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Silva retains title; Edgar upsets Penn

Report by Anthony Springer, Jr.
Photos courtesy of Josh Hedges, UFC

It’s not often that “Anderson Silva” and “embarrassed” find themselves in the same sentence.

But after last night’s performance, that’s exactly how UFC president Dana White described the bout. In his eleventh straight Octagon victory, Anderson Silva (26-4) retained his middle weight title in a lackluster decision win over Brazilian jiu-jitsu phenom Demian Maia (12-2).

To say the fight was a showstopper, is simply an understatement.

From the outset, Silva showed no respect for Maia’s ground game, or his less than stellar striking skills. Silva taunted Maia over the course of the first two stanzas, dropping his hands and daring Maia to engage. When the challenger got close, the champion responded with a long jab.

Maia was clearly outclassed and overmatched from the beginning, but what happened over the course of the bout was simply bizarre. Silva danced, posed and slapped the Octagon mat in between bloodying Maia’s face with punches and bruising his body with kicks.

And then the action just stopped.

Silva seemed to mentally check out midway thru the third frame. Maia went on the attack throwing a series of haymakers in a desperate attempt to pull out the upset victory. The crowd, displeased by the main event they paid to see, began chants of “G-S-P,” a reference to current welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre who sat Octagonside during the bout.

The bout took another bizarre turn for the worst in the final round. After Silva refused to engage, referee Dan Miragliotta threatened the champion with a point deduction. Silva was spared the penalty, but could not escape the wrath of the Abu Dhabi fans. With boos raining down on the outdoor arena like a hail storm, Silva and Maia retreated to their respective corners before Michael Buffer announced Silva the winner—a decision that surprised no one and enraged fans.

Silva apologized to the fans after the bout.  "I apologize to everybody; I don't know what got into me,” he said.

After three straight uneventful title defenses, the apology may not be accepted.

Edgar finds “The Answer,” upsets “The Prodigy”

Frank “The Answer” Edgar (12-1) pulled off the upset of the year, snaring the lightweight title from BJ “The Prodigy” Penn (15-6-1) in a nail biting unanimous decision victory.

To understand how major the Edgar win is, one must paraphrase Roy Jones: Penn makes his opponents look like nobodies, amateurs even. His victim list included a who’s who in the light weight division, including Sean Sherk, Kenny Florian, and Diego Sanchez.

Edgar was a 7-to-1 underdog going into the fight.

From bell-to-bell, Edgar fought the fight he wanted. He took advantage of his speed and striking skills, moving in and out while exchanging with Penn. Despite being known for heavy hands, Edgar emerged from the five round war with little more than some bruises, a far cry from the mangled faces of Sanchez and Sherk. In a surprise, it was Penn who visibly looked like he had been in the fight. The former champion was cut over the right eye and had a mouse over each.

The surprise in the bout came in the form of two Edgar takedowns. The first saw Penn spring immediately back to his feet, while the second saw Edgar land in Penn’s full guard.

Outside of the takedowns, the New Jersey fighter seemed to fight better as the fight wore on, while Penn slowed considerably. With many believing the fight might be all even going into the final frame, Edgar secured the final takedown, and out struck Penn on the feet.

The judges scored the bout 50-45, 48-47, and 49-46.

Patience, consistency help Hughes defeat Gracie

The battle of MMA legends saw Matt Hughes (44-7) claim his second victory over the Gracie family in his storied MMA career. After watching his cousin fall to Hughes at UFC 60, Renzo Gracie (13-7-1) vowed to avenge the family name against the former welterweight champion. Though Gracie fell short, he put on a far better showing than his kin.

However, in the end, it wasn’t enough.

With both fighters known for their ground games, the battle largely took place on the feet. The first round watched both men feel each other out, but the tone was set early for Hughes’ win. Unable to land many clean punches, Hughes found a home for his leg kicks. Gracie was either unable or unwilling to check the kicks and paid for the lack of defense.

By round three, Gracie’s left leg was turned to rubber. With no legs, Gracie’s punches were slower and weaker and Hughes took advantage. Late in the final round, Gracie could barely stand, let alone walk. Hughes dropped Gracie with several more kicks and began to pepper the Brazilian with jabs. One final flurry later caused Herb Dean to rush in to save the near defenseless Gracie.

Dos Anjos and Munoz earn impressive wins

Rafael dos Anjos (14-4) ended Terry Etim’s (14-3) four fight UFC win streak with an arm bar at 4:30 in the second round. Dos Anjos weathered a tight guillotine choke from Etim, weathering a one minute storm to claim a top position that set the tone for the rest of the fight. When the bout hit the ground in the second round, dos Anjos showcased his ground game, sinking in a tight arm bar as time nearly ticked to a close. Etim attempted to roll out of the arm bar, but couldn’t escape the grip and was forced to tap. The win was dos Anjos’ third straight in the UFC.

Mark Munoz (8-1) earned a first round victory over Ultimate Fighter winner Kendall Grove (11-4). In the early going, it looked like Grove would steal the bout after rocking the former light heavyweight with an uppercut. Munoz quickly recovered and took advantage of a Grove mistake to end up in a dominant top position. From there, it was all she wrote for Grove who was hit with some big shots by the former college wrestling standout. When Grove stopped defending himself, the referee was forced to halt the bout.

Undercard

Phil Davis (6-0) remained undefeated, besting Alexander Gustafsson (9-1) with an anaconda choke at 4:55 of the opening round.

Rick Story (10-3) defeated Nick Osipczak (5-1) via razor thin split decision. The judges scored the bout 29-28, 28-29, 29-28

Ultimate Fighter alum DaMarques Johnson (11-7) downed “Bad” Brad Blackburn (15-11-1) via TKO due to strikes at 2:08 in the third round.

Paul Kelly (10-2) used a guillotine choke to down Matt Veach (11-2) at 3:41 in the second round.

Jon Madsen defeated Mostapha Al-Turk via unanimous decision. All three judges scored the contest 29-28. The loss was Al-Turk’s third in the UFC.

 

 


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