Archive for January, 2010

Maynard or Edgar?

January 12th, 2010
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Gray Maynard got the win over Nate Diaz in the main event of UFC Fight Night last night in Fairfax, Va., to remain undefeated in the lightweight division.

But was it impressive enough to earn a title shot against champion BJ Penn?

Maynard and Frank Edgar are the two candidates to fight Penn for the title in Abu Dhabi in April, but 1) are they deserving and 2) do they stand a chance?

Maynard is 7-0 at lightweight in the UFC with one no contest. That no contest was against Rob Emerson in the Ultimate Fighter 5 Finale (where Penn submitted Jens Pulver), when both men were knocked out on a slam attempt. But other than a knockout against relative unknown Joe Veres, Maynard has won each of his last six fights by decision, and the last two were a split.

Edgar, who lost to Maynard in one of those fights by decision, is 6-1 at lightweight, and also has four decision victories. But when you compare the competition, Edgar has beaten former champion Sean Sherk, Hermes Franca, Spencer Fisher and Tyson Griffin. Maynard’s victories include Diaz, Roger Huerta, Rich Clementi, Jim Miller and Dennis Siver.

Neither man has defeated Kenny Florian, who I believe is the clear number two in the lightweight division, Joe Stevenson or Clay Guida, all guys that I would put near the top of the lightweight division.

Which brings us to the problem of what to do for Penn’s next fight. I don’t think either Edgar or Maynard are ready, and fights for them against at least one of the three previously mentioned guys are fights that I think need to happen before they should fight for a title.

So what does that leave Penn? If he’s ready to put on the weight, which I believe he is, then I think it’s time to put him in the cage at 170 against a middle-tier welterweight. Let’s not have him jump right back up to 170 to fight St-Pierre. Let’s make him earn his way to the top with a good 2-3 victories first at that division.

Everyone knows I think Hawaii is the perfect place for the rubber fight between Penn and Matt Hughes, so that’s why for UFC 112 in Abu Dhabi, I think a Penn vs. Josh Koscheck matchup is the way to go. Koscheck is 12-4 in the UFC and coming off wins over Frank Trigg and Anthony Johnson. His last fight was in November, he has no problems with fighting often (four fights in both 2006 and 2009), and his style matches up well with Penn.

It’s a big enough fight where a Penn victory would mean something. Follow that up with a win over Hughes and a win over whoever comes out of the Maynard/Edgar/Florian/Guida/Stevenson group at lightweight at the end of the year, and heading into 2011, the stage would be set for Penn/St-Pierre 3, maybe even as early as Super Bowl weekend, exactly two years after Penn/St-Pierre 2.

Henderson unifies WEC title

January 11th, 2010
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I know some of you have been clamoring for me to cover more WEC stuff, and the honest reason I really haven’t been is the fact that I have DIRECTV and DIRECTV does not have the Versus station (which is the channel that shows WEC fights).

With that said, the WEC had an entertaining card tonight with Ben Henderson submitting Jamie Varner in the third round to unify the WEC lightweight title in the main event.

Other winners last night included Urijah Faber, who submitted Raphael Assuncao in the third round and will likely get the next title shot against 145-pound champion Jose Aldo. Former champion Mike Brown also picked up a win, needing less than 2 minutes to submit Anthony Morrison.

Not getting VERSUS is going to haunt me even more as the UFC will be holding a live event on the channel that features a main event of Brandon Vera against Jon Jones. Maybe then enough people will make enough noise to get VERSUS back on DIRECTV.

Don’t forget to check out SPIKETV tonight as the UFC holds a Fight Night card, featuring Gray Maynard against Nate Diaz in the main event. A solid performance from Maynard likely puts him in line as the man to get the next shot at BJ Penn’s lightweight title, possibly at UFC 112 in Abu Dhabi on April 10.

Posted in Fights | 9 Comments »

Lawler/Manhoef official, Penn in Abu Dhabi?

January 6th, 2010
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Former Icon Sport champion Robbie Lawler will climb back into the cage on Jan. 30 as a fight between him and Melvin Manhoef was made official by StrikeForce today.

Lawler vs. Manhoef is part of a StrikeForce event on Jan. 30 that will be shown on Showtime. Nick Diaz vs. Marius Zaromskis, a women’s title fight involving Cyborg Santos, and the StrikeForce debuts of Bobby Lashley and NFL great Herschel Walker are expected to round out the televised portion of the card.

Lawler and Manhoef are two of the more explosive strikers in the middleweight division and with neither guy focused on taking things to the ground, expect one of the best standup fights of the year. I don’t expect it to last past the first round.

Also, UFC lightweight champion B.J. Penn announced on his Web site today that he is expecting to fight in Abu Dhabi at UFC 112 on April 10. Nothing, including the event itself, has been made official yet. If Penn does fight on that card, his opponent will likely be decided by the outcome of Monday’s Gray Maynard/Nate Diaz fight that will main event a UFC Fight Night card on Spike TV.

If Maynard runs through Diaz, I’d anticipate him getting the title shot. But if Maynard loses, expect Frankie Edgar to get the next crack at Penn’s title.

Also fighting on the Fight Night card is Chris Leben (18-6), who will try to bounce back from two straight loses with a win over Jay Silva.