Frankie Edgar proved himself every bit as tough as his billing tonight as he survived a very rocky first two rounds against Jose Aldo at UFC 156. Aldo appeared to have the fight well under control after two rounds, landing brilliantly timed counters and appearing to have Edgar on the verge of being stopped due to heavy leg kicks.
Edgar survived those rounds and started to compete in round three, using the threat of takedowns to get Aldo to stop working the leg kicks. Round four was, by far, his best round of the fight as Aldo wasn't able to get much done while Edgar's pressure and combination punching served him well. He carried that into round five where Aldo continued to have to work hard to get anything done.
I personally scored the fight 49-46 as I felt Aldo won the first three rounds and gave him round five as well. While Joe Rogan seemed to think Edgar "clearly" won the final round, I thought Aldo's strikes were landing much harder and that he took the round.
But both men proved themselves among the most elite men in the fight game with gutsy and capable performances start to finish.
Let's run though other notes from the night's action:
- I don't really see the point of a rematch. It wasn't a "controversial" fight. Most media scores had Aldo winning, there were a few Edgar cards, but I don't think there is a reason to run this one back. It was a good fight but at this point it would feel like every fight Edgar is in needs to have a rematch. Still, it was a great main event for a (mostly) great night of fights.
- I'm a big Rashad Evans fan, so I'm brutally disappointed in the "performance" he put on tonight. I'm not sure how he expected to win without actually doing anything. I think he could have won that fight on the feet or with his wrestling but he didn't really try to do either and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira was able to use really basic boxing to take the win.
- It felt a lot like Alistair Overeem "had it coming" tonight. His attitude from the time he walked to the cage until the start of the third round against Antonio Silva was one of flat-out disrespect. He basically wanted to clown and keep his hands low. It was playing with fire considering Overeem can be a little chinny. He got a wake-up call at the end of the second round, getting buzzed by Silva, but Bigfoot came out in the third ready to go all out. And when he hit Overeem he threw a flurry that just felt like there was no way Overeem could withstand. And he didn't as he crumpled to the mat moments later.
- As for what you do with the heavyweight division now? I guess Dos Santos vs. Velasquez III.
- Demian Maia just dominated Jon Fitch. I didn't find it all that fun of a watch and spent more time debating 10-9 vs. 10-8 rounds (judges are taught that dominant control isn't enough, needs to be "impact" as well) than anything. But 10-8 or 10-9 doesn't really matter when you totally shut the other guy out anyway.
- Joseph Benavidez looked great against Ian McCall who...also looked great. I could watch these guys fight any day of the week. In fact, while I had my reservations about the 125 pound division being ready for the UFC, it's providing some truly great fights...at least among the top four extremely talented men.
- Evan Dunham is too good of a fighter to constantly give away the first round of his fights. It puts him in such a bad position in terms of not having any room for mistakes going forward. It almost cost him tonight with one judge seeing the fight for Glieson Tibau. Dunham won, but he has to put together 15 complete minutes of top effort.
- Tyron Woodley, right? It's not exactly the kind of performance I expect out of him going forward, but that was quite the statement. He blitzed Jay Hieron, a guy with a skillset that should have made things very hard on him and finished him in under a minute. That was a statement win if I've ever seen one.
- Bobby Green was quite the pleasant surprise. Jacob Volkmann was kind of a nightmare match-up for him on paper, but Green just survived for a round before starting to take over and then absolutely taking over the final round and getting the finish.
- I should stop participating in the staff predictions. This crap is hard. I'll gladly trade getting picks right for enjoying a fantastic night of fights though.