The FightLockdown Verdict: Maynard vs. Edgar 2Author : Miles Hackett
Tuesday, 04 January 2011 23:00
This past weekend, we brought in the New Year with a highly entertaining lightweight fight that was decided by a controversial decision. Gray Maynard/Frankie Edgar 2 was a much better contest than most had expected it to be, which made it enjoyable to watch, but a challenge to score. Enter FLD’s part-time MMA judges, Miles Hackett, Jack Barrington, and Brad Taschuk, who will welcome 2011 with the third installment of our highly vaunted FightLockdown Verdict. Read over their scorecards and decide for yourself which writer’s verdict you agree with most, after the break!
Miles Hackett’s Scorecard
Round #1: The big discussion surrounding this round is whether it was a 10-8 or a 10-7. I personally believe that it was a 10-8 and not a completely dominant 10-7 because Edgar, despite being badly hurt on numerous occasions, was not entirely on the defensive throughout the whole 5 minutes. Had Edgar not repeatedly landed leg kicks and tagged Maynard with some crisp (albeit not powerful) punches, I would have no issue with giving a 10-7. That said, Edgar was still trying to find ways to intelligently attack, rather than completely yielding to Maynard’s offensive onslaught. 10-8 Maynard.
Round #2: This round was fairly clear-cut, in my opinion. Maynard seemed to be taking a bit of a rest after the frenetic first round, which gave Edgar a chance to find his legs, where he began to establish his in-and-out rhythmic movement. Edgar landed the much cleaner and significant punches, secured a slam (although it led to nothing), scored a few kicks, and generally had superior defense while forcing Maynard to fight at his pace. 10-9 Edgar.
Round #3: Round three seems to be the most controversially scored of this classic. The first 2.5 minutes belonged to Edgar because as Maynard measured his left hook and uppercut, Edgar was busier with kicks and evaded/blocked most of what was thrown his way. Maynard finally landed a left hook-uppercut combo and a couple of jabs, that encouraged Edgar’s nose to start bleeding again, but none of the shots really affected him the same way that the ones in the first round did. Maynard definitely became the aggressor towards the end of the round, but even when he finally secured a takedown, he accomplished nothing with it. Most people (even Maynard’s corner) are under the impression that when a fighter secures a takedown at the end of a round, they somehow steal it. Sure, that makes sense in close rounds where not much has happened, but the difference here is that Edgar already scored early in the round and Maynard actually ended up having to defend submissions. Had Maynard not found himself defending submissions in the last thirty seconds and advanced to a dominant position, that takedown might have given him the round, but to me, due to his inactivity in the first few minutes as well as his inability to spur a significant/consistent offensive spell, this round belongs to Edgar by a fraction. 10-9 Edgar.
Round#4: Pace picks up in the 4th round, but Edgar momentarily secures a takedown that leads to a submission attempt. Edgar secured another takedown, almost has the back, but ultimately achieves nothing of note with it. Maynard’s punches became laboured in this round and while he landed a couple of nice pawing jabs, he found himself hitting mostly air. Conversely, Edgar snuck in a few low kicks, right hands, and left hooks, although none of which really buckled Maynard. Against the fence, Edgar was busier and landed some nice left hooks as Gray was catching his breath. Maynard’s inactivity and Edgar’s business with flurries coming forward definitely gave this round to Edgar, in my eyes. 10-9 Edgar.
Round #5: By this round it’s clear that the pace of the bout is starting to effect both men. Clean punches are exchanged by both fighters with Maynard’s single shots having more power, while Edgar’s less weighted strikes are landing more consistently and in sequence of each other. Both Edgar and Maynard fail to take each other down and exchange knees to the head and body, but it’s important to note Edgar’s activity level. Edgar not only appears to be busier than the more judicious (or hesitant, depending on how you read his performance) Maynard, but he lands more frequently too, and even though the shots aren’t that powerful, as evidenced by the fact that Maynard continued to advance – they’re still scoring. I think an overlooked component in this round – which causes many people to score it even – is the disparity between both men’s defensive skill. While it’s impressive that Edgar stayed busy and landed consistently, it’s more impressive that he did so without incurring too much damage as he forced Maynard to miss on frequent occasion using simple lateral movement. This important detail gives a fairly close round to “The Answer”. 10-9 Edgar.
This fight, to me, is MMA’s equivalent of the first meeting between Juan Manuel Marquez and Manny Pacquiao, where in the first round JMM was floored three times and came back to secure a draw (and in some people’s minds he even won). Edgar was crushed in the first round, but once he adapted defensively to Maynard’s left hook, established his movement and integrated his complete MMA skills into the fold, the ebb of the fight began to swing in his favour. It’s not just Maynard’s lack of activity that really hurt him in the close rounds I scored for Edgar (3 and 5), but Edgar’s ability to stay active while thwarting the majority of Maynard’s offense using his defensive skills (lateral movement in particular). A great fight, but in my opinion, Edgar should have emerged victorious.
