Tonight, Inside Fights is providing the very best live coverage for UFC 118, with the organisation makingt its Massachusetts debut at Boston’s TD Garden. The main card airs lives on pay per view from 10pm ET with a live Spike Pre-lim special airing from 9pm ET.
The event is headlined by former champion BJ Penn seeking to regain the World Lightweight Title in a rematch with Frankie Edgar while Randy Couture takes on James Toney in a special “UFC vs Boxing” superfight. Join Will Cooling at 9pm ET for live coverage of all the night’s action.
The full match listing is as follows:
MAIN CARD (click on hyperlink for Inside Fights preview of the match)
PRELIMINARY CARD (Spike TV)
- Joe Lauzon (156) vs. Gabe Ruediger (155)
- Nik Lentz (155) vs. Andre Winner (154)
- Dan Miller (185) vs. John Salter (185)
- Nick Osipczak (171) vs. Greg Soto (170)
- Amilcar Alves (171) vs. Mike Pierce (171)
Welcome fight fans, for Inside Fights live coverage of tonight’s UFC action. After the great cards the UFC put together for UFC 116 and UFC 118 it seemed hard for the organisation to put together a special card for Dana White’s Boston homecoming but somehow they’ve done it. An instant rematch for the World Lightweight Title between Frankie Edgar and former champion BJ Penn headlines, with the UFC vs. Boxing superfight between Randy Couture and James Toney in support. Not only that but Nate Diaz vs. Marcus Davis has Fight of the Night written all over it while Kenny Florian and Gray Maynard battle to decide who will face the winner of the world title fight. Too many shows? Forget about it!
We start with the Spike pre-lims.
Nik Lentz (155) vs. Andre Winner (154)
Big height and reach advantage for England’s own Andre Winner. Lentz shots for the takedown, pushes Winner across the Octagon. Winner shows good takedown defense, staying on his feet while landing some good shots to Lentz head. Lentz pushes Winner up against the cage, finds the space for a single leg but Winner gets back up. Lentz doesn’t disengage and gets the takedown again. Winner again gets back up but Lentz is still pushing for the takedown. Lentz throwing some good knees to the midsection. Lentz going for a single-leg, but Lentz is showing excellent balance. They finally seperate but Lentz shots for another takedown. Lentz again pushes Winner up against the cage, but Winner gets a good knee in. Winner is showing superb taking defense, but while he’s knees to the mid-section are good they’re not enough to outpoint the wrestler. Lentz still has Winner’s leg, literally dragging Winner along. Winner gets the Thai clinch and drops some great elbows. Lentz using the cage to get the takedown but Winner is quickly back up. Winner throws some really nice punches, landing a left hook right on the button. Lentz’s round 10-9 but both looked good.
Lentz is relentless and Winner really needs to add some takedown avoidance to compliment his freakish takedown defense. At the moment he’s getting sucked into the old Clay Guida trap of allowing the wrestling to control the action while he defends the takedown. Lentz is pushing for a takedown but just can’t get him down, even at one point hoisting him up into the air but still not getting the takedown. Winner landing some good knees to the mid-section and goes for a standing kimura but couldn’t get it. They disengage and Winner lands a nice right hook. Lentz is able to close the distance, engage and gets the takedown but Winner is quickly back on his feet. Lentz is again pushing the action but can’t get the takedown. Winner gets slammed in what can only be described as a backbody drop, but he’s able to defend himself pretty well. But he quickly gets back on his feet AGAIN. Another intriguing round with Lentz just constantly pushing the action with his wrestling but unable to really take Winner down. Still Lentz round who on my scorecard now leads 20-18.
Crowd boos, maybe they fought they were coming to see a boxing match? Winner opens up and has the better of Lentz standing. But Lentz quickly moves in and takes Winner down. He gets the takedown pretty quickly but Winner is again able to get back up. This is freakish takedown defense but ITS NOT ENOUGH. Lentz gets Winner down, and eventually gets his back. Winner spins into Lentz, but the American finally has a solid position on the ground. Winner is defending well but Lentz is mixing weak ground and pound and submission attempts to pose multiple problems for him. Both fghters are exhausted, the fight has slowed down to a standstill. Lentz is doing just enough to stay busy but the fight is stuck. The crowd are not happy, booing heavily. Fight ends with Lentz again trying for a choke. Another 10-9 round for Lentz, who thoroughly neutralised Winner. I have it 30-27 to Lentz.
