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The Aftermath – UFC 118

UFC 118 was more sizzle than steak. It is interesting to look back at what made the previous two shows so compelling. UFC 116 and 117 created so much buzz based on how great the stories and fights were with seemingly invincible champions having to come back to defend their titles. UFC 118 tried to create that spectacle by having James Toney fight Randy Couture, rather than letting it happen naturally with a competitive fight that fans wanted to see.

Now, UFC 116 and 117 aren’t the norm. There was definitely some luck in how the fights played out to make those shows so special. But they didn’t feel forced like this one.

I’m not sure anyone hated this show as much as Duan did. Here’s what we thought about UFC 118:

4 Thumbs Down
Best Fight: The Resident Evil Afterlife commercial
Worst Fight: Everything else

A truly horrid show all things considered. You will be hard pressed to find two more boring fights back to back than Maynard/Florian and Maia/Miranda. I promised I would say no more on Couture/Toney, and that’s probably for the best really. The main event, while impressive on Edgar’s behalf, was a pretty dull, drama-less spectacle. Good luck trying to sell Edgar/Maynard as a main event; that one sure has barn burner written all over it.

At this point, I think Penn really needs to consider where he wants to go from here. He’s now met his match at 155. BJ Penn’s whole character has always been about being the very best. I’m sure he can still beat most guys at either lightweight or welterweight, but not either champion. I don’t know that it’s worth his while fighting on as just another guy in the division. And I don’t know that BJ Penn can be just another guy in the division. Does he add anything to his legacy by knocking off contenders? If he’s made his money this might be the time for him to get out. But with that being said, if Maynard beats Edgar the door swings back open for him.

Thumbs In The Middle
Best Fight: BJ Penn vs. Frankie Edgar
Worst Fight: Mario Miranda vs. Demian Maia

Main event was really enjoyable even if it was totally one-sided. I nodded off during Kenny/Maynard so I missed most of what was arguably the worst thing on the show, thankfully.

Thumbs In The Middle
Best Fight: Marcus Davis vs. Nate Diaz
Worst Fight: Mario Miranda vs. Demian Maia

This was the first live UFC card I’ve watched since Cro Cop got his head kicked in by Gonzaga, but the build-up had me curious. So I went to the local pub to check the show out.

Nate Diaz (winner via submission) vs. Marcus Davis
Since I don’t watch Ultimate Fighter, I didn’t know what kind of emotional weight Diaz was carrying. But he came out in this fight showing how cocky he could be, and ended up giving Davis some nice pink shorts. Fight of the night for me, and a great opener. And the question of if/when the blood is washed off the mat was answered as well. After the fight, Davis looked like Mask from that Cher movie. And yes, it was classy of Diaz to check on Davis after the fight.

Gray Maynard (winner via decision) vs. Kenny Florian
I saw a lot of folks picking Florian as he was the better fighter, so of course I had to go for the underdog. But question — does Florian ALWAYS look worried? He’s got the puppy dog eyes in the pre-fight video, and right before the fight. By the way, I’d pick Adrian Brody to play him in the movie. Florian got a nice pop from the crowd in the pub. But then… wait… were both guys waiting for a bell? A full minute went by and there was only one touch, and that was at the 55 second mark. Geez, Flo has a great reach. Surprised he didn’t use it to his advantage this fight. However, Maynard controlled the ground, and I gave it to him via 30-27.

Demian Maia (winner via decision) vs. Mario Miranda
Gotta say, Miranda has a great kick. Sounded like a gunshot going off. First round was odd, as Maia had Miranda down on the mat, and it looked like Miranda was either taking a nap to conserve energy or had fainted. However, by the time the second round got underway I was contemplating taking a nap or fainting. It took a lot of effort to stay awake for this fight. In fact, I just wrote “Boring”. I was looking for either 3-Minute Warning or The Nexus to run in and beat down both guys. By the way, the ring mics really pick up the glove shots well. Whenever Maia was getting his shots in, it sounded like a wrestler when he stomped his foot while punching. By the third round I was cheering on the clock. Maia did have a great reversal in the third, but it was too little too late. I gave this one 30-27 for Maia… bad mix of styles.

Randy Couture (winner via submission) vs. James Toney
Big pop for Couture in the bar… casual fans abound. Gotta say, nice flip-flops, Randy. Although he’s really looking his age. And the sun still rises in the morning. Guy next to me said Randy was going to wear Toney down, and take him out in the second or third. I said he would probably choke him out, or Toney would get in a lucky shot. Guy said Randy would start the fight with a quick take-down. He was right. A few seconds later and it was over… not too surprising. Some cheers in the pub for the “James Phoney” sign.

Resident Evil trailer — big thumbs up!

Frankie Edgar (champ, winner via decision) vs. BJ Penn
BJ Penn is one scary looking little dude. He’s the little guy who, in a fight, is going to do something awesome. Unfortunately it wasn’t going to happen tonight. Very loud mixed reactions for him from the pub. No reaction at all for Edgar. To get my score out of the way early, Edgar wins this one 50-45. I was begging for Penn to try and throw some punches. When he did, he actually connected. By the third rolled around there was a sense of desperation from Penn as he tried but couldn’t hook anything. Edgar just dominated this one, which made for a pretty boring main event. Little to no drama.

Overall, not a great show, but it being the first big UFC show I saw live, it’s one I’ll remember and wouldn’t mind watching again. It had a little bit of everything.

Cactus Jim
Thumbs In The Middle
Best Fight: Marcus Davis vs. Nate Diaz
Worst Fight: Gray Maynard vs. Kenny Florian if you can look past the boxing vs. MMA debacle

This card was better on paper than the fights bore out. There were a couple mediocre fights and a couple stinkers. This seems to be a developing trend in the UFC. Maynard didn’t create any excitement for me in his upcoming title match. I think it will be a tough sell for UFC and will get even tougher if he is able to beat Edgar again. Had I actually bought this fight instead of watching with friends I would have felt like I didn’t get my money’s worth of entertainment. There is nothing here for anyone to go out of their way for in my opinion.

Thumbs In The Middle
Best Fight: Marcus Davis vs. Nate Diaz
Worst Fight: Mario Miranda vs. Demian Maia

I know that hindsight is 20/20, but after UFC 118 was done, I was scratching my head at the booking. Knowing that there would be more boxing fans who aren’t big MMA fans watching than ever, Dana White and Joe Silva chose to stack the card with wrestlers and boring jiu-jitsu fighters? I understand that Mario Miranda was a late replacement, but he was definitely an odd choice if what you wanted was an exciting fight with Demian Maia. Other than the first fight between Marcus Davis and Nate Diaz, nothing else was even compelling. Gray Maynard lived up to his rep in not finishing fights, and Kenny Florian lived up to his by coming up short in a big fight. Randy Couture easily defeated James Toney so there was zero suspense there, and in the main event, we saw a repeat of UFC 112, with Frankie Edgar using wrestling, and some decent boxing to control BJ Penn. I’m still scratching my head.

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