LAS VEGAS – Frankie Edgar was battered and pummeled around the cage in the first round of his defense of his UFC lightweight title against Gray Maynard on Saturday at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in the main event of UFC 125.
Edgar (13-1-1), though, managed to survive and pulled out a split draw. One judge had it 48-46 for Maynard, one had it the same way for Edgar and the other had it 47-47. As a result of the split draw, Edgar retains the championship.
Maynard (10-0-1 with one no-contest), who back in 2008 handed Edgar his only career loss, ripped the champ with a huge left hook. That sent Edgar somersaulting back toward the cage as Maynard charged after him. He battered Edgar with huge shots throughout and there were many at ringside shouting for referee Yves Lavigne to stop the bout.
Edgar somehow managed to survive and was a different fighter in the second. Edgar actually won the round, using his boxing and his movement to frustrate Maynard and score points.
The bout was excruciatingly close the rest of the way, as neither man could maintain an advantage. It was primarily a boxing match, as each was able to stuff the other's takedown attempts.
Anthony Pettis, the final WEC lightweight champion, was supposed to fight the winner but that may now be delayed in favor of a rematch.
Brian Stann asked the UFC to put him in a match with Chris Leben, and he showed his confidence wasn't misplaced. He knocked Leben out at 3:37 in the first round, overpowering the former star of "The Ultimate Fighter," and forcing referee Josh Rosenthal to stop the fight.
Stann, a former Marine Corps captain who dedicated the bout to a former comrade who died in action this week in Afghanistan, started the end of the middleweight fight with a big right hand that rocked Leben. A former WEC light heavyweight champion, Stann followed Leben around the cage, raining down punches, until Rosenthal stopped it.
The bout between Thiago Silva and Brandon Vera had Fight of the Night potential but it wound up being another grappling contest, as Silva took Vera down in each round and held him there.
The most excitement came in the final minute, when Silva was firing shots at Vera while they were on their knees along the cage. Vera wound up with a badly broken nose.
That's all he won, though, as judges scored it 30-27, 30-26 and 30-27 for Silva.
Dong Hyun Kim outlasted Nathan Diaz, winning 29-28 on all three judges' cards in yet another grappling contest. Kim took Diaz down in all three rounds and his strength enabled him to maintain control in a very close fight.
The judges all gave Kim the first two rounds and gave Diaz the third.
Clay Guida opened the pay-per-view portion of the card with perhaps his biggest win, submitting former PRIDE lightweight champion Takanori Gomi with a guillotine choke at 4:27 in the second.
Guida circled and stayed about 10 feet away from the hard-hitting Gomi for most of the fight. But when they hit the ground, the relentless Guida quickly rolled into position and slapped on the choke. Gomi quickly submitted.
Jeremy Stephens knocked out Marcus Davis, landing a right hand on the chin that sent Davis flat on his back and out. Stephens added a powerful shot from the top before referee Kim Winslow got in to stop it a 2:33 of the third.
Davis hurt Stephens in the first with a punch, but couldn't finish him off. He paid for that when he got caught in the third. Both men threw at the same time, but Stephens' got there first and the fight was over in a flash.
Josh Grispi was supposed to fight champion Jose Aldo for the UFC featherweight title, but when Aldo had to pull out because of an injury, Grispi asked to be kept on the card anyway.
It turned out to be a very unwise decision.
Replacement Dustin Poirier's striking was the difference in the bout, as he battered Grispi around the cage with his hard, accurate punching. By the end of the second round, Grispi could barely get off the ground.
Poirier won 30-27 on all three judges' cards.
Brad Tavares got rattled early by a Phil Baroni punch, but he managed to rally an knock out veteran Phil Baroni at 4:20 of the first round of their middleweight match. Tavares landed a kick that stunned Baroni and then sent him back to the cage. Tavares ripped Baroni with a right hand and then landed a series of shots in combination until referee Josh Rosenthal stopped it.