Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun
Published Saturday, Jan. 1, 2011 | 7 p.m.
Updated Saturday, Jan. 1, 2011 | 9:53 p.m.
Gray Maynard elevated his arms at the center of the octagon and waited to be crowned the new UFC lightweight champion. Frankie Edgar jumped on one of his teammate's backs, confident he would keep his belt and win his second straight title defense.
Neither were right. The judges declared UFC 125's Main Event a draw. Maynard won on one card, 48-46. Edgar won 48-46 on another and the final judge scored it 47-47.
Maynard and Edgar will have to meet again to crown a champion. The crowd booed the decision, but the outrage wasn't as vigilant as a normal draw. Most people in the building realized how even the battle was.
Maynard nearly finished Edgar in the first round, throwing 94 punches and disorienting the champion. Blood ran out of Edgar's nose and a knockout only seemed a moment away as Maynard pounded and pounded more.
But Edgar got up and survived. He looked refreshed the rest of the way and shook off a few smaller cuts. Edgar took the second and fourth round on every judge's card.
Maynard left the octagon shaking his head and Edgar looked similarly disappointed.
Frankie Edgar vs. Gray Maynard
Round Five The crowd lets out a loud roar to celebrate both fighters for making it this far in a championship bout. Round begins much like the last one ended, with Edgar and Maynard standing and not letting each other take an advantage. Edgar misses. Maynard misses. Edgar lands a combination. Maynard lands a combination. It's really been that methodical from the four minute mark to three minute mark. Maynard gets a knee into Edgar's face after he thwarts a takedown. Edgar takes some more shots from Maynard and now has another nasty bruise forming around his right eye. Maynard looks better for sure with still only the one minor cut. Edgar's nose is bleeding again and he throws a knee to Maynard's face with 30 seconds left. Maynard goes for a takedown, but Edgar isn't having it. With 10 seconds left, they both let loose and land a bunch of punches. Maynard and Edgar both raise their hands, thinking they will be the new lightweight champion. And Bruce Buffer's announcement reveals a draw. Both won one scorecard 48-46. But Buffer reads the third judge's decision as 47-47.
Round Four Edgar takes Maynard down right out of the gate and gets him in a guillotine choke. For a few seconds, Maynard looks like he's in trouble but he fights out of it. Edgar takes him down again and Maynard escapes. Back to standing and both fighters land a few punches without anything game-changing. Edgar drives Maynard into the cage with two minutes left, but can't get the takedown. With his back on the cage, Maynard lands some hooks and they are back in the middle within 30 seconds. The round finishes without much action. Should be interesting to see the scorecard, because each of the last two rounds could have gone either way.
Round Three The beginning of the third resembles the start of the fight with Edgar and Maynard both bouncing around with no real action. Edgar lands a kick, but Maynard is defending well against his jabs. Maynard goes for a takedown at the three minute mark, but Edgar slips away and throws in a nice shot to Maynard's head. Edgar slips again, but this time it was almost dangerous. It left him vulnerable, but Maynard can't take advantage. Maynard lands a combination and Edgar's nose is bleeding again for the first time since Round One. Maynard takes Edgar to the ground with 40 seconds left, but Edgar uses his wrestling background to gain control. Close round, but Edgar might have taken his second in a row.
Round Two Maynard kicks Edgar a couple times, but the champion has gotten some of his strength back after a disastrous first round. Edgar is hanging right with Maynard through two minutes and has probably landed a few more punches. Maynard is absolutely unscathed, though, and looks as good as new. Edgar lands a big left around the midway mark of the round and follows it with a couple kicks. Both are exchanging strikes and look to have no intention of bringing the fight to the ground. That is until 1:15 remains and Edgar slams Maynard with a memorable takedown. Maynard jumps back up, but Edgar has opened a cut below his eye. Edgar stifles a takedown attempt and lands a jab on the cut, clearly bouncing back to take the second round.
Round One Edgar starts things off with a few leg kicks, but the majority of the first minute is spent with both fighters feeling each other out. Maynard apparently didn't want to wait any longer. He lands a combination that sends Edgar to the ground and Maynard barreling after. Maynard goes off on Edgar landing numerous punches that can't be defended against. It lasts for almost a minute and bloodies Edgar's nose. Somehow, Edgar survives the barrage and pushes his way back up. He seems to be in good condition bouncing around, but it's not long before Maynard attacks again. Edgar takes another brutal beating and stumbles as he tries to retreat. Most fighters would have been gone after this round. But as the bell sounds, Edgar goes back to his corner. A second round will occur.
