The main event featured two future stars in the mixed martial arts world. Lightweight contender Kenny Florian stepped in with Joe Lauzon who was considered a true threat to derail Florian's quest for another title shot. Florian would have none of it.
The first round was action packed and fast paced as many people thought it would be. Both fighters were landing decent shots and at one time had the other in a bad position. Florian landed his sharp elbows and opened a cut on Lauzon's head. He was then warned for hitting on the back of the head. Lauzon seemed unfazed and kept moving forward.
The second round was all Kenny Florian. He dominated Lauzon and was able to get into a full mount position. He dropped big shots and more elbows. The punches didn't land very solid but when you land what seemed like 100 punches and can't do anything about it, it's tough on anyone. Lauzon was covering up and defending well but one final barrage was enough and the ref stepped in to call a halt to the fight.
I learned a lot about both fighters. Florian is legit and will be able to hang with anyone at 155 pounds. Joe Lauzon is a future star in the sport and will get much much better as he gets that much needed experience in the octagon. The heart that these two guys possess is off the charts. Florian is like a pit bull. Lauzon on the other hand has the never say die attitude. A lot of other fighters would have tapped out or crumbled but he wanted to keep going. Look for big things from both Kenny Florian and Joe Lauzon in the near future.
The fight of the night was Gray Maynard taking on Frankie Edgar. This was a battle of two more up and coming stars in the lightweight division. Edgar had been in with the stiffer competition so far in his young UFC career and Maynard wanted to show he's a force to be reckoned with. Gray did an excellent job proving he belongs with the big boys.
Gray Maynard won a unanimous decision in the fast paced fight. He put on a wrestling display and showed his much improved standup skills. Frank "The Answer" Edgar, had no answer for Maynard. He was dominated throughout the fifteen minutes and seemed very frustrated at times. Gray Maynard lived up to his "Bully" nickname in a very impressive win.
James Irvin and Houston Alexander are known for their no hold bar style. When this fight was announced I was expecting fireworks and boy did we get them. Irvin landed a perfect Superman punch and floored Alexander and then finished him with two solid punches. If you blinked, you probably missed this one. The fight tied a UFC record, eight seconds. WOW!
Nate Diaz looked very impressive yet again in his victory over Kurt Pellegrino. Diaz was dominated in the first round but scored a beautiful triangle choke in the second round to keep his winning streak alive.
To me the surprise of the night was Thiago Alves knocking out Karo Parisyan. The fight ended in the second round after Alves landed a beautiful knee followed by a few punches to finish Karo off.
Josh Neer def. Din Thomas via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Marcus Aurelio def. Ryan Roberts via submission (armbar) -- Round 1, 0:16
Manny Gamburyan def. Jeff Cox via submission (guillotine choke) -- Round 1, 1:41
Clay Guida def. Samy Schiavo via TKO (strikes) -- Round 1, 4:15
George Sotiropoulos def. Roman Mitichyan via TKO (strikes) -- Round 2, 2:24
Anthony Johnson def. Tommy Speer via TKO (strikes) -- Round 1, 0:51
James Irvin defeats Houston Alexander by KO at 0:08 of Round 1.
Nate Diaz defeats Kurt Pellegrino by tapout due to submission (triangle choke) at 3:06 of Round 2.
Matt Hamill defeats Tim Boetsch by TKO due to strikes at 1:25 of Round 2.
Thiago Alves defeats Karo Parisyan by TKO due to strikes at 0:34 of Round 2.
Anthony Johnson defeats Tommy Speer by KO at 0:51 of Round 2.
Gray Maynard defeats Frankie Edgar by Unanimous Decision (30-27 on all scorecards)
Kenny Florian defeats Joe Lauzon by TKO due to strikes at 3:28 of Round 2.
When a stacked fight card lives up to the hype, it's a great thing. It makes fight fans everywhere excited and looking for more. The UFC has done a phenomenal job yet again in 2008 to keep the rise of mixed martial arts going strong. And UFC 83 is only two weeks away.