Among all UFC title fights, the one to be contested this 1st of January comes closest to disproving the Aristotelian logic that “no two fighters are exactly the same.”
Well aren’t they almost the same?
Both are excellent wrestlers who have developed above average boxing skills and each has won eight of his last 10 fights by decision.
Here’s a recap of each fighter’s two victories that did not go the distance in their respective last 10:
Reigning UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar scored a first round TKO via punches over Mark Bocek on July 7, 2007 in UFC 73: Stacked.
Two years later, on December 5, 2009, he submitted Matt Veach with a rear-naked choke in the second round of their fight in the Ultimate Fighter 10 Finale.
Challenger Gray Maynard’s fight against Rob Emerson in the Ultimate Fighter 5 Finale on June 27, 2007 ended in a knockout—actually, a no contest off a “double knockout.”
In the second round, Maynard lifted and slammed Emerson to the canvass. Emerson immediately tapped out due to the resultant pain in his ribs.
Unfortunately, the referee claimed that Maynard could not continue himself because he banged his head on the floor and got knocked out momentarily from the force of his own slam. Maynard disagreed and insisted he was conscious all along.
Three months later on September 19, 2007, and perhaps to vent his ire over the controversial call of the referee in his previous fight, Maynard registered what was then the second fastest knockout in UFC history over Joe Veres, nine seconds into the first round in UFC Fight Night 11.
Hence, it has been all decision wins for Maynard, including his conquest of Edgar in their first fight in UFC Fight Night 13, held on April 2, 2008.
In short, both fighters have an even and mere 20 percent chance of winning a fight by stoppage, be it by tap out or knockout, judging from their last 10 match ups.
Also, based on the predictions of Bleacher Report’s MMA writers Trae Thomson, Jordy McElroy, Angel Rafael Cordero and Sean Smith, the New Year’s Day championship fireworks will last the full five rounds (and please count in my concurring opinion).
Thomson and McElroy pick Edgar while Cordero and Smith favor Maynard, and they are unanimous that whoever wins it will be by decision.
So if we MMA fans know what’s good for us, let’s all bow down our heads and pray that the judges for 2011’s very first UFC title fight will be blessed with good eyesight and judgment, that they will be spared any distraction outside of the Octagon.
It must be a good idea to dress up Arianny Celeste and the other Octagon Girls in evening gowns, or better yet in nun’s habits.
After all, who wants to start the new year with a bad decision?