(Above: "You’re lucky our dads are here, dweeb. I’ll just take that fancy little belt of yours next time." Below: Something old, something new… / Photos courtesy of the UFC 125 Weigh In Pics gallery on CombatLifestyle.com)
Good lord, is it really 2011 already? I’m still writing "PRIDE NEVA DIE" on all my checks! Another unpredictable year of MMA begins tonight in Las Vegas, as lightweight underdog-champion Frankie Edgar attempts to make title defense #2 against old rival Gray Maynard. Plus: Chris Leben and Nate Diaz try to keep their streaks going, Brandon Vera fights for his job, and a lightweight smash-up between Clay Guida and Takanori Gomi. Click through for round-by-round UFC 125 updates — beginning at 9 p.m. ET with the live prelims broadcast on ION — and remember to refresh the page every few minutes for the latest results. Let’s all try to be the best keyboard warriors we can be this year, okay guys?
Whoa, they’re not wasting any time here. We go right into it…
Phil Baroni vs. Brad Tavares
Baroni keeps his shades on for the in-cage introductions. Boss.
Round 1: Tavares with a leg kick. Phil goes in for the body, but gets hit with a counter left. Tavares lands another leg kick. The crowd starts booing at the one-minute mark. But Phil nails Tavares with a straight and Tavares drops to the mat. Baroni follows him down and tries to set up a guillotine, but Tavares pops out. Baroni in half guard. Tavares gets up, but Baroni grabs onto the neck again. Tavares shakes out. He clinches and they trade knees. Tavares tries to get it to the ground and Baroni sprawls on top of him. Tavares gets up and they trade some more knees, and Tavares gets one low. He’s back after a quick break and lands a head kick that rattles Baroni. Tavares pushes forward and lands a knee and a heap of punches with Baroni backed up against the cage. It’s actually reminiscent of Baroni/Menne. Baroni crumples to the mat and Tavares piles it on until Josh Rosenthal steps in. Baroni grabs onto Rosenthal’s leg in dazed confusion. Tavares def. Baroni via KO, 4:20 of round 1.
Josh Grispi vs. Dustin Poirier
Round 1: Poirier lands first with a left straight. He lands a couple of sharp leg kicks.Grispi wants to land his own shots, but he’s getting countered. They clinch, and Grispi tries a flying guard pull, but can’t do much with it. Poirier with some hard knees to the body. And to the face. Grispi tries to give it back. Poirer with some heavy punches when Grispi breaks away. Grispi drags Poirier to the mat, but Poirier is quickly up, and the fight is back in his realm. Poirier with more kicks including a teep that drops Grispi. Grispi thinks about a leg lock and Poirier gets out. Grispi gets to his feet and Poirier is utterly blasting him with punches. Grispi shoots for a desperation single, and Poirier defends and takes Grispi’s back. Grispi rolls out and Poirier is in half guard. Grispi grabs an arm, looking for a kimura. He loses it. There’s the bell. Possible 10-8 for Poirier, who breaks Grispi’s streak of eight straight first-round finishes.
Round 2: Grispi comes out attacking with kicks, but Poirier also scores with a knee to the body. They clinch. Poirier with some nasty dirty boxing and Grispi is covering up and retreating. Grispi grabs on and takes Poirier down, but Poirier reverses and gets on top. Grispi throws his legs up for an armbar, but Poirier avoids and throws down some shots from the top before letting Grispi up. Poirier establishes a thai clinch and throws some knees. Grispi dives to the mat, hanging onto Poirier’s leg to slow down the abuse. Poirier gets into Grispi’s guard. Grispi tries a triangle, but Poirier slams out of it and lets Grispi up again. Poirier swinging some power shots before grabbing another thai clinch and going back to the knees. He separates and tees off on Grispi with punches until the bell. Grispi needs a miracle in the last round.
Round 3: Grispi with a body kick. Poirier with some punches before clinching again and going back to those brutal knees. Grispi drops a level and tries to establish guard. Poirier ain’t having it. They’re back up and Poirier goes back to a knee-clinch assault. Grispi flips into guard, looks for a triangle, but Poirier escapes. Grispi shoots in to clinch and finally takes Poirier down. He’s in half guard, and Poirer is locking him down so he can’t make anything happen. Poirier manages to pass to half guard. Poirier re-establishes guard. He’s riding out the clock, and makes it to the final bell completely unscathed.
