UFC Fight Night 20: Post Fight Thoughts

Gray Maynard Picks Up Another Decision Victory In The Main Event Against Nate Diaz

There had been a suspicion leading up to this event that the main event could be somewhat of an anti-climax, and indeed that proved to be the case.  With Gray Maynard’s primary strength lying in his wrestling, and Nate Diaz’ in his Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, both fighters decision to slug it out on the feet instead resulted in a bout where neither man was able to make a major impact on the proceedings.

Diaz employed his usual swatting style – using his range to land pitter-patter, rather than power shots, but he has never been as effective in this regard as his older brother Nick.  Meanwhile Maynard had an orthadox boxing approach, but as we’ve seen in other recent fights, he wasn’t able to really turn up the heat and land the kind of shots that could have ended the fight inside the distance.

And so it became apparent that the judges scorecards were going to be necessary.  In the end Maynard edged it by split decision, but in truth either could have been given the nod.  Diaz landed the greater volume of punches, with the odd kick thrown in for good measure, while Maynard delivered fewer, but harder blows.  Ideally I beleive a draw would have been the fair result.

For Maynard the result marks his sixth decision in a row, and after failing to make an impact the title shot against BJ Penn is surely now destined to be handed to Frankie Edgar.  For Diaz, three losses in his last four fights means that he will be under pressure to get in the win column the next time he steps into the octagon.

Evan Dunham Makes A Statement With A Submission Victory Over Efrain Escudero

This was the only fight I called wrong in the pre-fight predictions, but it’s hard to be anything other than happy for Evan Dunham, who seized the opportunity to make a statement on the televised portion of the card, and claimed both the victory, and a ‘Submission Of The Night’ award over a tough opponent in Efrain Escudero.

It looked like a different story in the first round when Escudero dropped Dunham with a hard right hand and swarmed in on him looking to bring a close to the proceedings as he had done against Cole Miller in his last fight.  Dunham survived however, and showed great heart to turn the fight in his favor in the later rounds.

The end had an element of brutal beauty to it as Dunham caught his opponent in a triangle and then transitioned to a nasty looking armbar that he had next to no chance of escaping.  Refusing to give up his unbeaten record easily Escudero resisted tapping longer than he should have, leaving him with a trip to the hospital in his immediate future.

The win leaves Dunham’s unbeaten record intact at 10-0, and with three of those victories coming in the UFC he has now marked himself out as a serious challenger in the lightweight division.  Escudero may now has a loss on his record, but he still performed admirably, and there’s every chance that he will bounce back in his next fight.

Aaron Simpson Survives An Early Scare To Keep His Unbeaten Run Intact Against Tom Lawlor

This was expected to be a relatively easy win for Aaron Simpson, but a stellar first round performance from Tom Lawlor threatened to re-write the script of this encounter.  Lawlor’s solid, compact striking proved to be highly effective in the opening exchanges, catching Simpson with alarming regularity as he attempted to lunge in with strikes of his own.  The powerful blows quickly took their toll, and with Simpson being rocked repeatedly it appeared only a matter of time until Lawlor landed the killer punch that would end the fight.

Somehow, surely due to his well recognized conditioning and athletic ability, Simpson not only survived, but remarkably began to come back into the fight in the next round.  By the third round the amount of energy Lawlor had expended in the first became apparent and he notably faded, while Simpson dug deep into his considerable reserves and utlilized his wrestling to claim the round.

Leaving it in the hands of the judges this one had the potential to go either way, and it was Simpson emerged the victor by split decision.  The bout showed that Simpson has chinks in his armor, but at the same time showcased his resilience, his chin, and his desire to win.   It wasn’t a bad night for Lawlor either, who reminded the middleweight division that despite his humorous antics outside the cage, he is a fighter not to be taken lightly.   Both men were also rightly awarded the ‘Fight Of The Night’ for their troubles.

Amir Sadollah defeats Brad Blackburn by unanimous decision

Picking up from where his previous fight with Phil Baroni ended, Amir Sadollah put on another fine display of his muay thai striking skills against Brad Blackburn. During the course of the fight he succeeded in rocking his opponent a couple of times, including a big knee in the third round, but he appeared to take the wrong option on both occasions by taking the fight to the floor afterwards, when he would have been better served to keep it standing.

Credit must go to Blackburn for hanging in for the full rounds despite being on wobbly legs at times in the fight.  Though Sadollah did enough to secure all three rounds, he was caught a number of times during the fight.  That being said, despite the power Blackburn possesses he wasn’t able to land anything substantial that may have changed the course of the bout.

After his first round defeat by Johny Hendricks back in August of last year, it must be a relieve for the TUF 7 winner to now have two solid wins under his belt.  With just four professional fights under his belt he is showing good development, but having said that I believe there’s still plenty of room for improvement if he eventually wants to hang with the top of the food chain fighters in the UFC’s welterweight division.

Ross launched MMA Insight (previously FightOfTheNight.com) in 2009 as a way to channel his passion for the sport of mixed martial arts. He's since penned countless news stories and live fight reports along with dozens of feature articles as the lead writer for the site, reaching millions of fans in the process.