Ring in this New Year with a new family tradition; watching two sweaty men grab at each other until one starts bleeding.
Ultimate Fighting Championship 125 will be available on pay-per-view this January 1st at 10PM western time and it has been built up to be a biggie. A total of eleven matches will be featured on the card with the main event featuring a rematch between Frankie “The Answer” Edgar and Gray “The Bully” Maynard.
For those who do not follow UFC or are educated in MMA, it is martial arts, Greco-Roman wrestling, and judo all rolled into one. It almost seems that the only real rule is that fighters cannot intentionally aim below the belt. Other than that, spinning heel kicks, inverted triangle chokeholds, and even premature celebratory moonwalks are fair game.
Some matches to watch out for aside from the Edgar Maynard rematch are Phil “New York Badass” Baroni vs. Brad Tavares, Nate Diaz vs. Dong Hyun “Stun Gun” Kim, and Clay “The Carpenter” Guida vs. Takanori “The Fireball Kid” Gomi. For the most part, UFC has done a good job in keeping this card balanced.
Let us discuss specifics.
Phil Baroni just cannot seem to catch a decent break. As it stands, he is standing at thirteen wins and twelve losses in his professional career with his longest win streak being three wins in a row. While a mere three of those wins came from his time in UFC, an astounding six losses also resulted from his UFC tenure. Specializing in striking, Baroni is riding on the fact that he needs to make statement by defeating his opponent, Brad Tavares. Tavares is a relative rookie with an impressive six wins undefeated streak and he looks to retain that streak by taking out the veteran Baroni. Tavares is a far lesser striker compared to Baroni but he makes up for the short end of the stick by being a takedown specialist. Baroni, keep your distance.
One man who does want to close the gap would be the submission specialist, Nate Diaz. Diaz, with twelve wins and five losses under his belt looks to take on the undefeated Korean fighter, Dong Hyun Kim, who remains undefeated with thirteen wins. While Diaz may be better at submissions, he has shown in the past that he his takedowns are poor; sometimes he was only able to apply a submission hold because his opponent presented the opportunity. Kim on the other hand would have little trouble Diaz on a trip down tumble lane. A black belt in Judo with training in wrestling and kickboxing, Kim has a deadly arsenal of strikes next to his ability to redirect the human body in any direction he pleases.
The tank vs. tank of the evening: Guida vs. Gomi. Sure, Guida’s lost eight matches before. Gomi’s lost six matches. What makes them so special? Guida has won twenty eight matches and Gomi has won thirty two. Both men have taken out enough men to fill the average class roster at BC. Guida is a rounded fighter who specializes in takedowns. There were times when the judges declared him a winner; and there are times when he throws someone down and tears off a limb or two for the tap. On January First, he faces his evil twin in Takanori Gomi who is a pure striker. Former Shooto Welterweight Champion, first and last Pride Lightweight Champion, four time All Japan Combat Wrestling Champion, and crowned the title of greatest lightweight fighter of all time by Fightmatrix.com, he has an enormous chip on his shoulder the size of the entire event. He started his career with a fourteen win streak and a win on Guida would only further cement his legacy. Even though these gentlemen are not the main event, they definitely are the biggest draw of the night.
And finally, the rematch of epic proportions. Frankie Edgar is currently considered to be the best lightweight fighter in the world by Sheerdog and MMA Weekly. But the story is like this. Once upon a time, nearly three years ago, Gray Maynard beat Edgar in a UFC Fight Night event. He is the only man to have beaten Edgar. Ever.
Years later, Edgar tried to forget the pain of losing by winning the UFC Lightweight title from BJ Penn and while the gold did alleviate his smarting ego for a while, it was not long before his past came back to haunt him. Last August, Maynard beat Kenny Florian to become the number one contender for the lightweight title which will be defended on January 1st, 2011 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
As New Years comes to a close, something has to give; Maynard’s undefeated streak or Edgar’s championship title.