Dustin Poirer def. Josh Grispi by unanimous decision (30-27 x 3. Wow, not one of them scored the first round 10-8? Pussies.) Huge upset…remember, at one point Grispi was supposed to challenge Jose Aldo for the featherweight title on this card.
Round 1: Stephens comes straight at Davis. They clinch, and Stephens pops a couple knees to the body. They’re out, and Davis uses his boxing to touch up Stephens. Stephens shoots, Davis defends and takes Stephens to the ground after a brief clinch. Davis in half guard. There’s a brief stalemate before Stephens gets back to his feet. Stephens with a leg kick. Davis with a left straight, and then an overhand left that stumbles Stephens. Davis pushes him back against the fence and they clinch. The first horn sounds, and Davis takes the round 10-9.
Round 2: Leg kick Stephens. He dodges a punch from Davis and lands a counter right. He tries a flying knee but gets popped on the way in. Another good counter punch from Stephens. Davis with a 1-2. Sharp leg kick from Stephens. Davis moves in to clinch, but Stephens pushes him off. Stephens misses a spinning backfist. Stephens shoots for a double-leg and Davis defends. Stephens tries for a single against the fence, but Davis reverses and takes Stephens down. Stephens attempts an armlock from the bottom. He moves from half-guard to full guard. Davis puts some light hammerfists on Stephens’s ribs. Stephens loses the armlock but briefly threatens with a guillotine. Davis gets out and starts working some GnP. He stands up and tags Stephens in the head at the bell.
Round 3: Stephens stalks forward and they trade punches. Davis with a left. Stephens is looking for the homerun. Stephens shoots, Davis shoves him away. Davis lands a left hook that wobbles Stephens. Stephens lands a left of his own in an exchange. Davis lands another straight left. Stephens loads up a monster right, and knocks Davis down and OUT. Stephens dives on for one more finishing blow, Hendo vs. Bisping-style. Damn. Jeremy Stephens def. Marcus Davis via KO, 2:33 of round 3. Dude was a half-round away from losing a decision. And now Davis might be in danger of getting laid off…
Clay Guida vs. Takanori Gomi
Guida comes out to "My Hero" by the Foo Fighters. A tribute to Gomi himself? Clay air-drums in a hyped-up frenzy, before Jason Guida affectionately slaps him around, as per tradition. Apparently, Clay Guida just won a Tequila Cazadores Spirit award, possibly for outstanding accomplishments in spreading RV awareness. And hey, there’s Holly Madison, in all her booty-shorted glory. Fuck the haters, I love that girl.
Round 1: Gomi sitting low, pawing the jab out. Guida circling around on the outside. Guida swings a hook to the body. He’s bopping from side to side and up and down like Dominick Cruz. Gomi throws the jab, Guida whiffs some punches before landing a head kick, followed up by a shot (which fails) and some punches. Guida shoots for a single, Gomi pulls out but Guida stays on him. They separate. Guida tries the high kick again. Guida with more dancing on the outside. Guida shoots but is stuffed. He misses a couple punches and Gomi lands the jab. Guida with a body kick and takedown, and a big slam as Gomi tries to defend. Guida in half-guard…and stays there until the horn. 10-9 Guida.
Round 2: Guida jabs. Gomi lands a short right as Guida shoots in. Guida shoots for a single again. Gomi does a brilliant job of defending and they break after a brief clinch. More dancing. Guida with a high kick and punches. Gomi paws the jab, and slugs to the body. Guida pops Gomi’s head back with a right. Gomi lands a big knee to Guida’s face, but the Carpenter’s got that iron chin, and he grabs onto Gomi and slams him down. Guida looking for an arm triangle, Gomi breaks free. Guida in half-guard. He snatches an arm-in guillotine and cranks the shit out of it, making Gomi tap within seconds.