Judges give it to Lentz obviously. I genuinely found that an interesting fight. Lentz was always pushing the action and Winner showed freakish takedown defense. Winner really needs to improve his takedown avoidance – he was slow to sieze opportunities to disengage and he stood at angles that made it easier for Lentz to rush in. Lentz could do with learning how to better setup his takedowns – all he was doing was putting his headdown and shooting. That’s predictable and ensures that your opponent is braced for the takedown. It would be better if he could use his boxing more to setup the takedowns and give his opponent more to think about.
Nick Lentz defeats Andre Winner via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 30-27)
Joe Lauzon (156) vs. Gabe Ruediger (155)
You may be surprised to learn that they’re pushing UFC 120 and UFC Fan Expo pretty hard in the adverts. That’s preferable to that horrible Pepsi Max which literally uses rape as a punchline to sell the poor man’s coke’s weak-assed version of Red Bull. And we’re back with two fighters who physically are the same but MYGOD does Lauzon have a huge hometown following. Lauzon connects with a big right hand and gets a huge takedown. Lauzon moves into side-control, tries to take the back and get a choke but Ruediger spins out. Lauzon is steam-rolling Ruediger, just moving with an aggression and intensity that you rarely see. Lauzon is dropping nasty elbows from the top and the crowd is going crazy. Ruediger cannot cope with this and you can’t blame him. Ruediger gets back to his feet but Lauzon gets a huge slam. He quickly moves to get the ambar and its all over at 2:01. Wow. Just wow. WWE – that is how you book a hometown guy. Just a fantastic performance from Lauzon who just came in fired up and steamrollered Ruediger.
Joe Lauzon demolished Gabe Ruediger via Submission (armbar) at 2.02
We’re now getting Dan Miller vs. John Salter from earlier on tonight, which means that there’s only two remaining pre-lims to show should fights go short. Dan Miller is on a three-fight losing streak and so is surely fighting for his very career. And he saves it with a power guillotine choke in the second round after sprawling against Salter’s takedown. Decent fight, good finish.
The pre-lims special ends with Dana White and Joe Rogan doing the hard sell – Dana White says that Toney has come in good shape. Hmmmm, not sure about that one.
Marcus Davis (170) vs. Nate Diaz (171)
We’re starting what could be an absolute beauty of a match, with the all-action, heavy handed former pro-boxer Marcus Davis taking on the always entertaining Nate Diaz. This is my pick for Fight of the Night, both usually have fun fights and their styles should mesh perfectly. This is legitimately the fight I’ve most been looking forward to all week. Good reaction for the New England native Marcus Davis. Diaz looks much better at 170Ibs – always seemed undersized at lightweight but he’s filled out well for what will be his second fight at 170Ibs. Big height and reach advantage for Diaz, who is also ten years younger than the veteran. That could make all the difference in the standing exchanges.
Both are fighting southpaw. Low kick from Diaz. Davis gets a left hand through. Another leg kick from Diaz. Diaz taunts Davis, who responds by moving inside and unloading on Davis with several punches that knocks Diaz down. Some ground and pound from Davis but Diaz is able to get up. Davis has a big cut around his hand. Big Diaz Sucks chant. Several furious boxing exchanges between these two, just going hell for leather. Diaz is working his kicks into his boxing. Diaz tries to go for a takedown but Davis spins out. Diaz goes for a single-leg, but can’t get it. Difficult to judge who’s getting the best of these boxing exchanging – Diaz is punching more but he’s also missing more. Davis seems to be landing with the overhand left but his lack of reach is a big issue. The eye is bothering Davis but again he lands a left on the chin of Diaz. Diaz throws a couple of kicks to the body. Great first round – furious standing exchanges, with Davis doing his best to close distance and impose himself on the bigger Diaz. Difficult to score but I’d give it to Davis for that opening exchange. 10-9 Davis.
