Many people may have been underwhelmed by the prospect of a Frankie Edgar Vs Gray Maynard title fight, but the two lightweight’s ended up producing some of the most exciting action we’ll see in 2011 in the early rounds of this tough five round battle.
Round one could scarcely have went better for Gray Maynard who dropped Frankie Edgar multiple times during what was more than likely the longest five minutes of his opponent’s life.
After landing a huge left that floored Edgar early in the round Maynard suddenly was finding the normally elusive fighter with almost every punch he was throwing, many of them landing heavy. After finding his way to his feet under a barrage of strikes Edgar could find no respite from the onslaught and was staggered to the floor again.
Edgar fights to his feet only to be met with a vicious uppercut that puts him straight back down again and there’s real danger of the fight being stopped now with only the champions heart keeping him in there. He does survive against the odds though and manages to walk on wobbly legs back to his corner after the bell.
Remarkably Edgar came out for the second round looking much fresher than anyone could have anticipated and settled back into his familiar striking style. Meanwhile after exerting a tremendous amount of energy trying to finish him in the first Maynard looked to have slowed down. It was now Edgar who was finding a home for his punches and connected cleanly to his opponents jaw several times during the round. Despite Maynard being considered the better wrestler Edgar also slammed Maynard to the ground at one stage, although ‘The Bully’ quickly got back to his feet.
The third is more even as the pace slows just a little after a frantic opening two rounds. Both fighters have their moments with Maynard securing a takedown, while Edgar locked in a guillotine in the final seconds.
In the fourth Edgar looks the fresher fighter and pushes the pace, finding some success with takedowns along with a guillotine attempt and the better of the stand-up with Maynard’s punches now looking labored.
The fifth and final round is another fairly even one with Edgar still looking lighter on his feet and throwing some good combinations, but Maynard also manages to land some solid shots. The final seconds run down with both men going toe-to-toe but neither can find a definitive blow and it’s left to the judges to decide the outcome.
It’s an extremely close fight and that’s shown in the scorecards with the judges unable to agree, and it goes down in the history books as a draw (48-46, 46-48, 47-47).
The later rounds couldn’t match the excitement of the first two, but overall this was a much better fight than anyone would have predicted beforehand. Maynard showed the improvements in his stand-up in the first, displaying genuine power and was unlucky not to finish. It was just unfortunate that his output in the round affected his performance from then on.
As for Edgar, he showed remarkable heart and guts to come back from a brutal beating to put on the kind of performance he did. Despite being disappointed with the draw this is the kind of display that will help win him a lot of new fans.