There may have been only one MMA event this weekend but there were plenty of talking points in Austin, Texas as fans all around the world witnessed one of the most dominant performances in a talent-rich featherweight division.
Cub Swanson (21-6), a fighter on a six fight winning streak going into Saturday night’s main event with Frankie Edgar found himself more exposed than many fans and experts expected. If anything, most expected a very close fight but New Jersey’s Frankie Edgar (18-4-1) made it look easy as he dominated Swanson with expert wrestling mixed with an intense work rate.
In a fairly even first round, it was Swanson who looked the more aggressive fighter and managed to stuff Edgar’s attempted takedown’s. It was felt by many that if Swanson could keep the fight standing, it would be his best chance to win and it looked to be going Cub’s way as each stuffed takedown attempt was met with a wry smile across the face, much to Edgar’s frustration.
Edgar’s frustration didn’t last too long though as his corner gave him some sterling advice in between rounds. A calmer and more composed Edgar powered through the second round and managed to take Swanson down with ease.
In an era when a lot of fighters seem to “lay and pray” atop their opponents, Frankie Edgar’s output in dominant positions is incredible with over 200 significant ground strikes landed over the course of the five rounds.
Swanson just did not have an answer for Edgar’s high level grappling and with mere seconds to go in the fifth and final round, Edgar managed to sink in a nice neck crank to grab the submission victory.
In a featherweight division that has a ton of competitors focused on a title shot, a big performance is needed from the division’s top ranked fighters and Frankie Edgar’s dominant performance will surely earn him a shot at the belt next.
Elsewhere, Joseph Benavidez’s return to the flyweight division was a comfortable, unanimous victory over Dustin Ortiz who had no answer for the speed and precision of Benavidez’s skill set.
A rematch with current champion Demetrious Johnson is inevitable as turkey at Christmas and in a post-fight interview, Benavidez said,
“it was good to get three rounds under my belt. It wasn’t my best performance but I needed those rounds to feel my way back into action.”
In another light weight class, the women’s straw-weight division – a new division in the UFC – continues to show that women are a must-watch draw in the behemoth MMA promotion.
20-year-old Paige Van Zandt and Kailin Curran, both making their debut put on an absolute show with back and forth action as the two women scrapped their way through a frantic and exciting opening five minutes.
It was Van Zandt who looked the more clinical as Curran visibly tired throughout the rest of the fight and ended up being on the wrong side of a TKO victory late into the third round of their epic bout.
If this straw-weight fight is anything to go by, the UFC’s TUF finalists will make for must-watch television and we hope that from an Irish view point that Aisling Daly can take home the gold.
Overall, UFC’s Fight Night 57 was a very exciting card ending up with one of the greatest individual performances to take place in the Octagon.
Shane Saunders, Pundit Arena
Featured image By Lee Brimelow (cropped from DSC_0029) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.