With a sport that has been proven time and time again that anything can happen, the UFC 136 bout card was put together to manufacture a guaranteed win for all fans. If you’re the type that picks and chooses which events to watch at home, this one was a no-brainer to get the most bang out of your 59.99 HD pay-per-view bucks. We knew that the main event was going to be as epic as a Hollywood movie fight scene. We knew that Kenny Florian was going to be the toughest test Jose Aldo was going to face. We knew Chael was going to spit some outrageous banter once he had a chance to grab a mic. We knew that we were going to want to see Phan versus Garcia fight a third time, even though they haven’t yet fought the second time. Kudos again to Joe Silva. A job well done. Now its my turn to take a crack at picking who’s next for the winners and losers of last night.
Frankie Edgar def. Gray Maynard via TKO (Referee Stoppage) at 3:54 of Round 4
Frankie Edgar proved he is the real life Rocky Balboa. From fighting a larger, unbeaten machine like Gray Maynard for a third time, to making a come back and win in the fourth round by TKO from a devastating set of knock downs in first round, Frankie Edgar might as well have a movie based on him. It can be the MMA version of The Fighter but I’d get the Russel Crow / Ridley Scott combination to make it so they get a chance to win an Oscar.
Now that lightweight title log jam is cleared, and Melvin Guillard’s title run has been stopped by Joe Lauzon on this card, it makes sense that the winner of the Ben Henderson vs. Clay Guida fight on the UFC on Fox card in November should get the next crack at the title. Unfortunately for the UFC lightweight contenders, it looks like Strikeforce Champ Gilbert Melendez might get a chance to cut in line, so long as Dana can navigate around the Strikeforce/Showtime contract red tape. Although never to have stepped in the octagon, 19-2 Melendez is a worthy opponent that has held a Strikeforce lightweight title since June 2009 and has beaten the world’s best outside of the UFC including Tatsuya Kawajiri, Josh Tompson and the controversial Shinya Aoki.
For Gray Maynard, Anthony Pettis looks to be a logical fight. Pettis needs a win over a strong opponent to stay in title contention, and the fight would be a perfect place for Maynard to start the long journey back to fight for the belt.
Jose Aldo def. Kenny Florian via Unanimous Decision (49-46,49-46,49-46)
Kenny Florian showed his best title fight performance of his career. Unfortunately, it was not enough to defeat Jose Aldo. Kenny’s game plan of constantly pushing the champ against the fence and threatening take downs made Aldo think twice about throwing his vicious trademark kicks, but Kenny was unable to connect with any significant strikes. Aldo was able to take charge of the striking and stifle the take downs to win the decision.
Up next for Aldo is expected undefeated top contender Chad Mendez. Mendez presents to Aldo the same problems as previous title challenger and Team Alpha Male stable mate Urijah Faber. A strong wrestling pedigree with a grinding pace. I believe if Aldo can get past Mendez, he may take a serious consideration to jumping up in weight to the much more competitive lightweight division.
Florian’s future is up in the air as he has dropped all three of his title shots and he has other avenues to pursue outside of fighting like his school out in Massachusetts, his MMA analyst position on ESPN and his job as an alternate commentator for the UFC. If he decides to fight again at featherweight a fight against Roufusport product Erik Koch would make sense to help build a young prospect fighter. Koch needs one or two wins over top 10 opponents to be next in line for a title shot, and Kenny Florian would be a great test to see if he is truly worthy.
Chael Sonnen def. Brian Stann via Submission (Arm Triangle) at 3:51 of Round 2
Stann only landed on significant punch on Chael. It was a hard body shot that caused Chael to immediately think twice of keeping the fight standing. The rest of the fight was a Text book Chael Sonnen ground and pound that lead up to the arm triangle submission. There is barely anyone in the middle weight division who has a chance of stuffing one of Chael’s take downs. Only person I have in mind would be Mark Munoz, who has defeated Sonnen back in their college wrestling days.
Sonnen versus Anderson Silva is the only fight for Sonnen. With Sonnen stating “Anderson Silva, YOU SUCK!” in the post fight interview, then offering the loser leaves town match to occur on Superbowl Weekend, it would only make sense for the UFC brass to comply. I hope Sonnen knows what he is doing in provoking the widely believed number one pound for pound fighter in the world. A pissed off Silva, is a dangerous one.
Up next for Stann, I’d love to see him fight Okami in Japan. Both fighters are coming off big losses, and both will be looking to get back on track for a title shot.
Nam Phan def. Leonard Garcia via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Maybe not right away, but I do agree with Joe Rogan to see this fight once a year. Nam Phan definitively one this match out striking his opponent 195 to 197 (as per FightMetric) but I don’t think anyone really cares who wins or loses this fight with the excitement these guys bring together when they fight.
After watching these guys try to punch each other’s heads off it would be nice change of pace to put them against some talented grapplers. For Phan I’d pit him against Jacob Volkman. Volkman is on a 4 fight win streak and had a great dominant performance against Danny Castillo threatening Darce choke after Darce choke. Next for Leonard Garcia Id love to see him fight Josh Grispi. They are both on 2 fight losing streaks and looking to bounce back into the winner circle.
Joe Lauzon def. Melvin Guillard via Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 0:45 of Round 1
Speaking of classic grappler versus striker matches, the evening started off with Joe Lauzon carrying the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu flag into the fight against the self dubbed “Jiu Jitsu Killer” Melvin Guillard. This time, BJJ prevailed with J-Lau dropping Guillard with a hard left to the chin en route to a rear naked choke finish.
For Joe Lauzon, another step up in competition like a fight against Evan Dunham would make sense as both have had great last performances. For Guillard, Jim Miller would be a great match to give him another crack at a submission specialist. Both fighters are coming off derailing losses and will be looking to get back on track.
Preliminary Quick Hits
-Jorge Santiago was thrown into the UFC middleweight deep end since coming back from his 11-1 stint outside the UFC. Loosing to Brian Stann in his UFC return in May and a decision loss at this event to Demian Maia, Santiago is now facing a do or die situation for his UFC career. Hopefully he will find himself for his next fight and come out with a showing like he did in his second fight against Kazuo Misaki in Sengoku.
– Anthony Pettis edged out a split decision win over very game opponent in Jeremy Stephens. As mentioned before Pettis versus Grey Maynard would make the most sense for both fighters, but with the possibility of a Strikeforce integration looming, this gives us a rare opportunity to have a Mortal Kombat style MIRROR MATCH! Anthony Pettis versus Jorge Masvidal! Both guys are game strikers so it would be an entertaining fight. I hate to be the judge scoring that if it went to decision just in case I mixed them up.
–When is Joey Beltran going to change is nick name to “the Mexican Zombie”? Maybe there’s a fight for that title between him and Leonard Garcia. If that’s the case we can call Joey “El Zombi Grande” and Leonard “El Zombi Pequeño” (translations courtesy of Google Translator)
-Tiequan Zhang is a bit of a one trick Pony. That Guillotine of his is scary, but I hope he gets more well rounded if he plans on sticking around for the UFC Asian expansion.
-Aaron Simpson had a masterful performance against Eric Schafer. I was surprised that the submission savvy Schafer didn’t even attempt to even pull guard in the last round where he was clearly behind on points.
-Mike Massenzio had a come from behind win against former WEC light heavyweight champ Steve Cantwell. On any other card, this would have been a legit contender for fight of the night, but when you have Garcia vs. Phan on the same card, Dana probably had already written the cheque for the FOTN bonus the minute after their bout agreement was signed.