Jack Barrington’s Scorecard
Round #1: From a judge’s perspective, I find it hard to see how this round can be scored any less than 10-7. While it was relatively even early, with a leg kick from Edgar being the most telling blow, Maynard really took over from the first time he dropped Edgar. Dropped as a result of punches four times and throwing himself to the floor as he lunged for something to hold onto several more; Edgar was thoroughly dominated in this round and was close to being stopped on at least two occasions. When Edgar was on his feet he was backpedalling, sometimes even turning his back on Maynard, and it is a credit to him that we are even having this debate. A 10-7 is rare in MMA, but considering Edgar was dropped and almost finished several times, and landed only two leg kicks and a handful of insignificant punches in response, then it is definitely a warranted score. 10-7 Maynard.
Round #2: You couldn’t really ask for an easier round to score. With Maynard tiring from the first and Edgar just finding his legs, Edgar made excellent use of lateral movement and distance control to outwork Maynard; making him miss on several occasions and throwing combinations back at him as Gray lunged. 10-9 Edgar.
Round #3: The third was a very tight round with little daylight between the two men. Edgar gained the upper hand early with more good use of his movement, landing some nice leg kicks as Gray failed to cut him off effectively. As the round wore on, however, Gray remained the aggressor and found more success cutting off the cage and landing shots which seemed to bother Edgar. A very close round as while Edgar looked to outwork Maynard, the challenger landed the more effective shots and was the aggressor throughout; with the champion abandoning the centre of the ring. I gave a slight edge to Maynard, as I felt he was the vaguely more effective fighter, but scored the round even. 10-10.
Round #4: The fourth was a similar round to the second, only Edgar really turned up his activity and aggression levels. Obviously looking to make amends for his passivity in the third, Edgar took the centre of the cage more and used his speed to combat Maynard’s power. He landed a good knee, which was by far his most effective shot of the night, threatened to end things with a guillotine attempt, and took advantage of the openings his movement had given him all night; pressing the takedown and putting the off balance Maynard on his back when he lunged. A clear Edgar round. 10-9 Edgar.
Round #5: This was a round similar to the third, only with the battle for the centre of the cage a lot more evident. Edgar looked to pick up where he left off in the fourth, getting in Maynard’s face and combating power with speed, however his gas tank let him down and while his lateral movement was still crisp and snappy, his punches just weren’t. Edgar’s jab had less of an effect in this round, which allowed Maynard to live up to his nickname and bully the champion at times. Neither man had success with their takedowns so the round came down to who was the more effective striker. Edgar’s movement frustrated Maynard at times but when Maynard did manage to land, his strikes had a noticeable effect on Edgar’s confidence. The edge goes to Edgar, but with his strikes lacking in power he just didn’t land enough in volume to steal this round. 10-10.
The Pacquiao vs. Marquez 1 comparisons will obviously be thrown around, and in all honesty they should be as this fight followed much of the same narrative. One man hurt badly in the first round but picked himself up to win the rest of the fight, making things very competitive in the process. Unfortunately for Edgar, Marquez had 11 rounds recover the deficit whereas he had only four. Edgar’s lack of aggression in the third and slowing jab in the fifth cost him this fight on my scorecard, with his punch volume failing to outweigh the lack of power and significance behind his strikes. It seems almost sad looking back, but this was a fight decided in the very first round, and with Edgar always playing catch up he didn’t quite show the urgency needed to retain his title on my card. I look forward to the rematch.
Brad Taschuk’s Scorecard
Round #1: I counted six separate occasions in this round, in two entirely different sequences, where Maynard's strikes resulted in Edgar hitting the mat. It's not the six times that Edgar hit the mat which caused me to score this stanza the way I did (although that number is astounding), but the fact that he survived Maynard's first onslaught, got his wits about him (to a degree) by keeping distance and then gaining himself some time by working in the clinch, and then had it happen all over again. You can argue that Edgar was throwing offense of his own back at the end, but at best it was clumsy and ineffectual. 10-7 Maynard.
Round #2: Maynard comes out looking a bit ragged, and seems to be trying to replicate his first round performance with big left hooks, while Edgar comes out looking as if he's completely forgotten the first round. Edgar begins to settle into his rhythm fairly early on in this round, landing his in-out combinations as Maynard swipes at air for the most part. Towards the middle of the round, Maynard finds his range again, landing another left hook and a solid uppercut, but aside from another left hook late, those were his only significant blows. To me, this round was decided by the series of right hands Edgar landed in the final 30 seconds, as up until that point he was his typical "look busy without really accomplishing anything" self. 10-9 Edgar.
