The Official Scorecard - UFC 125 - Resolution
The Ultimate Fighting Championship wasted no time getting 2011 off and running with UFC 125 – Resolution from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The eleven fight card was headlined with Frankie Edgar defending his UFC Lightweight Championship in a rematch with the only man to ever punch an “L” in Edgar’s record, Gray Maynard. Let’s go to the scorecard!
Antonio McKee(25-3-2) vs. Jacob Volkmann (11-2)
After 30 professional fights and career dating back to 1999, Antonio McKee finally mades his UFC debut against Jacob Volkmann who was looking for his third straight win in the UFC as a lightweight. Not much damage was inflicted by either fighter as neither could build much offensive momentum in the fight with the exception of Volkmann spending most of the second round with back control on McKee working for a Rear Naked Choke.
Jacob Volkmann wins via Split Decision
Fight Score: 4
Daniel Roberts (11-1) vs. Greg Soto (8-1)
A quick high-paced battle between two newcomers looking for a spot in the deep welterweight division saw Roberts survive some shaky moments on the feet to roll Soto up on the mat into the tight kimura for the win.
Daniel Roberts wins via Submission (Kimura) - Round 1 3:45
Fight Score: 6
Mike Thomas Brown (24-6) vs. Diego Nunes (15-1)
Big mistake putting this fight on the undercard. Mike Brown came out strong in the first round mauling Nunes against the fence and connecting with nearly twenty unanswered knees to the Nunes’ left thigh at one point. By the end of the first round, Nunes was having trouble walking and his left eye was totally swollen. In the second it was a whole new fight as Nunes attacked Brown’s body with multiple body kicks and hard spinning back kicks that looked like they drained Brown’s reserve. In the third, the former WEC Featherweight Champion had Nunes pressed against the fence again but couldn’t deliver same damage he had in the first.
Diego Nunes wins via Split Decision
Fight Score: 8.5
Phil Baroni (13-12) vs. Brad Tavares (6-0)
Phil Baroni came into this fight returning to middleweight and needing a win to stay relevant in the UFC after spending his last few fights as welterweight with mixed results. Brad Tavares was looking for his second straight UFC win after competing on Season 11 of The Ultimate Fighter. Baroni looked very composed in the opening minutes of the fight as he was began to dictate the pace of the fight but Tavares scored a head kick late in the first and swarmed all over Baroni until he earned the stoppage win.
Brad Tavares win via TKO - Round 1 4:20
Fight Score: 5.5
Josh Grispi (14-1) vs. Dustin Poirier (8-1)
Talk about a turn of events for Josh Grispi. Jose Aldo was scheduled to defend the UFC Featherweight Champion against Grispi in the co-main event of UFC 125. Unfortunately, Aldo suffered an injury and Dustin Poirier filled in as the bout dropped to the undercard. Poirier made the most of his opportunity and dominated the now-former number one contender for the featherweight crown. Even when the fight went to the ground, the place where Grispi should’ve had the definitive advantage, he couldn’t mount any real offense against Poirier. A breakout performance for Poirier who may not be ready for the champ, but he’s definitely ready for the top dogs at 145.
Dustin Poirier wins via Unanimous Decision
Fight Score: 7.5
Marcus Davis (17-7) vs. Jeremy Stephens (18-6)
Marcus Davis looked to be on his way towards a unanimous decision win in his lightweight debut over Stephens going into the third round of their matchup. Davis had used superior counter-punching and footwork for ten minutes to stay ahead of the younger Stephens. In the third round, Stephens came out hungry and pushed the pace with a sense of urgency leading to him absolutely obliterate Davis with right hand and follow up shot ala “Air Hendo” to seal the deal.
