Click below for the UFC 136 main event report....
HOUSTON, October 8 – You can’t kill Frankie Edgar. If there’s a nuclear war, you would want the fighting pride of Toms River on your side. So after he survived another hellacious first round beating at the hands of Gray Maynard in their third bout Saturday night at Toyota Center, you just had an inkling that he would come back.
“Maybe I wanted to make it exciting, who knows,” smiled Edgar, who lost to Maynard in 2008 and drew with him in January of 2011.
He did. And he had some help from Maynard, a man who will likely be linked with long after their careers are over.
Both fighters bounced around the Octagon throughout Bruce Buffer’s introductions and referee Josh Rosenthal’s pre-fight instructions, clearly waiting for the opening bell and round nine to begin. But there would be no reckless energy burning off, as the two carefully approached each other, Edgar landing a stiff left hook in the early going before being turned back on a takedown attempt. Midway through the round, Maynard rocked Edgar with an uppercut, dodged a takedown, but then got caught with a flush right himself. With 1:40 left, a quick right from Maynard sent Edgar to the mat, and Maynard stalked with bad intentions as the now bloodied Edgar got up and looked to survive. A vicious knee sent Edgar down again, with more crimson coming from his nose, and though he got up quickly again, this time Maynard calmly put together his shots, not gassing himself out like he did when he had Edgar hurt in the first round of their January rematch.
Confidently moving around the Octagon, Maynard looked like a man just waiting for the one shot that would allow him to claim the belt. Edgar pressed the action, now forced into the role of aggressor to make up for the previous round, and he was able to land some punches in brief flurries. After doing some good work to get back in the fight, Edgar looked to up his fortunes even more with a takedown in the final two minutes, but Maynard wasn’t having it. The relative lack of activity from “The Bully” may have cost him the round though.
Maynard got back to his first round workrate in round three, and with Edgar staying busy as well, it appeared as if the fight was starting fresh again. It was Edgar landing the harder shots throughout the frame, even if they were only coming one at a time, and Maynard started to look flustered by his foe’s constant movement for the first time.
Edgar continued to potshot Maynard early in round four, and impressively he wasn’t getting frustrated by not being able to take Maynard down. Maynard saw his first takedown attempt stuffed as well, and with Edgar continuing to throw leg kicks into the mix, he looked to be gaining confidence with each passing moment. And amazingly, it was on another missed takedown attempt that Edgar hit paydirt, rocking Maynard with a right uppercut. As Maynard staggered to the fence, another big right landed, and another, sending the challenger to the mat. A follow-up barrage finished matters, with Rosenthal halting the bout at 3:54 of the round. Edgar's finish earned him not just the belt but a Fight of the Night award of $75,000.
With the win, Edgar, who retained his title for the third time, improves to 14-1-1; Maynard falls to 11-1-1, 1 NC.