Clay Guida def. Takanori Gomi via submission (guillotine choke), 4:27 of round 2.
"If you will it, dude, it is no dream," says Clay Lebowski. "Gomi said he was Mr. New Year’s, I guess that makes me Every Day Clay." He gives props to Joe Stevenson for showing him that nasty arm-in guillotine, and goes into a list of "thank you"s so long that Rogan finally has to cut him off in mid-name.
Nate Diaz vs. Dong Hyun Kim
Whoa, DHK comes out to the PRIDE theme. Solid. Goldberg tells us that he’s undefeated, and Rogan has to clarify that Karo Parisyan actually beat him, but the decision was changed to a no contest after Karo pissed dirty for "controlled substances"…probably not information that needed to be dragged out again on the broadcast. We can call him undefeated and leave it at that. Nate comes out with his bro Nick, Jake Shields, Cesar Gracie, his own father — you can’t fuck with that squad.
Round 1: DHK misses a kick, and Nate is *already* jawing at him. Leg kick Kim. Diaz pushing him back with jabs. Diaz tries a front kick, and Kim grabs him up and takes him to the mat. Diaz establishes guard. Kim with a hard punch from the top before moving to half guard. He pops to mount before losing it, falling back to half guard. Kim trying to spin around to side control, but can’t get it. Kim with another big punch. Some broad is screaming her lungs out every time anything happens. Diaz looking for an armbar, but Kim avoids. Diaz goes for a leg but Kim escapes. Kim takes Diaz’s back. Nate rolls and attacks Kim’s leg again, but Kim pulls out and gets to his feet. The round ends, and Kim probably took it due to ground control.
Round 2: Leg kick Kim. And again, followed by a left hand. Leg kick. Diaz comes in with a punch combo., connecting to the body and head. 1-2 from Diaz. Kim shoots for a single, Diaz escapes. Kim tries again and gets it this time. Diaz punching off his back. Diaz working for a triangle…or something. His legs are all over the place. Kim tries to hand-spring to side control, but Diaz gets his guard back again. Kim with a nice shot from the top. Diaz kicks Kim off, but Kim jumps right back in. Diaz rolls, Kim has his leg wrapped up. Diaz reverses and takes Kim’s back, but Kim escapes and they’re back up with a quick brawling exchange before the round ends. 2-0 Kim. This fight is looking a lot like Kim’s recent wins, as well as Diaz’s last losses.
Round 3: Kim lands a nice head kick. They clinch, and Diaz gets Kim to the ground after taking his back standing. It doesn’t last long, and Kim is back on his feet. They separate. Diaz locks up with Kim starts pounding Kim with knees. But the fight is paused because Kim’s hand was down, just barely. Kim falls to the mat stunned. Diaz is warned for kneeing a "downed" opponent, even though the definition of downed is very disputable here. Anyway, they go back to fighting and Kim gets the action to the mat again. Diaz goes for a leg, but loses it. They get back up, and Diaz lands a head kick and a knee to the body. Diaz lands some nasty uppercuts and knees from the clinch desperately trying to finish the fight. He takes Kim down at the bell. Great finish, but it’s probably not enough.
Dong Hyun Kim def. Nate Diaz via unanimous decision (29-28 x 3). The crowd boos the result, but that’s the 10-point must system for you. Obviously, Nate would have won under Stockton scoring. DHK says he wanted to stand with Diaz, but Nate’s trash talk just made Kim want to shut him down on the mat. He calls out GSP, and promises he’ll charge his stun gun more next time. Hmm.
Brandon Vera vs. Thiago Silva
Vera comes out to Kanye West’s "Runaway." Let’s have a toast to the douchebags, guys. Appropriately, Rogan talks about the arrogance and ego that led to his downfall. (Brandon’s, not Kanye’s.)
