Frankie Edgar proved himself to be the king of comebacks tonight by once again suffering a devasting first round at the hands of Gray Maynard, and then bouncing back to win the fight definitely by TKO.
The first round of this fight was very reminiscent of their encounter in Las Vegas back in January as Maynard lived up to his ‘bully’ nickname with his powerful striking causing Edgar all sorts of problems.
The real damage began with a huge uppercut that stopped Edgar completely in his tracks for just a brief moment. It clearly had him hurt and it marked the beginning of an offensive assault from the challenger that would last much of the round.
During the action that followed Maynard landed a big knee and some heavy punches to the face before dropping him again.
Edgar desparately snatched for a takedown attempt from his knees but was shrugged off and got back up only to receive a further barrage of blows. A knee then dropped Edgar again and yet somehow he was back standing again, though blood was now pouring from his nose.
Somehow Edgar made it out of the last 30 seconds alive with his face covered in blood, but still in the fight.
As in their last fight Edgar came out looking remarkably fresh for the second round and continuing the sense of deja vu he began working his way back into the fight.
Maynard wasn’t looking nearly as tired as he did last time out, but as on that occasion his pace appeared to have slowed significantly and in fact struggled to get any real offense off during the five minute period.
That allowed Edgar to get back into his rhythm, using his speed and movement to his advantage. At one point he caught Maynard with a hard right hand though it didn’t appear to phase him.
Overall it wasn’t quite as dominant a second round as Edgar showed at the turn of the year, but it still looked to be good enough to secure it in his favor.
Onto round three and Maynard still appeared to be struggling to pick the tempo back up and rediscover the success he found in round one.
Meanwhile Edgar was in his groove, utilizing his trademark swift footwork, elusive head movement and quick in-and-out strikes.
There wasn’t a whole lot of offensive action to be had here, but what there was of it clearly came from Edgar and this is another round in his favor.
Edgar has been finding some success with the straight right in the previous rounds and he did so again early in the fourth and the blows appeared to be unsettling Maynard more now. An uppercut also lands solidly, forcing him backwards.
Still struggling to get his way back into the fight Maynard changed things up and went for a rare takedown attempt, but Edgar stuffed it. Before long he tried for another one, but again Edgar breaks free.
Then Edgar landed with a big uppercut and Maynard dropped backwards to the canvas. He got back up but he was struggling to get his legs under him and Edgar came wading forward with power shots and Maynard slumped down to his knees against the cage.
Edgar continued to blast away at his downed opponent and as Maynard wilted completely the referee jumped in to save him.
It’s a spectacular ending to another remarkable peformance from Edgar who’s rapidly becoming MMA’s equivalent of Rocky.
The way the fight was heading if it had went the distance then there may still have been some doubt about who the better man was, but the TKO ending ensured that there’s no doubt that Edgar deserves to have the belt around his waist.
As for Maynard, this will be a tough loss to take, but on reflection he’ll surely be kicking himself for failing to continue to take the fight to Edgar after once again being close to finishing him in the first round.