Round #3: Edgar once again with his trademark movement, "scores" with an early right. I use the quotation marks because as with many of Edgar's punches, it seems like he is punching at his opponent, rather than through his opponent, which manifests itself in his shots simply not packing a lot of power. At any rate, I digress. Edgar lands a few kicks. Maynard begins pursuing Edgar with a bit more vigour, landing a couple left hooks in the process. Edgar is getting the better of the kicking, but Maynard seems to come out on top as they exchange hands. The pace slows, and a single is defended well by Edgar. Maynard picks up his work-rate, landing another uppercut, left hook combo. Another nice combo from Maynard around the 1:30 mark. Edgar fires back with a combination of his own. Maynard secures a takedown, and Edgar looks busy on the bottom with sub attempts that are nowhere near close, but none of that changes my scoring of the round just as Edgar's takedown in the second had no bearing. 10-9 Maynard -- based on the first 4 minutes on the feet.
Round #4: Maynard comes out looking busy, but not landing. Edgar secures a guillotine from a scramble on the cage that threatens for a moment, but is ultimately unsuccessful. Edgar scores a takedown and almost takes the back, but the fighters return to their feet. More kicks from Edgar, then he shrugs off a Maynard takedown and lands a right. Fighters trading failed takedown attempts. Edgar keeping just out of range as Maynard misses everything, then the champ lands a decent knee, forces Maynard up against the cage and lands a few solid lefts. Edgar definitely looking his best thus far in the fight in this round with more movement and quick punches. 10-9 Edgar -- in the clearest round other than the first.
Round #5: Both fighters with the proverbial "sense of urgency". Edgar with more kicks while able to avoid Maynard trying to employ the jab. A left hook is traded for a right hook. Maynard lands a solid left at 3:30 but Edgar answers right back. A couple weak takedown attempts from the challenger. Not a ton landing, but Edgar hits a left hook around 2:20, then they fall into a clinch and exchange knees. More range finding punches that don't find the range. Nice combination from Edgar around 0:50. Fighters exchange to the bell, but nothing of consequence lands. The fifth round was definitely the closest of the fight, however neither fighter did anything to take the round from the other. You could see that the pace of the fight had taken its toll on both combatants, even the normally defatigable champion. 10-10.
The biggest story in this fight to me was the huge power disparity between the champion and challenger. When Maynard hit Edgar, it affected him, but the same cannot be said the other way. To me the first round really decided this fight, as it should have, since Maynard's offensive output in that round was greater than his opponent's throughout the next 20 minutes. People often deride the 10-point must system, but when employed properly with 10-10 rounds and rounds being scored lower than 10-9 if applicable, it really does work.
Recap and Final Scorecard Comparison
Round #1: 10-8 Maynard.
Round #2: 10-9 Edgar.
Round #3: 10-9 Edgar.
Round #4: 10-9 Edgar.
Round #5: 10-9 Edgar.
Miles’ Final Score: 48-46 for Frankie Edgar.
Round #1: 10-7 Maynard.
Round #2: 10-9 Edgar.
Round #3: 10-10.
Round #4: 10-9 Edgar.
Round #5: 10-10.
Jack's Final Score: 48-47 for Gray Maynard.
Round #1: 10-7 Maynard.
Round #2: 10-9 Edgar.
Round #3: 10-9 Maynard.
Round #4: 10-9 Edgar.
Round #5: 10-10.
Brad’s Final Score: 48-46 for Gray Maynard.
The FightLockdown Verdict: Gray Maynard wins via Split Decision (48-47, 48-46, 46-48).
The Official UFC Scorecards: Draw. (48-46 Maynard, 48-46 Edgar, 47-47).
Interesting Comparative Notes
- 2 of the 3 FLD judges felt the first round was a 10-7 round for Maynard.
- none of the Official Judges Scored the first round bigger than 10-8 for Maynard.
- all three FLD judges scored the 2nd and 4th rounds 10-9 for Edgar.
- all of three Official Judges scored the 2nd and 4th rounds 10-9 Edgar.
- only 1 of the 3 FLD judges scored the 3rd round for Edgar.
- 2 of the 3 Official Judges gave the third round 10-9 to Edgar.
- 2 of the 3 Official Judges scored the 5th round for Maynard.
- only 1 of the 3 FLD judges didn’t give out a single 10-10 round.
- none of the Official Judges scored a single round even.
- not one FLD judge scored the fight a draw.
- all three FLD judges ended up with different final scores.
By simply comparing the Official Scorecards with the FLD Judges’ takes on the fight, it becomes pretty clear that this is one of the most problematic to score in recent memory. Right off the bat the issue with scoring the first round a 10-8 or a 10-7 presents itself and, on-top of that, in the closer rounds (such as 3 and 5) the question arises whether either fighter did enough to win? How much is a takedown worth if it ends up causing more problems than good? How much do a few effective power shots outweigh an accumulative pitter-patter punching pattern? Does it? This contest presents so many questions to consider and ultimately we’re left with no resolution until the rubber rematch. Great food for thought, nonetheless.