The Severe Diagnosis – UFC Fight Night 66: Edgar vs. Faber

edgarfaber

The Mall of Asia arena in Manila, Philippines was the host venue for this week’s main mixed martial arts business as the UFC held its 66th fight night event on their first visit to the Asian stronghold. The night was filled with action fights and ended with a meeting of MMA legends.

Frankie Foils Faber

In the showcase fight off the night, former WEC champion Urijah Faber came up from bantamweight to meet former UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar in the 145lbs featherweight division with a shot at the title, due to be defended by Jose Aldo in July against Ireland’s Conor McGregor, possibly up for grabs. As expected, this one started off at a ferocious pace. A leg kick from Faber concurrently with an Edgar right hand opened up the action. Faber half attempted an early takedown but Edgar easily defended it before getting his jab going as he took the centre of the cage. Faber landed one nice left hook as he loaded up on shots but Edgar controlled most of the striking action as he kicked and jabbed Faber around the cage. Midway through the round Edgar briefly took Faber down but he popped back up and held the cage to stop Edgar dumping him back down. Faber landed a hard leg kick after the break but Frankie answered with one to the body an another to the leg in the last few seconds of the period.

A beautiful knee from Faber directly from the start of round two drew a stream of blood from the nose of Frankie Edgar. That didn’t deter him, though, as he was able to get off with his combinations from the centre of the Octagon. Faber did well to counter, though, and as the round progressed he grew in confidence. Two overhand rights from Edgar in the middle of the round got him back in the groove but Faber wasn’t backward in coming forward and was more than happy to trade with him. The last section of the round was a little slower in the action stakes as the respect between the men was clear to see.

It was all Edgar early in the third as he walked down Faber and landed his combinations at an ungodly rapid rate. Faber was no shrinking violet and landed with some counters but the output of Edgar was clearly too much. Midway through the round Edgar pulled a pretty takedown and avoided the sneaky Faber guillotine attempt before riding out the back and landing some solid ground and pound for a couple of minutes. Edgar briefly got on top in the last minute of the round but Faber quickly swept him and got back to his feet before the hooter.

Faber looked set to attack more as the championship rounds started but Edgar wasn’t for taking a backward step as he met him in the middle, answered all the attacks and got off with plenty of his own. The foot and head movement of Edgar looked ever more silky as the fight went on while Faber was beginning to struggle to get anything off. A takedown attempt from Faber, either side of Edgar combos, was easily stopped before Edgar himself got the fight to the floor. Faber was able to get to the fence, stand and escape but all that did was give Frankie more opportunities to land his wonderful jab and exocet of a straight right hand.

Edgar was on his bike early in the final round with a big lead in his back pocket. Faber tried hard to close up and land strikes but every time he was done for speed and hit by the mesmerizing combinations of the former 155 lbs champion. A well-timed takedown from Edgar, quickly followed by a second after Faber popped up, had him cruising as Faber struggled to get free. A hard overhand right from Faber was his best shot of the final period but Edgar walked straight through it and hit back with a stinging uppercut. In the final minute of the round Faber threw hard again but the combination striking of Frankie Edgar was just too much for him to get through. At the final bell the decision of the judges was an easy one to give to Frankie Edgar who now lays in wait to take on Jose Aldo or Conor McGregor.

Gegard’s Ground Game Floors Philippou

In the co-main event, MMA veteran Gegard Mousasi was back in action against gritty brawler Costa Philippou for a clash of top ranked athletes in the UFC’s middleweight division. A front leg side kick from Philippou literally kicked off a fascinating opening few seconds which saw both men wrangle to take the centre of the Octagon. A couple of jabs were exchanged in the pocket as the struggle continued but Mousasi quickly changed levels and put the fight on the floor with a beautiful single leg takedown. On the ground, Mousasi held his position well while in guard and landed some strikes before moving to mount. Philippou defended well and shrugged out of the position before Mousasi jumped back into his guard. After some more ground and pound the Dutchman moved forward to half guard where he landed more strikes before attempting a head and arm choke which he couldn’t get. Philippou tried his hardest to escape but Mousasi was unmoved as the round ended.