They open with more boxing exchanges, with Diaz getting the better with a nice hook. Diaz tries to go for the single-leg but once again Davis is able to block. They start trading again with Diaz again connecting more, largely due to the reach advantage. Davis trying to come in and land but can’t get anywhere near Diaz. Davis is bleeding out of his nose. Diaz was controlling with jabs, but Davis charges in with a really good right hand. Davis is clearly struggling and looks a bloody mess. Davis starts using some more kicks which should hopefully bridge the reach disadvantage. Diaz has done a really good job to fight tall in this round, fighting behind his reach advantage. Diaz tries for a takedown, Davis counters to take it to the ground but Diaz then counters to land on top. Round for Diaz 10-9. The cut is nasty above Davis’ eye.
Davis is trying to use leg kicks to set up his boxing, but he just got on Diaz’s inside. Diaz is able to push through and push Davis up against the cage. Davis slips out and they start trading again. Davis has slowed down a lot, lost all his explosiveness. Diaz starting to land at will, just eating Davis up standing. Diaz puts a combination together and the cut above Davis’ eye has opened up again. Diaz gets Davis down, moves to side control and starts reigning down punches. Applies the choke and Davis passes out at 4:02. Good victory for Diaz who looks really good at welterweight. Fight wasn’t even enough to match its full billing but still very enjoyable, with Diaz really impressing on the feet.
Nate Diaz defeated Marcus Davis vis Submission (Choke) at 4:02 of Round Three.
World Lightweight Title Final Eliminator
Kenny Florian (156) vs. Gray Maynard (156)
Huge reaction for the hometown fighter Kenny Florian. This match is very simple – can Florian avoid being taken down and controlled on the ground by the wrestler Gray Maynard. If he can then his superior standup will surely prove too much for the enthusiastic but rudimentary boxer Maynard. But for Maynard the question is whether risking standing with Florian is preferable to risking being caught in his world-class ju-jitsu.
Florian with a very low stance, flicking out the jabs. Maynard looks tentative. Florian throws some really nice kicks. Maynard throws a big punch but it misses easily. They are really feeling each other out here…so much on the line nobody wants to make the first mistake. Maynard again threatens but misses. Florian throws a kick that connects on Maynard’s arm. Maynard goes for a takedown, Florian connects with a right. Maynard rushing in again but is again caught by Florian. Florian throws a leg-kcik and follows it up with a straight left. Maynard shoots but Florian sprawls, and eventually gets the big slam. Maynard sits in Florian’s guard, and not really doing anything thing. In such a l0w-action fight that takedown may have taken the round in the judges’ eyes but I’d disagree – Florian had the better of the standup and Maynard did nothing with the takedown once he got it. 10-9 to Florian.
Very tactical battle, with Florian not wanting to overcommit and leave himself vulnerable to the takedown. They both throw but miss with punches, each fighter showing good foot movement. Crowd starting to lose patience. Florian lands a nice kick to the upper body. Florian is being far too tentative, not pushing the action standing and so playing it Maynard’s tactics of stealing each round late with a takedown. Maynard shoots, gets the takedown and moves to side control. Florian is cut after being caught by Maynard earlier on. Florian trying to hip escape but is trapped on the ground. Struggling to see out of his left eye and is being hurt by Maynard’s ground and pound. 10-9 to Maynard. Crowd has gone very quiet.
Florian needs something big in this round as you have to think he’s donw two rounds. Needs to push the action and do some damage standing. He’s been far too tentative. Florian throwing a couple of jabs and a kick to the forearm. Florian tries a superman punch but it misses. Florian throws a spinning back kick. Another high kick that Maynard takes on the forearm, and another. Maynard shoots for another takedown and gets it easily. Florian needs a submission now. Florian throwing some punches off his back but seemingly has no answer to Maynard’s wrestling. Maynard is warned that they’re about to be stood up, so Maynard starts working to keep the fight grounded. Florian gets back to his feet but Maynard again gets the take down. Florian goes for an omoplata, which is blocked tries to transition to a triangle but that is also blocked. He then almost gets another omoplata but again can’t secure it. Another round for Maynard 10-9. Disappointing performance from Florian who had no answer to being put on his back. Maynard fought his fight, completly dominate when on the ground but never came close (or even tried) to finish the fight. The judges give it to Gray Maynard by unanimous decision and he finally gets his title shot. Maynard gives a fun interview, which concludes with him saying “I’m going to be drinking a bud light, eating some pop corn and watching the fight”
Gray Maynard defeated Kenny Florian by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Demian Maia (184) vs. Mario Miranda (185)
This is Mario Miranda’s debut on the main card. I’m sticking my neck out and predicting Miranda in the upset. His past two fights showed better standup technique and overall more explosiveness and physicality than Maia. Of course I may be completely wrong, but let’s see. Oh my god – has Herb Dean shaved his beard?