Chris Leben vs. Brian Stann
Round One A few interesting appearance notes: Chris Leben has once again dyed his hair bright red for the fight. And Brian Stann has a tattoo of the metal band Slipknot's logo on his back. Now that that's out of the way, the first two minutes have been evenly-matched. Stann takes over around the two minute mark by dropping Leben to the ground with a big shot. He doesn't take it easy when Leben gets there and hits him repeatedly. Leben gets back up, but Stann drops him again when he punches him right on the chin with Leben coming in. Stann dominates Leben until the official pulls him off. Stann pulls off a nice upset via first round knockout.
Brandon Vera vs. Thiago Silva
Round Three Vera knocks down Silva with a perfect right, but instead of attacking him on the ground he raises his hands and lets Silva up. He tries a leg kick to the head, but Silva catches it and gets Vera against the cage. Vera is winning when this fight revolves around striking. Problem is, that's happened for a total of about 20 seconds through 12 minutes. Silva has Vera back on the ground against the cage and is hitting him when he gets the chance. The boos are getting louder and the referee tells the fighters to get into action. Silva is in total control, but isn't really doing much with it at the 2-minute mark. Then, it all changed. Silva pounds Vera from behind with punches to both sides of his face for a solid 30 seconds and Vera puts his head down and looks hurt. Silva lets off the gas, but has probably done enough. Silva wins by unanimous decision.
Round Two Vera flies out and hits Silva with a punch and a knee. Silva is able to counter them and eventually takes Vera to the ground again. Vera has control of Silva's arms and elbows his head a few times. But Silva has hit Vera just as much and halfway through, this one appears dead even. The fans are starting to crave action and boo. Almost all of this fight has been spent on the ground. Silva breaks Vera's protection for a few seconds and punishes him with a combination of punches to the chin. For the second straight round, Vera is gritting his teeth and giving Silva more open shots as the round nears its end. Fans boo as the fighters go to their corners.
Round One The first minute is as even as can be with both landing a couple punches and knees. Silva excels at taking Vera to the mat, but Vera has no interest in letting him have an easy ground and pound opportunity. That's how Vera lost his last fight to Jon Jones and he said he worked on this situation more than anything in the lead-up to the fight. Silva hits Vera's body with punches every once in a while, but Vera is defending himself well. The real fireworks occur after the round. Silva dominates the final 30 seconds with some solid ground and pound and yells at Vera motioning for him to get up after the round. Vera bounces up and gets right in his face before the referee separates the two fighters. It was all Silva in the first.
Nate Diaz vs. Dong Hyun-Kim
Round Three Diaz comes out motivated with a kick and takes Kim to the ground for once. They pop right back up and grapple for a while before getting untied. Diaz locks up with Kim and throws two knees. The first lands cleanly but the second hits the top of Kim's head and the referee grants a time out. The crowd does not appreciate the decision and greets it with boos. Fight is back on and the fighters quickly find themselves back on the ground. Diaz works his way up and has Kim against the cage with 50 seconds to go. Kim is minimizing the damage, but Diaz lands a few jabs and knees. He starts wailing away at Kim's face with about 30 seconds to go and Kim is just trying to get through the fight. Diaz easily wins the third round, but the decision could go either way. All three judges score it 29-27 in favor of Kim, who wins by unanimous decision.
Round Two Kim starts the round off with a few leg kicks, but might want to look at going after Diaz's face. It's red from some of the shots he took on the ground in the first round. Kim goes for a takedown, but Diaz shakes off the first attempt. He's not as lucky the second time and Kim is once again in good position. Diaz is landing more punches on the ground through the two minute mark, but Kim still has the fight where he wants it. Diaz is struggling to get up. Although Diaz may have landed more shots, Kim has recorded the bigger ones with Diaz below him. Diaz impressively kicks his way to his feet, but Kim puts him right back down. They wrestle for most of the final minute where Diaz takes control and gets back to his feet right before the bell.
Round One Diaz and Kim waste no time and charge at each other right away. Both land a couple punches and Kim adds a leg kick. They exchange for about 45 seconds — Diaz throwing punches and Kim relying on kick boxing — before Kim gets the first takedown of the bout. Diaz is fighting through Kim's mount attempt, though. Kim momentarily abandons that plan and throws a couple nice punches to the face of Diaz. Kim is still in control at the 2:30 mark, but Diaz has come close to getting back on his feet. Diaz connects with a few hammer fists, but Kim punishes him with haymaker-type strike to the right side of the face. He's hit the same spot three times now. Swelling or a cut would seem likely, but Diaz appears unperturbed. Diaz works his way to his feet with 12 seconds left and the fighters seem content to let the time run out. Give the first to Kim.