Round 1: Vera clinches immediately in the middle of the cage and starts digging in some knees. They separate and trade shots. Vera with a couple of nice leg kicks. Silva clinches up against the cage, grabs a leg and takes Vera down. Silva in half-guard, throwing down some shots, but Brandon is doing a decent job of locking him down. Vera tries to scramble out, but Silva gets back on in side control. Silva lands a big shot to the side of Vera’s head. Silva switches to elbows. Vera is stuck on the mat. Another elbow from Silva. And two more. Silva tries to pass to mount but Vera establishes half guard. Silva actually goes for a leg lock, but it doesn’t pan out. The horn sounds, they stand up and get in each other’s face; the ref needs to get between them. Hey, I thought Dana said this fight wasn’t going to the ground? LIAR! Anyway, Silva 10-9.
Round 2: Vera comes out swinging ferociously, landing a volley of punches and kicks. But Silva shakes Vera with a dead-on counter punch. They clinch against the fence, and Silva trips him to the mat. Vera tries some elbows off his back. Silva postures up and fires down. He takes a couple deep breaths, then fires down a series of punches. Vera is absolutely useless on his back. The crowd gets restless as Vera plays defense. Elbows from Silva. There’s the horn, and it’s another 10-9 for Thiago Silva. His corner tells him not to trade punches.
Round 3: Thiago with a body kick, Vera catches it and trips Silva down, then throws his arms up in celebration. ("Let’s have a toast for the douchebags!") Silva gets up, Vera lands a leg kick. Vera throws a high kick, Silva catches it, and they clinch against the fence. Silva puts him on the mat again and takes Vera’s back. Silva with knees to Vera’s leg. Silva with some punches to Vera’s head. Silva gives up back control…then goes back to it. Vera is on one knee against the cage. He’s back on his feet, but Silva is stuck on him. Silva with more punches from the back, and then a Sakuraba-style double-slap to Vera’s ears. More slaps from the Pitbull…is his hand broken, or he just trying to humiliate Vera? Silva just riding Vera’s back and beating the shit out of him. And so it goes to the end of the round. After the fight, we see that Vera has one of the most horrifically broken noses in MMA history. Jesus Christ, would you look at that thing. Vera shows it off to the crowd.
Thiago Silva def. Brandon Vera via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27 x 2). No time for a post-fight interview, and most likely no more UFC contract for Brandon Vera. A very different kind of fight for Thiago Silva…maybe not as exciting as his old slugging style, but it definitely got the job done.
Chris Leben vs. Brian Stann
Round 1: Leben throws a kick to the body. Stann returns one to the leg. Leben whips the left haymaker already. Leben with a leg kick. They clinch. Stann slugs Leben in the face a few times when Leben tries to drag him down. Leben gets into his dirty boxing and lands some great uppercuts. Back to clinching against the fence. Stann lands a body kick, Leben catches it. Stann lands a body kick, a left hook to the jaw, and a right straight that drops Leben. Stann jumps on and tries to finish, but Leben gets to his feet. Stann tries a guillotine, Leben gets out. Stann drops Leben again after some gnarly body shots, and again tries to finish. Zombie Leben manages to get to his feet again, and Stann lands a nasty knee that drops Leben for the final time. Stann jackhammers him until the ref calls it. Brian Stann def. Chris Leben via TKO, 3:37 of round 1. Stann dedicates the fight to a friend who just gave his life in Afghanistan. He says he called out Leben because Leben is the toughest guy on the UFC roster. "That could have happened to either of us tonight," Stann says. "It just happened to be my night."
And it’s confirmed that Anthony Pettis will get the next shot at the UFC lightweight belt.
Frankie Edgar vs. Gray Maynard
Round 1: They feel each other out for the first minute. Edgar finally lands a leg kick. Maynard lands a left hook that floors Edgar! Maynard dives on and lands another big shot when Edgar gets up. Maynard pours it on and drops Edgar again, firing down punches in bunches. Edgar desperately tries to get up…and does so. His nose is pouring blood. Maynard charging wildly and Edgar grabs onto a leg, then works to a clinch. They separate. Maynard with a left hook, then a right that drops Edgar again. Edgar gets up, Maynard drops him again. Amazingly, he’s still in the game, and gets to his feet. Edgar scores with a right. Maynard chasing with hooks. Edgar is wobbly. He pops the jab. Maynard chasing Edgar around the cage. Edgar lands a left. There’s the round. Great recovery at the end, but that could still be a 10-8 for Gray.
