UFC 136: Edgar vs. Maynard III – Preview & Guest Panel Picks
This weekend the UFC pays a visit to Houston, Texas with another UFC Fan Expo and the third installment of Frankie Edgar versus Gray Maynard for the UFC lightweight title. The co-main event features another championship bout as Jose Aldo looks to defend his UFC featherweight belt against Kenny “Ken-Flo” Florian.
The main card also features a number one contender match-up at middleweight as Chael Sonnen returns from out-of-the cage problems to face the All-American Brian Stann to decide who will face Anderson Silva next. Nam Phan and Leonard Garcia will be looking to match or exceed their first meeting that resulted in a “Fight of the Night” performance that Garcia won with a controversial decision. The pay-per-view portion of the card kicks off with PunchDrunkGamer sponsored fighter Joe Lauzon taking on hard hitting Melvin Guillard.
As usual with recent UFC events, Spike TV will be airing two fights live and the rest of the preliminary fights will air live on the UFC Facebook page. Spike TV will be featuring Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt Demian Maia versus former Sengoku champion Jorge Santiago and former WEC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis facing three-time “Knockout of the Night” winner Jeremy Stephens.
On the Facebook portion of the card, Joey “The Mexicutioner” Beltran takes on UFC newcomer Stipe Miocic and Darren Elkins will be matched up against “The Mongolian Wolf” Tiequan Zhang. Kicking off the night for UFC 136 will be two middleweight contests featuring Eric Schafer versus Aaron Simpson and Steve Cantwell against Mike Massenzio.
Frankie Edgar (13-1-1) vs. Gray Maynard (10-0-1, 1 NC)
UFC Lightweight Championship
This will be the third time these two fighters have squared off and fans will be hoping for a repeat of their last fight with one exception, a winner declared either in the Octagon or by the judges. Gray Maynard won the first match-up at UFC Fight Night 13 with a unanimous decision and their second fight at UFC 125 ended in a draw after furious back and forth fight that tested the wills of both fighters.
Frank Edgar made an immediate splash in the UFC. Joining the promotion with a perfect 5-0 record, including wins over Jim Miller and Deividas Taurosevicius, Edgar has evolved into the promotion’s undisputed champion.
Edgar made his UFC debut against previously-undefeated Tyson Griffin, fighting in a close fight of the year candidate bout where he took a unanimous decision – although he nearly finished Griffin with a nasty kneebar. Edgar then was able to stop Mark Bocek by TKO before outpointing Spencer Fisher. Edgar was then matched up with Gray Maynard for the first time, who handed him his first professional loss. Maynard, a larger, better grappler, was able to secure several takedowns to control Edgar for a decision.
Edgar rebounded from the loss by outpointing former WEC champion Hermes Franca and former UFC champion Sean Sherk. After securing a fight-ending rear naked choke against Matt Veach, Edgar was offered a title shot against B.J. Penn. Edgar used superior movement to outpoint Penn on the feet to win a close decision. The two rematched immediately and Edgar once again outpointed Penn, although this time much more decisively.
UFC Record: 8-1-1 (1 TKO, 1 Sub)
Strengths: Good boxing, speed, wrestling
Key Wins: B.J. Penn (2), Sean Sherk, Hermes Franca, Tyson Griffin, Matt Veach, Mark Bocek, Jim Miller, Spencer Fisher, Deividas Taurosevicius
Notable Loss: Gray Maynard
Gray Maynard first appeared in the mainstream on season five of The Ultimate Fighter. Joining the cast, Maynard entered with a 2-0 record. Despite being eliminated during the show, Maynard appeared at the show’s finale in an odd bout.
Facing Rob Emerson, Maynard secured a slam – further injuring Emerson’s ribs. Emerson tapped out, but it was revealed that the slam also knocked out Maynard, resulting in a no contest. Maynard rebounded with a nine second knockout against Joe Veres before stringing together one-sided decisions against Dennis Siver, Frankie Edgar, and Rich Clementi.
Maynard’s boxing has continued to improve, but he has stuck to his roots and utilized his wrestling to notch a win over Jim Miller. Maynard then edged out split decisions over Roger Huerta and Nate Diaz, before earning a unanimous decision over Kenny Florian at UFC 118.
UFC Record: 8-0-1, 1 NC (1 TKO)
Strengths: Great wrestling, good boxing, physically powerful
Weaknesses: Questionable cardio
Key Wins: Frankie Edgar, Kenny Florian, Jim Miller, Dennis Siver, Rich Clementi, Roger Huerta, Nate Diaz
Notable Losses: None
UFC 136: Edgar vs. Maynard III – Main Event Guest Panel Picks:
Jesse Finney (6-1 MMA Record, Owner of Finney’s H.I.T. Squad Gym) – “I think it is going to be a great fight just like the other two but I have to say I think Gray will KO Frankie in this fight in either the 3rd or 4th round.”
Eddie Alvarez (22-2, Bellator FC Lightweight Champion) – “My prediction is that Frankie whoops his ass every round this time!”
Scott Casber (Takedown Wrestling Radio) – “My God this is a hard one. Both guys want this thing and it may be one of the best builds toward a rubber match in the history of the UFC. Frankie has some incredible hand speed and in the past has proven that he can be rocked and come back and score in some rounds. Maynard has the heart of a lion. Leading as simple a life as he does, Maynard cannot help but be focused. If I were a betting man I would NOT bet on this fight. I see it going the distance with no clear cut winner. Judges beware – no matter how you call it you will receive the wrath of the fighting public. In advance, Special thanks to both Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard for what promises to be a very exciting and thrilling fight. Want proof? Just look at the last 2 times these warriors met. Sitting on the fence for this one!”
