Frankie Edgar (13-1) vs. Gray Maynard (10-0-1)
In the UFC 125 main event, for the UFC lightweight crown, titleholder Frankie Edgar tries to defend his belt against the only fighter that’s defeated him, Gray Maynard.
On April 2, 2008, Maynard out wrestled and muscled his way to a unanimous decision win over the now champion. A lot has changed since 2008, though.
Frankie Edgar has hit his stride. His two victories over B.J. Penn were masterful displays of speed and strategy.
While Edgar was off winning the title, Maynard was winning fights and putting together an undefeated resume over a who’s who of the lightweight division. Under his list of accomplishments are wins over Kenny Florian, Nate Diaz, Roger Huerta, Jim Miller, and of course, Frankie Edgar.
A lot has changed since 2008, but as they say, “the more things change, the more they stay the same,” or something like that.
Edgar has developed excellent boxing ability with improved footwork and his agility allows him to move in and out, get off combinations and retreat.
Maynard’s boxing has also evolved, but this fight most likely isn’t going to be won on the feet.
Maynard is the bigger, stronger fighter, and the better wrestler. He proved it in their first meeting. Edgar is difficult to keep on his back, but Maynard should be able to win rounds with takedowns. Scrambles are going to be important, but takedowns stand out in the judges’ minds.
Neither is exactly known for finishes. The bulk of their wins are by decision. This one will likely go the distance. The unknown is how will Maynard look in the championship fourth and fifth rounds?
We’ve seen Edgar go five rounds at a furious pace against Penn twice. Maynard has never gassed in a bout before, but he’s also never fought a five-round fight.
I think the odds are dead on. Expect a competitive fight with each having their moments, but Maynard capturing the belt via decision.