The UFC held its third event of the year in Texas this weekend with a stacked card headlined by an intriguing Featherweight bout between Cub Swanson and Frankie Edgar. Here is what we made of UFC Fight Night 57: Edgar Vs Swanson
Edgar puts a spanner in the Featherweight mix
Whilst it was a foreseen conclusion that a win for Cub Swanson would put him next in line for the next shot at Featherweight king, Jose Aldo, the results of a Frankie Edgar win had not been cascaded down by the powers that be. But never one to get held up with things out of his control, Edgar went out there on Saturday night and put on such a dominant performance against Cub Swanson that there is no way the Featherweight division’s top contenders can be talked about without the mention of his name.
In usual Edgar fashion, the Jersey fighter started a wee bit slow and aside from a big takedown at the end of the first round was probably losing the round. But from the second round onwards until the final dying seconds of the fifth round, the Jersey native switched it up a gear and put a real hurting on an unresponsive Swanson. Takedowns, ground and pound and dominant top control saw Edgar steaming ahead on the judges’ scorecards, and left Greg Jackson telling his fighter that he needed to “knock this guy out” going into the last round.
But it wasn’t to be as the fifth round mirrored round two to four. Perhaps thinking about the logistics of the Featherweight division led a game Edgar to not leave the conclusion of the fight to the judges as he turned up the heat and went for the kill with seconds left in the fight. He was able to sink in a tight neck crank which saw Swanson tapping out with only four seconds of the fight remaining. The win marked the third victory on the bounce for Edgar who following last night’s results is surely in the mix for another crack at Jose Aldo.
At present the Featherweight division is arguably the strongest it has been in years with a host of sharks (Edgar, Lentz, Mendes, McGregor & Lamas) eagerly staking their claims to be next in line. It’s a situation which will undoubtedly be resolved in the coming weeks, leaving Sean Shelby with some very difficult decisions to make. Whilst it will annoy some of the aforementioned fighters to not see their name next in line, for the UFC it is a very healthy situation to find themselves in.
Brits struggle as the wait for a top contender is put on hold
Both Luke Barnatt and Brad Pickett flew the British flag in Austin on Saturday night and unfortunately for both they will be flying home on the back of a split decision loss. With both men looking to turn around losses in both of their respective previous fights they now find themselves with a further loss on their record and in need of turning back to back losses around in their next outing.
Barnatt never seemed to get going in his Middleweight bout against Roger Navaez and was dropped by his opponent late in the fight so the loss didn’t come as such of a surprise at the end of 15 minutes. But for me I had Pickett leading his fight with Chico Camus two rounds to one, so was more disappointed when the judges scored it the other
For me Pickett has always been the UK’s brightest hope for winning the elusive UFC gold but at Flyweight he just can’t seem to maintain the power which got him the name “One Punch.” The weight cut is a big issue for him and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him return to Bantamweight after a disappointing Saturday night. For Barnatt he is still very early in his career and has time on his hands so it’s not all doom and gloom for him, but knowing Luke he will be very disappointed with his performance.
Best of the rest
Joseph Benavidez looked super impressive in his unanimous decision win over top contender Dustin Ortiz and now really finds himself in the same boat as his team mate Urijah Faber. They are always able to beat the top contenders but just can’t seem to get things going for them when they are presented with title shots.
Edson Barboza scored a unanimous decision win over highly touted Bobby Green who just couldn’t seem to get going in a Lightweight bout. Barboza slammed heavy kick after heavy kick into Green who just ate the shots and continued to press forward, but didn’t do much else than that. Green has had a hard time outside of the Octagon and it seemed to me that he brought that into the cage on Saturday night. A huge win for Barboza who will be looking for a higher ranked 155lber in his next bout.
Oleksiy Oliynyk proved that it only takes one punch to change the dynamics of a Heavyweight bout when he stunned the Austin crowd, knocking out Jared Rosholt after enduring over three minutes of nonstop offense from Rosholt.