Jeremy Stephens wins via KO – Round 3 2:33
Fight Score: 6.5
Clay Guida (27-11) vs. Takanori Gomi (32-6)
Former Pride Lighweight Champion Takanori Gomi was looking to further reestablish himself atop the lightweight ranks against Clay Guida after being the first fighter to KO Tyson Griffin at UFC Live 2 in August 2010. Guida, known for his superhuman cardio and energy, employed a unique game plan of extreme head movement and footwork that made him look at he was perhaps enjoying his first rave. And say what you will about his style, it worked here against Gomi, who could never quite figure out Guida’s movement which nullified his senses releasing punches. In the second the fight went to the ground and Guida caught Gomi at his most vulnerable in the submission game.
Clay Guida wins via Submission (Guillotine Choke) – Round 2 4:27
Fight Score: 7
Nate Diaz (13-5) vs. Dong Hyun Kim (13-0-1)
Both men stepped into this fight looking at a win over the other as big step forward towards the upper echelon of the UFC welterweight division. The story of this fight was Kim’s top control game versus Diaz’ constant submission attack from the bottom. The action was high paced throughout and in spite of Diaz threatening subs throughout the duration of the fight, it was Kim’s top game and ground strikes that secured a decision win for the South Korean fighter. Diaz did look to finally wear out Kim in the fleeting moments of the last round, but it wasn’t enough. A case could be made for Diaz winning the second round based on activity from the bottom, but unless you’re Bas Rutten, good luck getting the judges’ nod with a guy on top of you.
Dong Hyun Kim wins via Unanimous Decision
Fight Score: 8
Thiago Silva (14-2) v. Brandon Vera (11-5)
Brandon Vera fought the first minute of each round of this fight against Silva like he was the Brandon Vera he’s promised he’d be: exciting, dynamic, and like a fighter who knew he needed a win. He spent the rest of the rounds either tied up with Silva against the cage or underneath Silva on the mat. Vera had no answers for Silva on the ground who grinded away for a decision win, absolutely destroying Vera’s nose in the process. Seriously, Vera suffered the gnarliest broken nose you’ll ever see in mixed martial arts.
Thiago Silva wins via Unanimous Decision
Fight Score: 6.5
Chris Leben (25-6) vs. Brian Stann (9-3)
Coming off back-to-back victories over Aaron Simpson and Yoshihiro Akiyama, Chris Leben was a win away from squaring off with the top contenders in the middleweight division. All he had to do was get passed Stann, a former WEC Light-Heavyweight Champion. Stann started the fight by utilizing a style of elusive footwork that’s proven effective versus Leben’s in your face power swinging. When Stann took a chance to go toe-to-toe with Leben, he blasted away and joined Anderson Silva as the only people to stop Leben with strikes.
Brian Stann wins via TKO – Round 1 3:37
Fight Score: 7.5
Frankie Edgar (13-1) vs. Gray Maynard (10-0)
Of their combined 23 wins coming into the fight, Edgar and Maynard have earned 16 of them by decision. The general consensus was that this was destined to be a boring five round decision win for the fighter able to secure top control for the longest.
So much for that happening.
Instead, this battle for the title turned out to be one of the best title fights in UFC history. Maynard opened the fight with the best case ever presented for a 10-7 round as he dropped Edgar numerous times in addition to multiple takedowns. Edgar was visibly dazed at the end of the round but came out strong in the second, regaining his composure while Maynard was looking to headhunt his way to the belt. By the time the championship rounds were underway, Edgar looked no worse for wear after the beating he took in the early minutes of the fights and controlled the rest of the fight.
It’s a rare, rare, fight when it’s tough to argue with a draw.
Split Draw – Frankie Edgar remain UFC Lightweight Champion
Fight Score: 9.5
Total 76.5 out of 110
Average Fight Score: 6.95
While 2011 will be home to dozens of UFC’s and hundreds of fights, I believe that UFC 125 is going to hold up as one of the stronger cards from top to bottom of the year. The main was a classic and while none of the undercard fights, with the exception of Josh Grispi, featured immediate title contenders, they all featured fighters making a case to establish themselves among the contenders in their respective divisions.