LAS VEGAS, July 6 – In desperate need of a win after dropping three straight – albeit razor-thin decisions to Benson Henderson (twice) and Jose Aldo – former UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar got the victory he wanted in the UFC 162 co-main event at the MGM Grand Garden Arena Saturday night, outpointing tough as nails Charles Oliveira.
“It felt just as hard as a five round fight,” said Edgar, who was fighting in a non-title three rounder for the first time since 2009.
The unanimous decision for Edgar, who won for the first time since October of 2011, read 30-27 twice, and 29-28.
Edgar came out looking to get off to a fast start, and he did, getting the fight to the canvas in the opening minute. Oliveira dodged any danger, getting back to his feet and then pulling guard in an attempt to lock a submission on. Edgar, in Oliveira’s guard, tried to stay busy while avoiding his foe’s submission game as well, and in a scramble he shot back to a standing position. While standing, the taller Oliveira picked away at Edgar with punches and kicks, keeping Edgar from getting inside. With 1:20 left, “The Answer” began to find his range though, with his hard two punch combinations starting to land more frequently before he finished the round with a takedown.
Edgar appeared to be figuring out how to negate Oliveira’s height and reach advantages in the second round, but the Brazilian still landed enough shots to prove himself a difficult puzzle to completely figure out. The final minute of the round was punctuated by some crowd-pleasing striking exchanges, but it was an Edgar slam and a subsequent Oliveira guillotine choke attempt that drew the loudest cheers as the round closed.
Both fighters came out swinging to begin the final round, with Edgar making the biggest impression with a thudding right to the jaw. Oliveira continued to stalk, looking to impose his will on the New Jersey native, who ate his share of shots as well, giving the Brazilian more and more confidence. With two minutes left though, Edgar appeared to stun Oliveira, prompting the former lightweight boss to step on the gas and go for broke. What followed were several flush right hands that Oliveira took well, but as the fight ended, it was clear that Edgar had sealed the deal, even without securing the finish.
With the win, Edgar improves to 15-4-1; Oliveira falls to 16-4 with 1 NC.
Check out the post-fight interview from Frankie Edgar
Action shot of Frankie Edgar
KENNEDY vs. GRACIE
Tim Kennedy outlasted Roger Gracie in a clash of former Strikeforce middleweights, winning a clear-cut, but less than exciting, three round unanimous decision.
Scores were 30-27 twice, and 29-28.
Kennedy was able to get within striking range on the taller Gracie fairly easily, but the jiu-jitsu ace from Rio de Janeiro remained cool, easily scoring on his first takedown attempt. After some brief groundwork, the two rose, with Kennedy looking to keep it on the feet. Gracie’s second takedown attempt was successful as well, and this time he was able to get Kennedy’s back. With the Brazilian fans chanting and cheering him on, Gracie tried to finish, but it was Kennedy escaping and getting into top position as the round concluded.
Going back to the mat as the second round commenced, Kennedy took the dominant top spot, where he fired off ground strikes. Gracie got back to his feet in a scramble, but Kennedy kept him locked up against the fence, scoring with short strikes before getting a takedown. With under a minute remaining, referee Kim Winslow restarted the stalled action, but little of note occurred in the closing seconds.
The crowd got restless in the third, as the bout’s pace slowed to a crawl, with a wave started by the fans drawing more roars than the fighters. Kennedy did control what action was going on, as the fatigued Gracie simply didn’t have any gas left in his tank to mount any kind of offense.
Kennedy moves to 16-4 with the win; Gracie drops to 6-2.
Action shot of Tim Kennedy
BOETSCH vs. MUNOZ
After a July 2012 loss to Chris Weidman and a year filled with injuries and a ballooning in weight, middleweight contender Mark Munoz made a triumphant return to the Octagon, winning a three round unanimous decision over Tim Boetsch.
Scores were 30-26, 30-27, and 29-28.
“I feel amazing right now,” said Munoz. “I went through a depression, but I’m living proof what you can do with will and desire.”
The former Division I wrestlers tested each other’s grapping to start the bout, with Boetsch (16-6) drawing first blood with a slam followed by some ground strikes. Munoz got up quickly and after a few seconds was able to break Boetsch’s grip. “The Barbarian” kept the pressure on, but Munoz (13-3) adjusted well, getting his own takedowns in response. Boetsch’s defense was solid as well, but the trips to the mat were putting points in Munoz’ bank. As the final minute approached, the two slugged it out standing, with Munoz holding the edge before pushing Boetsch to the fence and keeping him there.
After a 90 second grappling battle against the fence to open round two, Boetsch got off some hard strikes that prompted a Munoz takedown. While grounded, Munoz took control, ripping off a barrage of hard rights to the body. Boetsch got up briefly, only to be taken right back to the mat, where he took more thudding body shots.
The third round held more of the same for Boetsch, as Munoz dominated the fight on the mat with his wrestling, submission attempts, and striking, leaving his foe with no means of escape.
Check out the post-fight interview from Mark Munoz
Action shot of Mark Munoz
SWANSON vs. SIVER
Featherweight contender Cub Swanson made a strong case for a shot at the featherweight title, stopping Dennis Siver in the third round to earn his fifth straight victory, fourth by knockout.
Several solid exchanges highlighted the opening stages of the bout, with both fighters getting off good shots before a missed kick by Swanson landed him on his back. Siver pounced immediately, working his top game as Swanson tried to force a restart. Siver wasn’t having it though, and he stayed busy with his strikes and positioning. With 30 seconds left, Swanson was able to fight loose and get back to his feet, scoring with two kicks as the round ended.
Siver’s kicks were on target in the second, largely keeping Swanson at bay while also scoring points. Swanson remained active with his strikes as well, even missing with a cartwheel kick that drew a roar from the crowd, but he wasn’t as effective as his opponent was. With under a minute left though, Swanson turned things around, flipping Siver in the air as the German went for a takedown, eventually landing in the full mount position. Siver was able to reverse position before the bell, but Swanson’s flash certainly made an impression on the fans and likely on the judges.
Swanson finally got his rhythm in the third round, and he began picking Siver apart at close range. A series of 1-2s jarred and then dropped Siver, and then Swanson unloaded with ground strikes, prompting referee Herb Dean to step in and stop the fight at 2:24 of the final round.
With the win, Swanson moves to 20-5; Siver falls to 21-9.
Check out the post-fight interview from Cub Swanson
Action shot of Cub Swanson and Dennis Siver
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Answer Man: Edgar Gets Back to His Winning Ways - UFC 162 Main Card Results
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