LAS VEGAS – Frankie Edgar showed the heart of a true champion at UFC 125.

The UFC lightweight champion was completely dominated in the first round of his rematch with Gray Maynard, as Maynard kicked off the new year with fireworks, dropping Edgar with a big left hook, then continuing with an onslaught of attacks that had Edgar scrambling all over the Octagon trying to survive.

Maynard landed nearly 100 punches in the opening stanza, but as the bell sounded on Round 1, Frankie Edgar was still standing.

Amazingly, Edgar was able to use the time between the first and second stanza to regain his faculties, and proved to be a different fighter in the second, landing crisp strikes, and even getting a big slam with a take down of Maynard.

Edgar continued the momentum in a close third round, scoring with crisp combinations before giving up a couple of late take downs as the round was winding down.

The take downs that Edgar gave up in the third round would prove to be the last.

Instead, it was Edgar that would get the big take downs, going for a guillotine attempt after the fight hit the ground in the fourth. Maynard would make his way back to his feet, but would find himself on his back again late in the round.

It appeared that the fight would likely come down to the fifth round, depending on how the judges scored the first round. Both guys heard about the importance of the final round from their corners, and when the round started, both came out gunning for the title.

The final frame saw many take down attempts, but none were effective. The champion came out landing kicks, and doubling up on his jab, while Maynard effectively countered and scored with his left hook.  As the bell sounded on an unbelievable main event, it would all come down to the judges.

When the scores came in, there was disappointment from both corners, as the fight was scored as a draw (48-46, 46-48, 47-47).

The draw presents a problem, as the WEC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis was slated to face the winner of tonight’s main event, and it has not been announced at present time as to whether there will be a third fight between Frankie Edgar (13-1-1 MMA, 8-1-1 UFC) and Gray Maynard (10-0-1-1 MMA, 8-0-1-1 UFC).

Stann TKO’s Leben in stunning fashion

Mix in two dangerous strikers, an Octagon, and some little gloves, and the recipe usually ends in somebody getting knocked out.

True to form, somebody did, but it was the underdog that scored the biggest win of his MMA life.

After a quick start, and some brutal inside, dirty boxing, Chris Leben came forward with his trademark stalking style and walked right into a left hook from Brian Stann that stunned him. Leben kept coming forward, but Stann wasn’t done, landing a crushing right hand that would have knocked out just about anybody else at 185.

Leben quickly worked his way back to his feet, but not for long, as Stann kept the pressure on, landing a big knee after giving up a standing guillotine, then followed Leben to the mat and put him away with unanswered punches.

It was a stunning finish for Brian Stann, who punctuated the biggest win of his career with an emotional dedication to one of his fallen Marines. A lot of fans thought Stann was crazy for asking to fight Leben, but there was a method to the madness.

“I feel great, I asked for Chris Leben because he is the toughest guy on the UFC roster,” said Stann.

“I need to challenge myself. I don’t live my life to question things… I wanted to fight the best, I fought the best, and that could have happened to either one of his tonight. It just happened to be my night.”

Stann moves to 10-3 overall (4-2 UFC), moving one step closer to title contention at middleweight, while Leben drops to 25-7 (11-6 UFC).

Thiago Silva dominates Brandon Vera

Brandon Vera looked like his old self on his feet against Thiago Silva.

Unfortunately for Vera, the fight didn’t stay standing very long. After Vera scored early with stinging kicks and stiff knees, Thiago Silva took Vera down early in the first round, and punished him with a stifling top game, landing short grinding elbows and body shots from the top for the final two minutes of the first round.

The second and third rounds were almost a carbon copy of the first two, with Vera getting off to start the round, only to be taken down, finding himself once again dominated on the ground.

Silva finished the final 2 minutes of the final stanza on the back of a seated Vera, slap boxing the ears, then re-arranging the nose of Vera with a big left hand en route to a dominating, one-sided unanimous decision victory over “The Truth.”

The win moves Silva to 15-2 overall and 6-2 in the Octagon, while the loss is the third straight for Vera (11-6 MMA, 7-6 UFC).

Dong Hyun Kim ain’t scared homey

Dong Hyun Kim may not know English, but that didn’t stop him from trash talking right back at Nate Diaz, who shouted obscenities at the Korean throughout the bout.

Diaz had no answer through the first two rounds for the take downs and top control of Kim. Diaz stayed very busy from his back, looking for submission opportunities, but Kim navigated his way to a 2-0 lead going into the final round, with a grinding tip game.

In the third, Diaz found his rhythm, and took control of the fight, landing the better shots in the exchanges, and punishing Kim in the clinch.

It was too little too late for Diaz, as the scores came in, announcing Kim the winner by unanimous decision. With the win, Kim remains undefeated, and now sets his “stun gun” sights on the the UFC welterweight champion.

“My name is Stun Gun… I want GSP.”

“Everyday Clay” shows Takanori Gomi how to do it during the holidays

Clay Guida proved to Takanori Gomi that he isn’t the only one that can fight during a New Years holiday.

After a first round that saw enough head movement from Guida to make a bobble head jealous, Gomi was looking to establish any kind of rhythm for the rest of the round against the unorthodox movement that he found himself up against.

Gomi never found a home for his powerful strikes, but was able to stifle the grinding, take down game of Guida for most of the first round.

In the second stanza, Gomi was able to score with a thunderous knee to the face of a shooting Guida, but “the Carpenter” remained workman-like, relentlessly stalking his prey, even landing some very nice head kicks before shooting for a late take down.

Guida would get the take down, then locked up a guillotine attempt from the top, scrambled to his back, and further cinched up the choke looking for the finish.

It looked like Gomi was just about to pop his head out when the tap came, giving Guida (28-11 MMA, 8-5 UFC) a huge victory over one of his idols.

“Gomi you’re a beast, you said you were the New Year’s man, so I guess that makes me everyday Clay.”

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