Photo by Esther Lin for MMAFighting.com
"Super" Saturday (Feb. 2, 2013) in "Sin City" can best be described as upsetting, with two huge names falling on the UFC 156 pay-per-view (PPV) main card, shaking up two divisions and dashing the possibility -- at least for now -- of another "super" fight in the near future. And then there was the "super" main event, which definitely did not disappoint.
Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) last night (Feb. 2, 2013) staged its first major pay-per-view (PPV) mixed martial arts (MMA) event, UFC 156: "Aldo vs. Edgar," from the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.
It was a "super" main event on "super" Saturday before the Super Bowl (no parenthesis required), pitting reigning Featherweight champion Jose Aldo against former Lightweight title-winner Frankie Edgar, who was making his 145-pound debut inside the Octagon.
And what Edgar fight would be complete without a late surge that ends up turning into a case of too little, too late in the view of the ringside judges.
"The Answer" absorbed Aldo's lethal leg kicks early; however, it did little to slow down his incessant movement. "Scarface" countered with a stiff jab that snapped back Edgar's head like a speed bag and the dynamic striking that has turned him into one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the sport.
Aldo, who stopped his leg attacks midway through the fight because of the threat of takedowns, which were few and far between despite Edgar trying like hell to get them, began to slow a bit after the third round. Edgar, his face swollen and bloody from the Brazilian's precision counter striking, meanwhile, kept the pedal to the floor, demonstrating once again that he is probably the toughest dude in the sport.
Edgar would have a few bright moments as the fight drew to a close, but he had once again dug himself a deep hole early from which he could climb out. He has now lost three straight title fights by the slimmest of margins, while Aldo has won seven in a row, including his run with World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC).
And just when it appeared Aldo had cleaned out the division, Dana White revealed at the UFC 156 post-fight press conference (watch it here) that No. 1 Lightweight contender Anthony Pettis is up for the Aldo challenge (more on that here).
Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake baker's man; catch me a jab as fast as you can ...
If the fight between Demain Maia and Jon Fitch was a technical ground battle (more on that below), the 205-pound showdown between Rashad Evans and Antonio Rogerio Noguiera was its stand up equivalent. Well, maybe not. In fact, that's probably being way too complimentary.
"Suga" and "Lil' Nog" stood toe-to-toe for essentially 15 minutes, pawing and catching jabs. Evans -- a former Light Heavyweight champion -- had no sense of urgency whatsoever, nor did he aggressively attempt to get the fight to the floor and, at a minimum, score points with the judges.
Paw-paw, snore, paw-paw snore ....
It was a baffling performance because Evans would have most likely had major success on the ground with Nogueira had he elected to try and take it there like Phil Davis, Ryan Bader and even Jason Brilz before him. Instead, he was content to shadow box with the Brazilian, wait for the homerun hit, which never came, and take his chances with the judges.
What an utter disaster ... what was he doing?!?!?!
"Demolition Man" returned to the Octagon after a nine-month layoff because he was suspended for using banned performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs). He was still massive looking, but definitely not as chiseled like he was when he scored a technical knockout over Brock Lesnar in Dec. 2011.
Although, I'm not sure more muscle would have really made a difference.
Overeem started the match with a smile, patting his cheeks and suggesting that "Bigfoot" give him his best shot. The former K-1 kickboxing champion clearly didn't think Silva had the striking chops to hang on the feet, and for all intents and purposes, it's not really an area most Heavyweight fighters would hold an advantage over "The Reem."
Oh, the foreshadowing.
With two rounds in the bag, the second of which was spent significantly on the ground with Overeem on top, the third and final frame was the one that would determine the winner. "Bigfoot" -- who landed a nice, clean shot as round two came to a close -- was seemingly behind on the scorecards and needed a knockdown or a finish to register the come-from-behind victory.
And then it happened.
Overeem, who apparently disrespected Silva before the fight and continued to do so during it with his taunts, got lazy with his hands and "Bigfoot" planted his powerful paw square on his chin. It hurt Overeem, who retreated back to the cage to try and clear the cobwebs; however, Silva didn't give him anytime to recuperate, landing two thunderous shots that Overeem either couldn't or was unable to defend.
"Bigfoot" then delivered the coup de grace, an amazing combination of savage punches that put Overeem asleep on his feet and then down for the count (watch it here). Silva was rabid, attempting to return to Overeem's lifeless spot on the canvas to deliver a passionate Portuguese message.
Coming of his winning "Fight of the Night" performance against Erick Silva, Jon Fitch was looking to string together consecutive victories for the first time in more than two years at the expense of Brazilian jiu-jitsu whiz Demian Maia.
Grinder, meet the grind.
Maia made it clear from the opening bell that he was going to do what he does best, rushing the former No. 1 Welterweight contender, wrapping up a double-leg takedown and dumping him on the canvas almost immediately. He then clung to Fitch like a baby orangutan, angling to find a free spot around his neck so that he could do what no other man has been able to do inside the Octagon, which is force the American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) star to tap.
He couldn't despite his best -- and repeated -- efforts.
It's fair to say that Maia spent at least 12 minutes (of 15) draped on Fitch's back; however, he was unable to secure anything even remotely threatening. That, of course, probably has more to do with Fitch's legendary submission defense rather than some kind of flaw in Maia's tight grappling game.
The human chess match was not terribly exciting to watch. It was, however, interesting watch Fitch get "Fitched" -- he was completely overwhelmed, neutralized and left shaking his head in utter frustration as the bout came to a conclusion. Maia flipped the script, reversed roles and, in doing so, kept his perfect (3-0) 170-pound record intact.
Don't hate the new divisional playa,' hate the guys who can't deal with his dominant and dangerous pressure.
With the upper echelon of the Flyweight ranks bare, the match up between top divisional players Ian McCall and Joseph Benavidez, which opened up the PPV action, had significant title implications on the line.
Both 125-pound men have competed against division champion Demetrious Johnson (McCall twice) and both have come up short. This outcome would likely determine who would earn the opportunity to try again in the near future.
And it was Benavidez.
The Team Alpha Male-trained miniature pinscher beat "Uncle Creepy" to the punch almost every time. He was quicker, sharper and more unpredictable, catching McCall with a few solid shots that most likely would have spelled disaster for lesser men.
McCall had a nice second round, which featured some decent ground-and-pound fron the top position, which was achieved thanks to a Benavidez slip. Benavidez made a mistake and McCall made him pay; however, it was a drop in the bucket in the grand scheme of things as, once again, McCall left a relatively close fight in the hands of the judges.
As a result, McCall is still looking for that first elusive win inside the Octagon, as Benavidez inches closer to getting another crack at "Mighty Mouse.
That's enough from us. Now it's your turn to discuss UFC 156: "Aldo vs. Edgar" in the comments section below.
Did Edgar get screwed (again) by the judges? Who should Aldo fight next? Was something wrong with Evans? Is "Bigfoot" a championship-caliber fighter? How close is Maia to a title shot? Is Benavidez ready for a championship rematch less than five months removed from dropping a split decision to Demetrious Johnson ?
Let's hear it, Maniacs.
Be sure to also check out our complete UFC 156 blow-by-blow coverage of the entire "Aldo vs. Edgar" event right here. And for a detailed recap of the UFC 156 "Prelims" bouts on Facebook/FX click here.