Frankie Edgar pulled off one of the all-time greatest MMA upsets at UFC 112 when he defeated BJ Penn for the UFC lightweight championship. Edgar shocked the world and handed BJ Penn his first loss in the division since 2002, becoming the UFC lightweight champion. To some this was an upset, to others there was nothing surprising about the performance of Frankie Edgar.
BJ Penn walked into UFC 112 as a -700 favorite on the Vegas sports books going into his match against Frankie Edgar. In my UFC 112 preview, I wrote that I felt that the match was much closer than the betting odds indicated. While I didn’t expect Edgar to win the match, I knew it was going to be anything but an easy night for BJ Penn.
Frankie Edgar had a brilliant game plan. Edgar stuck and moved for five rounds with constant head movement which confused the champion for 30 minutes. BJ Penn was never able to corner Edgar and impose his will with strikes or ground and pound. Edgar never stopped moving and confused Penn with movements, strikes, and takedown attempts for all five rounds. Penn was obviously frustrated going into the championship rounds.
Up until this fight, BJ Penn had been on a tear in the division. Penn’s recent run through the division has been credited to his new strength and conditioning program. I don’t know what happened, but Penn looked really tired by the end of the fight while Edgar never stopped moving. I am really interested to see if there will be any stories coming out about BJ Penn falling back into his old habits and not taking the fight seriously. Penn hasn’t looked that tired in the championship rounds in a long time.
Frankie Edgar is going to be a tricky champion for Dana White to promote. Edgar isn’t a guy that is going to provide a lot of slug fests in UFC championship matches. Edgar is the kind of a fighter that hardcore fans will embrace, while casual fans may label as boring. I don’t think he is boring, but I don’t know how many people are going to run out to spend $44.95 to see five-rounds of Frankie Edgar vs. Kenny Florian or Frankie Edgar vs. Diego Sanchez. I think he has potential to be a better champion than people think, but not anywhere close to the star level of his fellow UFC champions.
The future of BJ Penn will get interesting fast. The obvious fight here is either against Kenny Florian or Clay Guida. The first Florian-Penn fight was very disappointing so I can’t imagine anyone being interested in a rematch. A Clay Guida fight would be real intriguing and something that the UFC can do really well with. I can’t imagine Penn losing to anyone on the road to a Frankie Edgar rematch.
As shocking as Edgar’s win was, the other shocker of the night was the performance of UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva. Anderson Silva literally clowned around with Demian Maia for two and a half rounds making a sheer mockery of the UFC and the match. While most fans likely thought it was fun at first, it went from fun to appalling with Silva heavily booed by the end of the night.
Maia almost pulled off the biggest upset in MMA history when he went for broke in the fourth round. Maia finally started connecting on some strikes and at one point looked to have Silva in some serious trouble. Whether it was Maia’s go-for-broke attitude, Silva’s fatigue, or a little bit of both, for a few seconds it looked like we may see the second upset of the night. By the fifth round one of Maia’s eyes had completely shut and Silva just danced around. I predicted in my UFC 112 preview that Silva would likely fight down to Maia and boy did he ever.
Dana White was reportedly furious by the end of the fight. Dana White’s post-UFC 112 comments through the week should be very interesting. It should be noted that White wouldn’t even get into the cage to strap the UFC middleweight belt around Silva’s waist. Silva said in the post-fight interview that he didn’t know what got into him and apologized. Seriously, was he kidding me?
Dana White was not shy about his dislike for Anderson Silva and his performance in the post UFC 112 presser. “I don’t think I’ve been more embarrassed in the 10 years of being in this business,” said White. “It’s the first I’ve ever walked out on a main event, given the belt to the guy’s manager and told him to put it on him.”
White also claimed he would make it up to the fans who “bought this s**t tonight.” I hope so because when I spend $44.95 to watch a fight I expect a fight, not a parody.
Anderson Silva’s next fight is no joke. Anderson Silva is scheduled to move down to 170 to face Georges St. Pierre. This is the Super Fight that fans have been talking about for two years. As of now it is scheduled to happen, but who knows how Dana White will react once the dust settles. I was begging GSP to re-cut his classic promo and tell Anderson Silva that “He wasn’t impressed with his performance” but no such luck.
In the other notable match of the night, Matt Hughes destroyed Renzo Gracie. The former UFC welterweight champion won via TKO at the 4:40 mark of Round 3. This fight was also an embarrassment, most notably Renzo Gracie. For someone who is so well respected, he sure put on a lame performance. Hughes battered Gracie with leg kicks throughout the fight until Gracie couldn’t stand up. Gracie just kept falling down in the final round until Hughes finally put the nail in the coffin and obliterated Gracie with strikes.
The best fight of the night was the UFC 112 pay-per-view opener between Kendall Grove and Mark Munoz. Grove dominated Munoz for the first round and came close to putting him away a few times. Munoz came back in the second round with some strikes. Grove went for a takedown, Munoz escaped, and then blasted him with some vicious ground and pound until the referee stopped the match. This was a great fight with Munoz on the verge of losing in the first round pulling a crazy comeback in the second round. Yes, on a UFC show with Anderson Silva, Matt Hughes, and BJ Penn, Mark Munoz had the fight of the night and the knockout of the night.
To me, that says it all about UFC 112.
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