Well, it wasn't exciting, but it was a win.
Last night Kenny Florian faced Gray Maynard for the opportunity to fight for gold in the UFC lightweight division. I, personally, was very vocal on a) How Kenny should be the one pushing current champ Frankie Edgar in his first title defense, and b) how there was any/ no way that Gray could win this fight.
Through out the majority of this fight, fighters were incredibly wary of each other's strong points (Gray's wrestling and Kenny's striking). This in turn lead to a fairly non eventful fight, as both fighters appeared hesitant to commit and pull the trigger.
While 2 out of the 3 judges awarded all three rounds to Maynard, I gave the first round to Florian. While Gray did secure a takedown at 1:14 of the first round, he was ineffective at inflicting damage. While on the feet Kenny landed solid and effective striking, looking almost Silva like in the way that he eluded Gray's punches. But this fight was won by take downs, not damage.
The UFC (and MMA in general) score fights by:
What does any of this actually mean? How is striking compared with a take down? How many clean shots are considered equivalent to a take down? While the ground game is an integral part of MMA, how can holding someone on the ground (while doing no damage) be considered a "win"?
I'm not criticizing, simply asking. While I may have been a student of the sport my entire life, even I feel confused sometimes with the scoring system employed by MMA.
I've just now decided that this will be my next article. But that is a tangent.
One thing that I did enjoy about this fight is the way the Gray Maynard is acting like he has a fire under his ass. Gray has always presented himself as kind of a "laid back, go with the flow" kinda guy. In the lead up to this fight, however, Gray was increasingly vocal and aggressive about his desire to be at the top. He wants the belt. He feels he deserves the belt. He's ready. He is also the only one to defeat the current champ.
Maybe getting passed up is what pissed him off. So congratulations, Gray. Whether you have beaten Edgar previously or not, the fact of the matter is that you are now going to fight the guy that just destroyed the best 155 pounder on the planet...I'll watch it.