Paul “The Gentleman” Bradley (18-3, Strikeforce & UFC Vet) – “I’m going to go with Gray on this one. I think he will come out with a great game plan and if and when he does hurt him I think he will choose his shots. I expect it will be Gray Maynard by decision.”
Ricky Lundell (Head Instructor University of Grappling in Utah) – “I think Frankie Edgar is going to win this fight. His cardio and ability to come back in his last bout proves he has the heart of a champion, and I think that he has the skills to beat Maynard.”
Shayna “The Queen of Spades” Baszler (14-6, FCF Women’s Bantamweight Grand Prix Champion) – “Frankie got caught early the last time and it’s the only reason he lost. He made the adjustment during the fight, and I think he will continue right where he left off this time. Another great fight, but I think Frankie wins the decision this time.”
Ryan Couture (3-1 MMA Record, Son of UFC Hall of Famer) – “I’m a bit biased since we’re teammates, but I thought Gray won the last fight and don’t see any reason he won’t do the same, hopefully by stoppage, this time around.”
Jose Aldo (19-1) vs. Kenny Florian (15-5)
UFC Featherweight Championship
Jose Aldo quickly rose as the world’s number one lightweight during his two year run in the WEC. Winning each of his eight bouts in the promotion, Aldo is currently on a twelve-fight win streak, losing for the only time in his career in 2005.
In his WEC debut, Aldo stopped highly-regarded Alexandre Franca Nogueira by TKO in the second round. He then scored highlight reel stoppages over The Ultimate Fighter winner Jonathan Brookins, Rolando Perez, and Chris Mickle before getting a notable bout against Cub Swanson at WEC 41. Aldo made short work of Swanson, landing a double-flying knee attack and ending the bout in eight seconds.
Aldo then stopped Mike Brown with ground and pound in the second round to claim the promotion’s featherweight title. In his first title defense he out-pointed former champion Urijah Faber in a one-sided five round decision. In his final appearance in the WEC, Aldo knocked out Manny Gamburyan ninety-two seconds into the second round. After the UFC took over the WEC, Aldo made his UFC debut with a “Fight of the Night” performance when he defeated Mark Hominick by unanimous decision.
WEC/UFC Record: 9-0 (7 TKO)
Strengths: Great Muay Thai, Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, speed
Weaknesses: Sometimes wrecklessly aggressive
Key Wins: Urijah Faber, Manny Gamburyan, Mike Brown, Jonathan Brookins, Chris Mickel, Mark Hominick, Alexandre Franca Nogueira
Notable Loss: Luciano Azevedo
Kenny Florian helped push the UFC and mixed martial arts into the mainstream with his appearance on the first season of The Ultimate Fighter. He joined the Spike TV-based reality show with a professional record of 2-1, having lost to UFC veteran Drew Fickett, but was able to reach the finals as a middleweight. Despite losing to Diego Sanchez at the Finale, Florian has enjoyed success in the UFC ever since.
After losing to Sean Sherk in a lightweight championship bout, Florian put together one of the most impressive win streaks in the sport. First he submitted Japan’s Dokonjonosuke Mishima, then stopped Alvin Robinson inside the first round. After a first round submission against Din Thomas, Florian dominated Joe Lauzon en route to a second round TKO stoppage.
After a decision against Roger Huerta and a first round submission against Joe Stevenson, Florian challenged B.J. Penn in his second UFC title bid, but fell short losing by submission in the fourth round. Since the loss he has gone 3-1, submitting former Strikeforce champion Clay Guida and former PRIDE champion Takanori Gomi each with rear naked chokes but then losing to Gray Maynard and then rebounding with a unanimous decision victory in his featherweight debut against Diego Nunes.
UFC Record: 12-4 (2 TKO, 8 Sub)
Strengths: Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, good Muay Thai, great conditioning
Weaknesses: Struggles most when he doesn’t press the action
Key Wins: Joe Stevenson, Takanori Gomi, Clay Guida, Din Thomas, Joe Lauzon, Dokonjonosuke Mishima, Alvin Robinson, Alex Karalexis, Roger Huerta, Sam Stout
Notable Losses: B.J. Penn, Sean Sherk, Drew Fickett, Diego Sanchez, Gray Maynard
Bonus Guest Panel Pick:
Ricky Lundell (Head Instructor University of Grappling in Utah) – “I was just with Kenny Florian in Boston and his game plan for Aldo is in full effect. I think that he has the skills in all areas to beat the champion at 145 and will be crowned the new UFC Champion this weekend.”
UFC 136: Edgar vs. Maynard III – Fight Card
Main Card (PPV):
Frankie Edgar vs. Gray Maynard (UFC Lightweight Championship)
Jose Aldo vs. Kenny Florian (UFC Featherweight Championship)
Chael Sonnen vs. Brian Stann
Leonard Garcia vs. Nam Phan
Melvin Guillard vs. Joe Lauzon
Preliminary Card (Spike TV):
Demian Maia vs. Jorge Santiago
Anthony Pettis vs. Jeremy Stephens (PDG’s Match-Up Of The Night)
Preliminary Card (UFC Facebook):
Joey Beltran vs. Stipe Miocic
Darren Elkins vs. Tiequan Zhang
Eric Schafer vs. Aaron Simpson
Steve Cantwell vs. Mike Massenzio