Frankie Edgar is still an elite fighter. This shouldn't surprise many, but it will apparently surprise some. A portion of fans and media came into UFC Fight Night 57 believing that Cub Swanson was going to beat Edgar, but it was not to be. After a semi-close first round, Edgar completely dominated the next four and was well on his way to a shutout on the scorecards. Instead, he went for submission after submission in a valiant attempt to get the finish. And that he did.
With just four seconds left in the fight.
It's hard to explain just how dominant Edgar was. His takedowns were on point. His ground and pound looked excellent. He mounted a black belt multiple times. And he eventually submitted one as well. When Edgar dominated B.J. Penn, people downplayed it because Penn was shot. Well, Swanson came into this fight at the highest point of his career, and Edgar put him down without much trouble. Will it get him a second shot at Jose Aldo? I don't know. But I think he should definitely be in the conversation.
- What the hell was Bobby Green thinking? His gameplan was terrible. He didn't put any pressure on Edson Barboza, and just sat on the outside eating shots. I don't know if he figured that wagging his finger or brushing his shoulder off was going to influence a judge, but you'd think he might have stopped doing that when Barboza nearly brushed his head off of his shoulders with a spinning wheel kick. Nope. He continued to do it for the rest of the fight. It was target practice for a fearsome striker, and he made the most of it.
- Green did do one cool thing though - he came out to The Brood's WWE music. I still have that on my phone because it's awesome.
- The flyweight bout between Chico Camus and Brad Pickett was a bit weird. Camus was doing his best Dominick Cruz impression but was getting clipped a fair amount on counters. The first and third rounds were close and it looked like Camus won the second. It honestly could have gone either way, and the split decision (if not necessarily the scores) reflected that. The media was pretty split on it as well.
- Oleksiy Oliynyk slept Jared Rosholt. That was nasty.
- Dustin Ortiz is a very, very tough individual. He took Joseph Benavidez's best shots and just kept coming forward like a cyborg (not that Cyborg - or the other one). But Joe B. is just way too talented and he controlled the entire fight. His striking looked good (although I thought he hurt his left arm or hand in the second round), and his scrambling is just insane. Is there anyone better on the ground at 125 than Benavidez? I can't think of a candidate. It's too bad he's title purgatory in the division.
- Matt Wiman and Isaac Vallie-Flagg engaged in a nice battle of attrition. Wiman didn't look like he's lost a lot despite the long layoff, but he was overpowered by IVF. Honestly, if IVF had just kept it standing he may well have won the fight. But Wiman was able to counter or reverse all of his takedown attempts and got a few good submission attempts out of it. That was enough to win the fight.
- Ruslan Magomedov has a nasty kicking game for a heavyweight. Josh Copeland wasn't ever really in the fight except for one nice combo in the third. And he was jiggly. Very jiggly.
- Roger Narvaez and Luke Barnatt engaged in a slow, plodding fight for the first two rounds before Narvaez turned it up in the third and nearly finished the British fighter. I like how Barnatt was managing to get his fingers inside Narvaez's arm to relieve the pressure on the choke and eventually escaping though. The most entertaining part of the whole thing was Narvaez continually spinning around while doing the post-fight interview. Jon Anik did not look amused.
- James Vick is like a lightweight Stefan Struve - he certainly doesn't do a great job of fighting tall. Getting dropped twice by a guy you have a 10-inch reach advantage over isn't a good thing, even if you win the fight. I still don't have a clue how TWO judges gave Vick the first round either. That was ridiculous.
- I'm not the type of guy to tell people when it's time to retire. Only they can make that decision. With that being said though, Yves Edwards can't hang in the UFC any more. They gave him a bottom-level lightweight in hopes of an exciting fight, and he got dominated again. Akbarh Arreola deserves props from a great performance, but it still made me sad. Thanks for the memories, Yves.
- The two Fight Pass bouts were both entertaining. Doo Ho Choi made a big splash in his debut with an 18-second thrashing of Juan Manuel Puig, while Paige VanZant overcame a tough challenge in Kailin Curran to pick up a third-round TKO victory. VanZant's aggression and fire could make her a player at strawweight, but she needs a bit more experience. Some of the top ladies would definitely do a better job of taking advantage of VanZant's flaws than Curran did tonight.