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UFC 136 Preview – Gray Maynard Vs. Frankie Edgar III


UFC 136 comes just two weeks after UFC 135 and it’s really a loaded show. It’s a loaded show however, without that money main event. Even without that money main event, people who buy this show should definitely get their money’s worth. Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard get it on again, 10 months after their fight-of-the-year candidate on New Year’s Day. Jose Aldo defends his title against Kenny Florian. And Chael Sonnen returns to face Brian Stann.

The FGB crew along with friend of the site JP, have predictions for the three fights.

(Duan refused to give his pick for Sonnen/Stann on grounds that he doesn’t think Sonnen should be fighting after failing his drug test, but he did say this, “I will say this much, I’m not usually a fan of Brian Stann, but for this one show, I’m in his corner.”)

Chael Sonnen vs. Brian Stann

Alan: Sonnen by decision
JP: Sonnen by decision
GG: Sonnen by decision

Alan says:

Stann’s takedown defense just isn’t strong enough to deal with the ultra aggressive Sonnen. He’s going to show glimpses of success in this fight but will be ultimately frustrated by Sonnen taking him down and mauling him in dirty gritty fashion.

JP says:

I am cheering for Stann the same reason I cheer for Bisping every time: any new challenger for Anderson Silva intrigues me more than a rematch. Even if that rematch is with the loudmouth Sonnen. Luckily for the UFC’s pockets, Sonnen will win this fight because of his superior wrestling. I don’t expect Sonnen to mess around with striking against Stann as that is riskier than simply taking him down and grinding out a three round decision. Sonnen isn’t in this one to look sexy, he will take the most efficient way to a new fight with Anderson. Lots of anti-Sonnen chants will fill the air as he controls Sonnen for the win.

GG says:

I very much expect Sonnen to get the duke here. But I also wonder how everything that’s happened in the past year has affected him. He’s played it off well, but it has had to take a toll on him. I think Stann will have everything behind him, but ultimately lose a close decision. I do think Stann’s power will keep Sonnen for taking him down often early, but eventually, he’ll tire out and Sonnen will win the last two rounds.

Kenny Florian vs. Jose Aldo

Duan Aldo by 4th round TKO
Alan: Aldo by 2nd round submission
JP: Aldo by 3rd round submission
GG: Aldo by 3rd round TKO

Duan says:

Until otherwise is proven, I see Florian as a fighter who falls short at title level. I’m not convinced that cutting to featherweight at 35 years old is going to help his cause either, particularly when matched against someone as physically imposing as Jose Aldo. Aldo may not have shined in his last fight, but the guy has been putting beatings on everyone since the day he signed with Zuffa. Florian will get picked apart systematically and finished in the championship rounds.

Alan says:

I am really really on Aldo for this. I don’t think Kenny has a chance. He’ll be bigger but it won’t matter. Aldo will be too fast, too lethal and too athletic. I’ll say he knocks Kenny down and taps him out.

JP says:

Kenny Florian just keeps on trying. After being a contestant at 185 on the first season of TUF, the cerebral Florian has dropped to 145 for yet another shot at a belt. Florian has built a reputation as someone who can’t win the big fight and there is no reason to think he has what it takes to dethrone Aldo. Florian has one option and that is to hope he can drag Aldo into the championship rounds and try to gas him out. I don’t expect it to get that far. Aldo is a superior striker, a decade younger, and capable of finishing the fight at any interval. My prediction is Florian gets the worse of exchanges for two rounds before getting desperate and going for long shot takedowns. In a scramble Aldo grabs his back, sinks in the hooks and delivers the fight finishing rear naked choke. Aldo notches his first submission victory since 2005.

GG says:

Florian is smart enough to be preparing for his second career. But I’m not sure that I want the guy who is on MMA Live every week to be facing one of the top three killers in the UFC right now. Florian is near the end of his rope and Aldo should just be coming into his prime. Unless Florian throws a Hail Mary and can catch Aldo with something, I just don’t see Florian having much that Aldo won’t be able to handle. I think Aldo puts him down late in the third and finishes him on the ground.

Gray Maynard vs. Frankie Edgar

Duan Edgar by decision
Alan: Maynard by decision
JP: Maynard by decision
GG: Maynard by decision

Duan says:

If you eliminate the first round mauling from their last meeting, Edgar won that fight hands down. I think he showed he has another level he can go to that Maynard can’t quite match. And I believe you can discount that opening round. It was an aberration, the 1/100 shot – I guarantee, GUARANTEE, it will not be repeated on Saturday night.

These guys match up well no doubt, but Edgar just has that little bit more. He’s that bit more rounded, that bit more polished, and I think he will take this one, not with ease, but without dispute. I expect each round to be close, but I see the champion shading at least 4 of them.

Alan says:

We’ve seen these guys in the octagon with each other for 40 minutes, and one thing is clear – there’s very little between them. There are questions though. Would Gray have done better if he hadn’t blown his load in R1 of the last fight and applied a different set of tactics when he had Frankie in trouble. Would he have won if he attempted a submission while he had him rocked? Has Frankie mastered the defense of Maynard’s takedowns (which killed him in the first fight) or were the takedowns just less forceful due to shot arms and legs? I tend to lean to Gray’s favour on most of these points but not by much. I’m going to say he gets his win here, because he just seems so damn determined and driven. However it’s almost to the point where he may have psyched himself up TOO much. As he says, the last fight has eaten away at him for 9 months. Edgar would be just the guy to take advantage of an over-eager Maynard.

JP says:

I am pulling for Frankie Edgar in this fight if only because its hard to cheer against a guy who is pure heart. At this point, the New Year’s Day battle these two put on is my front runner for Fight of the Year and the fact that Edgar even answered the bell in round two is a marvel. But the fact remains that Edgar has yet to best Maynard and even though he made an epic comeback in their second fight, he also took a severe beating that Maynard is fully capable of dishing out again. I don’t expect a finish here because these two really don’t finish fights. All the better though because over 25 minutes of fighting I expect to see more amazing displays of MMA here. Maynard wins a 48-47 back and forth and instant chatter of a fourth contest begins.

GG says:

I think Maynard imposes his will here a bit more and the fight is much more of a grind than the insane battle that the second fight was. Edgar fights with quickness and he has some of the best boxing in MMA. Maynard needs to utilize his strength and wear Edgar down by making him block take down attempt after takedown attempt. Edgar needs to keep it standing as much as possible and out-box him. I think it’s nearly going to be just as close as the last fight, but that Maynard takes it. They will probably fight again in a couple years as I don’t see the loser going anywhere.

There you have it. We’ll have play by play of the show here tomorrow.

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