Beltran fights but I think the UFC loves him so I don't expect him to get cut.