Miranda throws a high kick. Anderson Silva is in the corner of Miranda. Maia goes for the takedown and gets it fairly easily. Maia getting some good knees to the body. Miranda gets back up but Maia takes him down again. Maia throwing some some punches, and takes Miranda’s back. But Miranda is trying to protect his position and stop Maia getting the space to get the submission. Miranda tries to stand up but this allows Maia to get the back and he almost gets the triangle choke. Miranda is able to stand up and throws a leg-kick. Maia throws some knees and a nice uppercut. Miranda throws several leg kicks, followed by a lunging punch and a high kick. Miranda throws a head kick which is blocked. Maia’s round 10-9. Very comfortable with Maia showing surprisingly good wrestling.
Miranda more aggressive standing but Maia is able to easily take him down. The way Maia is able to take him down almost at will is very impressive, Miranda is a highly credentialed wrestler. Maia passes to side control, with Miranda propped up against the cage. Maia throwing punches and moves to mount. Maia is in complete control, with Miranda wilting. Maia going for an arm triangle, decides to work his ground and pound a bit more. Miranda is very passive on the ground. Maia repeatedly goes for an arm, almost gets an armbar but Miranda is able to slip out. Complete domination from Maia, 10-9.
Miranda tries to impose himself standing but Maia takes him down, and takes his back. Maia is trying to flatten Mirand and establish the body triangle. Can’t get it and settles with double underhooks. Maia punching Miranda repeatedly in the head and seems to be working for an armbar. Miranda escapes back onto the feet and Maia collapses out of exhaustion. Miranda’s corner is screaming for him to push the action but he just doesn’t have the energy. Maia gets the single-leg and starts working for an armbar, turns it to a triangle choke but Miranda spins out and ends the fight on top. Another round for Maia, who wins the fight on my scorecard 30-27. All three judges concur with that. The final round was poor for Maia though – showed the lack of conditioning that will hold him back against better opponents. Miranda seemed overawed by the situation.
Randy Couture (220) vs. James Toney (237)
There are two questions in this fight. Can Toney catch Couture before the fight goes to the ground? Will Couture find it difficult to go for takedowns without being able to set them up with his boxing? If the answer to those questions is yes then Couture is in trouble. Given the way that both Brandon Vera and Antonio Nogueria dropped Couture then you have to doubt Couture’s chin. This should be an easier night for Couture – Toney is no longer a well-regarded boxer and he is fighting in somebody else’s sport. This is Dana White playing Don King – chucking money at a representative of the older generation to take the sucker fight against The Next Big Thing. Execpt that this time “The Next Big Thing” is not a champion but a sport, its the UFC itself. But sometimes those old warriors suprise everyone.
Big reactions for both Toney and Couture, crowd boos the boxer heavily and cheers Couture wildly. THIS IS IT! Couture goes for the single-leg and immediately gets it. He has mount and is pounding down on Toney. Couture is smothering Toney, not giving him any space to get a punch off his back. A big “UFC” chant. Toney is offering nothing off his back. Couture pushes Toney up against the cage, Couture moving towards an arm triangle. Gets the arm triangle against the cage but Toney isn’t ready to quit. Couture disengages, moves Toney away from the cage and gets the arm triangle again to secure the submission at 3:19. Your winner is Randy Couture (and the UFC?). Celebratory interview from Randy Couture who is given his black belt, praises boxing but says that its about all the skills needed for MMA. Toney says something but who really cares? From someone who is not just a boxing fan but who has written about the importance of boxing in MMA, Toney really is a disgrace. Came in out of shape, completely clueless and thoroughly embarassed himself.
Randy Couture defeated James Toney via Submission (arm triangle choke) at 3:19 in Round One.
World Lightweight Title
(c) Frankie Edgar (154) vs. B.J. Penn (154)
Here we go, the rematch between the new champion and the man that most people still believe is the best lightweight in the world. There are three keys to this match. One is whether Penn has found an answer to the gameplan that Edgar so effectively implemented to neutralise and then outwork the legendary Hawaiian. Two if Penn has found an answer to that gameplan, can Edgar improve on his career best performance and find extra gears to move up. Three there is the issue of the mental strength of both fighters, is Penn fully focused and motivated? And is Edgar coping with the new pressures of main eventing in the USA for the first time. I’ve predicted Edgar by decision but I could easily see Penn steamroller to a quick victory.