Round 2: Edgar fires a body kick. And a leg kick, followed by a punch. Gray to the body, Edgar counters. They clash with punches. Maynard lands a left uppercut. Edgar with a big right hand. He goes for a high kick. Maynard tries to shoot and is shrugged off. Edgar scores with a punch combo. Edgar picks Maynard up and body-slams him dramatically. Maynard gets off his ass and they’re back standing again. Edgar lands a nice right. Maynard shoots, Edgar defends and tags Maynard again. There’s the horn, and Edgar takes the round 10-9. In Gray’s corner, Randy Couture chastises Maynard for trying to knock Edgar out. "That’ll come!" Randy laments. "You just gave him that round!"
Round 3: Edgar springs forward and lands a right. Edgar mixes in a leg kick. He dashes forward with punches. Dude has his rhythm back. Edgar with a jab. He lands the right. Maynard shoots for a takedown, Edgar stuffs it. Maynard lands a jab. Edgar throws a body kick, Maynard catches it. Edgar with a jab, Maynard returns a hook. Maynard goes to the body then the head. He scores with an uppercut. Leg kick Maynard, left hook Edgar. Edgar with a kick. Maynard scoops up a kick from Edgar and gets him to the mat. Edgar gets to his feet, but Maynard puts him right back down. Edgar grabs a guillotine, but runs out of time. Time for the championship rounds.
Round 4: Maynard comes out jabbing. Edgar shoots forward and grabs a standing guillotine against the fence. Edgar throws in a knee and adds some punches when he can’t lock the choke. Edgar scores with another takedown. Maynard is back up. Edgar leg kicks, Maynard tries to grab him for a takedown, and Edgar shoves him off. Maynard shoots, Edgar sprawls, but Maynard lands some punches in the exit. Edgar grabs Maynard’s head and drives a knee into it. Edgar shoots forward and pressures Maynard against the fence. He scores with two hard left hands. They separate. Edgar with a flurry of punches. He shoots, Maynard defends. The round ends. It probably went to Edgar, and the last round could decide everything.
Round 5: Body kick Edgar. Maynard throwing the hook. Leg kick Edgar. Maynard lands the jab. And another. Edgar with a fast combo. Maynard responds with a hard counter. Maynard tries to shoot and gets kneed in the face for his troubles. Maynard shoots again, and this time he gets in a knee of his own when Edgar defends. Edgar goes to the body and head. They trade knees in a clinch. Edgar lands the left. Maynard shoots from too far away, Edgar stuffs. Edgar thinks about a shot. Maynard clinches up, Edgar defends. Maynard sneaks in a right straight, Edgar counters and lands another. Edgar stuffs Maynard’s takedown once again. Maynard tries again, Edgar sprawls. They face off and slug at each other for the final seconds. Unsurprisingly, this fight goes to the cards. Surprisingly, it was really entertaining. Not since Shields vs. Henderson has a fighter survived such a brutal first-round thrashing to basically control the rest of the fight.
The scores are: 48-46 Maynard (uh-oh), 48-46 Edgar, and 47-47 even…it’s a draw, and Edgar retains his belt. Edgar seems pretty down about it, and doesn’t have much to say about the first round, or the fight in general. "Shit man…I dunno…whaddya gonna do." He thanks his camp for being with him through the holidays. Maynard says he thought he won rounds 1, 3, and 5, and that the first was a 10-8. He’s pretty bummed too, but he wants a rematch. "Happy Fucking New Year," he tells the crowd. "Let’s do this shit again in 2011." Bro, it IS 2011!
They show the Greg Soto vs. Daniel Roberts fight from the prelims. Soto rocks Roberts standing, then sets up a guillotine on the mat. Roberts stands and Soto bashes him with knees to the head before they separate. Roberts shoots and gets Soto down. Roberts works for a kimura and sinks it. Daniel Roberts def. Greg Soto via submission (kimura), 3:45 of round 1.
And the fights you didn’t see…
– Jacob Volkmann def. Antonio McKee via split decision (29-28 x 2, 28-29). LOL, tough break Mandingo.