Clay Guida vs. Takanori Gomi
Round Two Guida and Gomi both look as refreshed as they did at the beginning of the fight. Guida takes the fight to the ground within the first minute, but Gomi gets back up. This is turning out to be the battle of styles everyone anticipated. Guida wants to grapple or wrestle, while Gomi is content to stay up and exchange punches. Gomi lands a hook or two, but no striking has done any real damage to either guy in this one. Guida lands a powerful punch right around the two minute mark when he counters a combination from Gomi. Gomi throws a knee to Guida's face. But Guida is able to capitalize by catching Gomi's leg on the way down and slams him for his second major takedown. Gomi takes a few elbows, but has defended well against Guida's ground and pound overall. Guida re-adjusts and gets Gomi in a choke and that's it. Gomi taps out. Guida wins via submission 4:27 into the second round.
Round One As usual, Guida entered the octagon with intensity few others could match. He screamed along with the words of Foo Fighters' "My Hero", his choice of walk-in music, while Takanori Gomi stayed more level-headed on the east side of the arena. The fight starts and both are feeling each other out with not much action for the first 30 seconds. Gomi misses on a few punches and Guida, keeping a low base, does the same. Guida lands a kick to the face of Gomi two minutes into the fight and "Guida" chants erupt in the arena. Still not much success striking, as Guida swings and misses a couple times. Guida tries for a takedown, but Gomi thwarts him off. Gomi continues to work jab, but Guida's elusiveness could be frustrating him. Action finally picks up with 40 seconds to go, as Gomi lands his biggest punch but Guida picks him up for a takedown. He can't gain much control, as Gomi has his arms wrapped around Guida's neck. Bell sounds and it's on to the second round.
Their final words were identical and predictable. Only one told the truth.
Both Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard, who will fight for the UFC lightweight championship in a few hours tonight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, said they would walk away with the belt in their last pre-fight words at yesterday’s UFC 125 weigh-in.
Edgar comes in as the underdog despite holding the current championship. Most sports books in town list Edgar as a +115 (risking $1 to win $1.15) underdog, while Maynard will likely go off at -145 (risking $1.45 to win $1).
Maynard has history on his side. When the two met in a UFC Fight Night card in April of 2008, Maynard won a unanimous decision.
There’s still plenty to decide before a champion is crowned. Chris Leben, one of the top contenders in the middleweight division, and Brian Stann, former WEC light heavyweight champion, face off in the co-Main Event.
A victory would put Leben even closer to his goal of getting a title fight. Likewise, a Stann win would catapult the ex-Marine’s career in ways he can barely imagine.
Thiago Silva and Brandon Vera meet in a light heavyweight bout. Both Silva and Vera were previously regarded as two of MMA’s best up-and-coming fighters, but have hit rough patches and are a combined 2-4 in their last six fights.
Former “The Ultimate Fighter” champion Nate Diaz squares off with undefeated Korean Dong Hyun-Kim in a welterweight fight. Rounding out the card is the possible Fight of the Night between grappler Clay Guida and PRIDE legend Takanori Gomi.
Guida has won two straight fights by submission while Gomi knocked out Tyson Griffin a minute into his last bout.
Stay tuned for round-by-round coverage of the five main card fights. Here’s a rundown of the undercard results.
Jeremy Stephens knocked out Marcus Davis in the third round of a middleweight fight. "The Heathen" landed a strong right and followed it with another punch while Davis was on the ground three minutes into the third round.
Dustin Poirier beat Josh Grispi by unanimous decision in a featherweight bout. Poirier pulled the upset against Grispi, who was scheduled to face Jose Aldo on this card before he came down with an injury.
Brad Tavares won with a knockout against Phil Baroni in a middleweight bout. Tavares landed a combination of punches, a kick and a knee to finish Tavares with 40 seconds to go in the first round.
Diego Nunes scored a split decision win over Mike Brown in a featherweight fight. Nunes overcame a swollen-shut left eye he suffered in the first round when Brown connected with a hard punch.
Daniel "The Ninja" Roberts won by submission over Greg Soto in a welterweight bout. Soto tapped out at the 3:45 mark in the first round after Soto got him in a kimura.
Jacob Volkmann won a split decision over Antonio McKee in a lightweight bout. Volkmann dominated the second round and appeared to have McKee on the verge of submission en route to his victory.