Penn is looking to push the action, clips Edgar with an uppercut. Edgar however pushes through and gets the takedown. Penn tries to sweep but Edgar blocks. Edgar in Penn’s guard. Penn has an overhook on Edgar’s right arm, Edgar trying to pull the arm out, but can only do so by giving up top position. Both standing again, Edgar puts together a good combination. Edgar is outfighting like he did in Abu Dhabi. Penn seems to find it difficult to get into the rhythm. Edgar gets a nothing takedown on Penn, who then stands up but then Penn gets a big slam. Penn eventually gets back up but eats a knee. Really good start by Edgar. High kick from Edgar. Penn just misses with an uppercut. Both fighter’s have loud support. This is looking like a faster version of the fight at UFC 112, with Edgar taking that round 10-9.
Penn needs to push the action, connects with a high kick and then a body kick. Uppercut and left hand combination did well. Right hook lands but Edgar counters with a kick to the mid-section. Penn still looks uncomfortable, takes a knee from Edgar. Edgar goes for a takedown but is shoved off by Penn. Edgar throws a kick. Penn connects with a couple of jabs. Edgar goes for the takedown and gets it! This is incredible, not even George St. Pierre was able to take Penn down this easily. Penn was able to get back up quickly, but is being put on the defensive by the champion’s boxing. Edgar missing with a head kick, but connects with a leg kick. Edgar comes in but Penn counters with a hook. Edgar connects with a nice body kick, and puts together a good boxing combination. Edgar is fighting his fight, coming in and out at will. Another round 10-9 to Edgar.
Penn again pushes the action with his boxing, but Penn responds with a head kick. Penn puts together some boxing combinations but seems very uncomfortable pushing the action against Edgar. Edgar is just moving in at will, Penn can’t catch him at all. Edgar throws several leg kicks. Edgar comes in and lands with an overhand right and then follows up with a straight left. Edgar goes for a takedown but Penn responds witha straight jab. Edgar disguises the left hook and it lands beautifully. Penn stuffs the takedown but lands several punches on the seperation. Edgar pushes Penn up against the corner and lands some heavy knees and elbows. Penn seems to have learnt nothing from the previous fight. Another dominate round for Edgar, who is now ahead 30-27 on my scorecard.
Penn gets the takedown, and moves into full mount but Edgar puts him back into guard. Edgar escapes and Penn needs to follow up. Edgar kicks Penn’s leg out from under him, dives into Penn’s guard. Penn ties Edgar in his guard, but Edgar escape and really works his ground and pound including some diving punches. Penn gets back up but seems to be wilting under the pressure. Edgar sees out the final round with several high kicks. Another round for Edgar, who is now ahead 40-36 and Penn needs a hail mary.
Penn again takes Edgar down, Edgar tries to walk out of it and almost gives Penn his back, but Edgar is able to spin into Penn’s guard. Penn seems to have no ideas what to do off his back, with Edgar dropping some big elbows and punches. Penn is being completely dominated here, offering nothing in response to Edgar’s relenteless groudn striking. Penn tried to scramble, almost gave Edgar his neck. Penn gets back to his feet and has 80 seconds to save the fight. Penn is still full of energy while Penn has completely wilted. Penn is the one pushing the action, coming in and throwing big punches. And that is it. Absolutely remarkable. I predicted it but I didn’t fully believe it. Edgar is surely going to take the decision victory, I have him taking every round on my scorecard. The judges score it 50-45 for Frankie Edgar, and a dejected BJ Penn refuses to confirm that he will continue at lightweight.
Well that was almost as big an upset as the first fight, with nobody expecting Edgar to overwhelm Penn like that. He is deservedly the World Lightweight Champion. This concludes our live coverage of tonight’s action. Stayed tuned to Inside Fights for all the latest coverage of UFC 118.
Tags: B.J. Penn, Demian Maia, Gray Maynard, James Toney, Kenny Florian, Mixed Martial Arts, Nate Diaz, Randy Couture, ufc 118