Aug 30, 2010

UFC 118: The Aftermath

In the co-main event of the evening, UFC Hall Of Famer Randy "The Natural" Couture fought (and I use that term loosely) James "Lights Out" Toney. This match-up was supposed to be boxing versus MMA but Toney had no business in the cage with Couture or any other mixed martial artist. I'd even pick most bantam weights to defeat him in a fight.

He started the fight in his usual boxer’s stance (a huge no no) and you could immediately tell he had no idea what he’d gotten himself into. Randy proceeded to shoot in for a successful takedown, punching Toney in the face for a couple of minutes before finally deciding to choke him out with an arm triangle. This fight had no business being put on and was a complete joke and waste of time. Many of the hardcore fans speak of freak show fights outside of the UFC with much disdain, but could they give any explanation as to what this was?

Now onto a real fight, the main event of the evening: "The Prodigy" B.J. Penn versus Frankie "The Answer" Edgar for the UFC Lightweight Championship. This was a rematch of their hotly contested fight from earlier this year where Edgar defeated Penn in a very controversial split decision. Saturday was supposed to be the return of the king to his throne; however, someone just forgot to tell Edgar.

Frankie Edgar put on a clinic of true MMA to retain his championship in lieu of a unanimous decision. There was no question he dominated the fight from start to finish. Watching him move in and out of Penn's range was masterful. Penn had no answer for "The Answer". Edgar did a great job of making Penn react to his movement the entire fight. Every round was pretty much the same - - Edgar would move in at different angles, attack Penn, then move out at a different angle all before Penn could even touch him. Being a B.J. Penn fan, it was very hard to watch and admit that Edgar just took it to him completely. I had Penn only taking one round, and that was being extremely generous. Hell, I gave it to him because he's freaking B.J. Penn!

There is no disputing that Edgar had Penn's number and there's nothing wrong with that. Some guys just tend to have a certain skill set that trumps another guy no matter how great he is. I know there's a lot of disappointed Penn fans, but rest assured he'll be back.

Something I found particularly disturbing was Penn's corner men giving him terrible advice during the fight. After each round, they were being too calm and not showing any kind of urgency about Penn losing round after round. Even at the end of the fourth round they didn't seem to think he was losing the fight. This is why corner men need to be completely objective and honest about what they're seeing as opposed to giving their fighter false information. It was pretty obvious that Penn needed to finish Edgar to take the title in the fifth round, but that message was never relayed to him. His corner spoke to him as if he had five more rounds to go. I've seen a disturbing trend with corner men not giving correct information to their fighter in order to help them succeed. I'll touch on this topic further in a future post.

- Julian Arnold, Sport's Contributor for Six Twenty Seven

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