The Sunday Aftermath

Frankie Edgar

For the third time this calender year the UFC returned to Texas on Saturday night as featherweight contenders Frankie Edgar and Cub Swanson topped a fun night of fights to kick off one of the best stretches of MMA we are ever likely to see.

Up And Down Austin Undercard

As seems to be the norm these days, the night of fights was started off in magnificent fashion. Two highly touted prospects got differing victories to kick off the card as Korean star Doo Ho Choi made light work of Juan Puig knocking him out after just 18 of round one while female strawweight Paige Van Zant pounded Kailin Curran out with just six seconds left on the clock. The next seven fights were less spectacular with five of them going to decision. The most impressive of those saw Edson Barboza toy with Bobby Green as the American couldn’t live with the Brazilian’s striking clinic. The same could be said for flyweights Joseph Benavidez and Chico Camus who dismantled Dustin Ortiz and Brad Pickett respectively on the feet. The two finishes of the seven fight sequence both came in the first round. Oleksiy Oliynyk knocked out fellow heavyweight prospect Jared Rosholt with a huge left hook after being dominated for much of the fight while Akbarh Arreola was the first to get the W as he armbarred veteran Yves Edwards in what could very well be his last MMA fight. That was all just a starter.

Edgar Tames Cub

The main course, though, was the one the Texas crowd all came for as the streaking Cub Swanson took on the former lightweight champion Frankie Edgar, fighting in the UFC for the 17th time. Edgar sprinted from the dressing room to the Octagon and kept that pace up once the fight started as he immediately implemented his elusive boxing style. Swanson wasn’t fazed though and landed a series of hard strikes either side of a stuffed Edgar takedown attempt. Swanson stopped another takedown attempt but on the third occasion Edgar was successful and although he was unable to secure ground control, a second takedown came as the gripping first round came to an end.

Swanson landed a stiffening uppercut to start the second but Edgar walked through it before a wonderful striking exchange ended with another Edgar takedown. The New Yorker was more in control on the floor this time and put a beating on Swanson, cutting his face with elbows, whose activity off of his back lessened as the clock ticked down. Swanson lowered his centre of gravity to start the third with Edgar’s wrestling foremost in his mind. It didn’t work. Edgar latched onto Swanson’s back and muscled him to the deck – the fourth takedown of the fight. Edgar again had a large output of ground and pound as he passed from Swanson’s guard to side control. Swanson had no answer at all for Edgar’s wrestling as the bell was the only thing which got him off of his back.

The heavily wounded Greg Jackson student came out swinging at the start of the fourth and caught Edgar with a nice body kick before he was, yet again, taken to the mat. This time Edgar landed in half guard but he quickly transitioned to the mount and landed his most hurtful blows of the fight. Swanson was active in trying to get out from underneath Edgar and eventually did with just 10 seconds left. The final round was do-or-die for Swanson but he was unable to land anything of note before the inevitable Edgar takedown came – his seventh of the fight. Edgar was less worried about damage this time and instead worked on submissions as Swanson defended both a locked on guillotine and head-and-arm choke. The third time was a charm for Edgar though as he cranked on the neck of the well and truly dejected Swanson who tapped out with just 4 seconds of the fight remaining – the latest stoppage in the history of the UFC.

Featherweight Dominos

In the last few weeks the featherweight division has gone from a litany of contenders vying for the next title shot to a much shorter list when the outcomes of divisional match ups were in the books. Conor McGregor was the first to put himself right in the mix with his demolition of the then #5 ranked Dustin Poirier. That was followed seven days later by the fight of the year as Jose Aldo knocked off Chad Mendes for a second time to retain his title. Then, last week, Ricardo Lamas ended the seven fight streak of Dennis Bermudez to put himself back on the road to a title shot. While last night as mentioned above Frankie Edgar took out Cub Swanson in ultra impressive fashion.

That makes the division a lot less complicated. Bermudez, Mendes and Swanson are coming off of losses and therefore out of the title picture for the moment while Lamas and Edgar are still working their way back to the top after both lost to champion Jose Aldo within the last four fights. That leaves one man, the featherweight contender with the longest active winning streak; Conor McGregor. Oddly, though, McGregor has already been booked in a fight with Dennis Siver in January but, if he wins, that shouldn’t be too much of an issue as Aldo prefers to leave long gaps between his bouts. It’s seemingly a no-brainer of a fight to make in my opinion and with rumours of stadia booked in both Brazil and Ireland, we could be in for quite the summer blockbuster.

Podcaster, lead MMA writer and analyst for SevereMMA. Host of the SevereMMA podcast, out every Sunday. Economics and Mathematics graduate from UCC. Also write for Sherdog. Previously of hov-mma and fightbooth. As heard on 2FM, Red FM, Today FM and more. Follow me on twitter for updates @SeanSheehanBA and on Facebook


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