BOSTON, August 28 – It was the first UFC bout between a world-class boxer and an equally proficient mixed martial artist, and the UFC 118 co-main event at TD Garden went as most expected Saturday night, as Randy Couture impressively sent three-division world champ James “Lights Out” Toney to defeat via submission in the first round.
Couture vs. Toney
I worked on that triangle for over a year,” said Couture, 19-10, of the finishing move, one that led him to receive his black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu by Neil Melanson in the Octagon after the bout. “A lot of credit to James for stepping up.”
After a few seconds of circling each other, Couture shot in for the takedown and immediately got it as he took Toney down by the ankle. With the crowd chanting “UFC, UFC”, Couture got into the mount position and fired away. Toney held on, hoping to force a standup, but Couture was relentless, bulling his foe into the fence as he looked to sink in an arm triangle choke. Toney gamely resisted and Couture released the hold in order to go back to work with his strikes. But that was only a brief respite for Toney, as Couture sunk in the arm triangle again, this time forcing Toney to verbally tap out at the 3:19 mark.
Toney, 42, who has won major world boxing titles in the middleweight, super middleweight, and cruiserweight divisions, as well as fringe belts in the heavyweight division, falls to 0-1 in mixed martial arts.
Florian vs. Maynard
Unbeaten contender Gray Maynard earned a shot at the UFC lightweight crown as he scored a solid, but fairly uneventful, three round unanimous decision win over Brookline, Massachusetts’ Kenny Florian.
Scores were 30-27 twice and 29-28 for Maynard, who improves to 11-0 with 1 NC; Florian falls to 15-5.
The action was sporadic at best for the first three minutes, with Florian the busier of the two as he shot out quick punches and kicks at his foe. With under 90 seconds left, Maynard finally sprung into action as he shot for – and eventually got – the takedown, and proceeded to bull Florian into the fence, where they stayed until the end of the round.
Maynard’s potshots began to land with more frequency in the second round, allowing him to free up another takedown. This time, Maynard had more speed on his fastball as he began landing strikes on his foe, cutting Florian over the left eye in the process.
Florian’s striking game finally started to pay dividends in the third round, but even though he was scoring more, he wasn’t hurting Maynard, who again took “KenFlo” to the mat. And while Maynard’s methodical attack wasn’t winning him any New England fans, it was effective. In response, Florian kept battling from the bottom, looking for a submission, and with less than 30 seconds left he got to his feet and searched for a haymaker as Maynard ran out the clock. But it was not enough for the local hero to pull out the win.
“I tried to make him chase me,” said Maynard. “He doesn’t chase a lot.”
Maia vs. Miranda
It wasn’t from a lack of effort, but middleweight contender Demian Maia was unable to submit tough up and comer Mario Miranda, and was forced to settle for a three round unanimous decision win in his first bout since his five round championship loss to Anderson Silva in April.
Scores were 30-27 across the board for Maia.
Maia took control of the fight immediately with a takedown and a series of ground strikes, and looked like he was going to finish it quickly as he fished for a submission, but Miranda was able to keep himself out of danger as he battled his way back to his feet. The remainder of the round featured tentative standup from both men, leading the crowd to get restless.
The dominant ground game of Maia again ruled the day in the second round, with only a late, but failed, armbar attempt allowing Miranda to get back to his feet for the final seconds of the stanza.
Despite the pleas and instructions of his cornerman, the aforementioned Silva, Miranda was unable to turn the tide in the third round, and he was quickly taken down by Maia, who took his countryman’s back. Maia then looked to lock up Miranda’s arm, but Miranda escaped, and moments later got to his feet. Fatigue was evident on the faces of both men, and the pace slowed to a crawl, and though Maia made a last charge for a submission, it was not to be, as the bout went to the scorecards.
With the win, Maia improves to 13-2; Miranda falls to 12-2.
Diaz vs. Davis
Nate Diaz was in top form in the main card opener, dominating the standup against former pro boxer and welterweight veteran Marcus Davis before finishing matters via submission in the third round.
Davis calmly stalked Diaz in the early going, responding to the younger fighter’s taunts with punches to the head that quickly got him the respect of the Stockton, California native. As the round progressed, Diaz began to settle into a rhythm, cutting Davis over the right eye as he put together accurate combinations from long range. In the final minute, it was clear that the blood was starting to bother Davis, as he pawed at the cut in between pinpoint shots from Diaz.
Between rounds, the Octagonside physician had a long look at Davis’s cut, but he allowed the fight to continue, and it was far from foreign territory to Maine’s Davis, who has been cut-prone throughout his boxing and MMA careers. Diaz continued to peck away with both hands, landing much more than he was missing as Davis trudged forward, hoping to land the one punch that would turn things around. It didn’t come though, and as the round closed, Davis’ eye had begun to swell as well.
There was no quit in the “Irish Hand Grenade” though, and his punching power meant that he was still only a solid shot away from getting back in the fight. Diaz’ offense and defense were sharp though, and his unorthodox striking was keeping Davis from getting close enough to tag the rising star. And to his credit, Diaz didn’t take his foot off the gas even though he was presumably ahead on the scorecards, and with under two minutes left, he scored a takedown and sunk in a guillotine choke that finished the fight at 4:02 of the third round.
With the win, Diaz – who believes he broke his left hand in the second round - improves to 13-5; Davis falls to 22-8.
Main Card: Lights Out for Toney, as Couture Subs Boxing Star
UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture welcomed boxing star James Toney to mixed martial arts with a first round submission win in the UFC 118 co-main event