It looks a trilogy of fights between Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard, as the main event of UFC 125 ended in a draw after an epic five round battle between champion and challenger.
The ending may somehow spoil just how special the fight between Edgar and Maynard turned out to be, as both fighters left their hearts and souls in the Octagon on Saturday night.
Gray Maynard nearly walked out with the UFC title just minutes in the first round after catching Edgar with a left hook that took away the champion’s equilibrium. Wobbled and backing up, Edgar tried to fend off Maynard’s attack, but the Michigan State alum was having none of it.
Maynard continued to push forward blasting shot after shot, with one of them bloodying Edgar’s nose. The fight appeared as close to finished as any could, but somehow Edgar regained his composure and found his way out of the first round.
When asked after the fight was over what he remembered about the initial five minutes, Edgar could only answer “not much.”
Going for the kill may have backfired on Maynard as well, because for his part the 2nd round was almost a complete reversal from the first.
“I kind of punched myself in the first, in round two I couldn’t go that hard,” Maynard admitted.
Edgar looked quick and nimble on his feet as if the first round didn’t happen, and he peppered Maynard with punches and even landed a huge slam to bring the fight to the mat. Maynard’s movement became labored, and he was launching huge punches obviously head hunting to try and put the fight away after coming so close in the first.
The fast turn around gave Edgar confidence and if he didn’t remember the first round, all the much better because it was a new fight at that point.
“Felt good, felt like the first round didn’t happen,” Edgar commented about his strong second round.
In his corner between rounds, Randy Couture yelled at Maynard to stop looking for the knockout and just go back to the strategy to beat Edgar up. The advice paid off with Maynard going back to his basic boxing, and gaining the upper hand again later in the fight with more slick combinations.
Edgar wasn’t about to give up his title that easily however, and fired back with quick jabs and combinations of his own, while mixing in a takedown or two along the way. Maynard was there every step of the way as well, cracking the champion with big power shots that blasted Edgar in the nose several more times.
Non-stop action continued for the final fifteen minutes with both Edgar and Maynard staking their claim to a victory.There was simply no easy call in the final 3 rounds, although Maynard definitely disagreed with that assessment.
“I thought it was a 10-8 (first round), me the third, and me the fifth,” said Maynard after the fight.
The judges’ scores read 48-46 Maynard, 48-46 Edgar, and 47-47, which brought the fight to a final end as a draw. A dejected Edgar didn’t seem too happy with the end result.
“Close fight, what are you going to do?” Edgar said.
Maynard’s ire was also raised as his quest to become the UFC lightweight champion came and went, and while he didn’t go home with a loss on his record, he also didn’t go home with a gold belt either.
“I (expletive) hope so,” Maynard answered when asked if he was hoping for a third fight with Edgar to finish their battle.
The fight between Edgar and Maynard was everything a title bout is supposed to be. Exciting action, a back and forth struggle, with both fighters having the upper hand at some point during the struggle. The downside of the main event for UFC 125 is the anti-climactic ending that saw no winner and no loser, only a draw and now a muddied picture for the UFC’s lightweight title contenders.
Edgar goes home with the belt, but obviously not feeling like a winner. Maynard walks out feeling like he won, but with no title, and somewhere Anthony Pettis sits and now has to wait to see where he fits into all of this as the odd man out waiting for his chance to fight for the belt.