Philippou looked extremely edgy to start the second and he had a right to be as Mousasi almost immediately took him down. Philippou did manage to quickly get back to his feet but after an exchange and a low blow, he was put down again. Mousasi expertly moved into side control and attempted a kimura but it wasn’t there. Philippou defended well again and got Mousasi back to his half guard where he was pretty low with output but rode out the round in control.

Philippou was desperate starting the third but Mousasi was just too much for him as he jabbed and kicked from the outside without putting himself in any danger. A left hook from Philippou briefly stunned his opponent but Mousasi was having none of it and took him down yet again. Philippou managed to keep him in the guard but looked ineffective off of his back. Mousasi did well to stay active in the open guard before moving in and out of side control while landing ground and pound all the time. In the dying embers of the fight Mousasi worked hard for the finish but it didn’t come as he settled for the well deserved unanimous decision which should push him back towards a long list of contenders.

Munoz Goes Out On A High

Also at middleweight, highly acclaimed wrestler Mark Munoz fought for the very last time in his career as he traveled to the home country of his ancestors to take on dangerous Englishman Luke Barnatt. It was a good start for Barnatt who used his lanky frame well as he managed to keep Munoz on the outside with his jab while attacking with uppercuts from his back hand. Munoz tried to land a big right hand but an early takedown was his first offensive success. Barnatt managed to pop back up but Munoz took him straight to the clinch where he pounded him with a number of hurtful right hands before taking “Bigslow” down again. Barnatt was able to struggle to his feet but it lead to a series of ragdolling throws from Munoz in between absolutely ferocious ground and pound. Barnatt did well to survive and even had Munoz on his back from a judo throw for a second but ate a huge overhand right in the dieing seconds of the period.

Munoz immediately came forward again to start the second but Barnatt managed to avoid the attacks early while landing a series of jabs and a stinging knee to the body. Eventually, though, Munoz was able to clinch up, landed a couple of power strikes and then a takedown after they separated. Munoz did well to consolidate the position this time but Barnatt defended and was able to sweep the “Filipino Wrecking Machine” without taking much damage, before eventually getting back to his feet. Late in the round Barnatt was able to get off some offensive striking but another huge overhand right probably sealed Munoz the round.

Barnatt looked dead set on attacking early in the third but the first thing he did was walk into a big Munoz right hand. To his credit, Barnatt took it well and stuffed a takedown attempt but was caught again with an overhand before Munoz got him to the floor on the second attempt. The Filipino-American look visibly tired as he controlled Barnatt against the cage and ate a series of elbows from the Englishman. As they broke, Munoz landed another power strike with his left followed by a nose crushing overhand right which left Barnatt open to be taken down again. Barnatt did manage to get vertical once more with a minute left in the round but Munoz landed a pretty trip before bludgeoning Barnatt with a diving right hand to seal the deal. It was an easy job for the judges who unanimously scored it for Munoz to end his career in a tremendously fitting manner.

The pick of the undercard bouts saw American breakout Neil Magny win his 7th consecutive fight in a hard-fought comeback win over hard hitting South Korean Hyun Gyu Lim while Phillipe Nover returned to the UFC with a close decision win and Jon Delos Reyes put on a fight of the year contender in his win over Roldan Sangcha-an.

Check out the full results below:

Frankie Edgar def. Urijah Faber via unanimous decision (50-45, 50-45, 50-45)
Gegard Mousasi def. Costa Philippou via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Mark Munoz def. Luke Barnatt via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
Neil Magny def. Hyun Gyu Lim via TKO – R2, 1:24
Phillipe Nover def. Yui Chul Nam via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Levan Makashvili def. Mark Eddiva via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 30-27)

Jon Tuck def. Tae Hyun Bang via submission (rear-naked choke) – R1, 3:56
Kajan Johnson def. Zhang Lipeng via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Li Jingliang def. Dhiego Lima via knockout – R1, 1:25
Ning Guangyou def. Royston Wee via TKO – R2, 4:59

Jon Delos Reyes def. Roldan Sangcha-an via submission (rear-naked choke) – R2, 3:13
Yao Zhuikui def. Nolan Ticman via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

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 Facebook.com/seansheehanmma