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Friday, January 15, 2010

UFC Fight Night 20 Recap

UFC Fight Night 20 Recap - Does Maynard Get a Title Shot vs. BJ Penn?

by Nick Meyer

To tap, or not to tap? That is the proverbial question that Efrain Escudero faced on Monday night as opponent Evan Dunham cranked on his arm, threatening with all his might to break it.

Escudero waited as long as he possibly could, but the betting underdog Dunham had the arm-bar in so tight that there was no escaping with the limb intact.

Escudero, the betting favorite and former Ultimate Fighter winner, had no choice but to tap, but by then, it looked like some potentially serious damage had already been done. Escudero winced in pain on the mat as Dunham did a victory dance, cementing the most memorable (and cringe-worthy) highlight of Ultimate Fight Night 20.

From that point on, the action shifted to the main event of the evening as Gray Maynard attempted to avenge the only loss of his MMA career (albeit not an official one because of its Ultimate Fighter TV show status) against fellow lightweight Nate Diaz.

Maynard and Diaz slugged it out for three rounds with the fight only hitting the ground for a few sparse moments despite that area being both guys' strengths.

In the end, Maynard won a split decision, but he wasn't overly impressive in doing so. Now, the big question on every UFC fan's mind regarding the lightweight division is whether or not Maynard will be granted a title shot against BJ Penn at the recently announced UFC 112 event in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

Maynard didn't do well against Diaz compared with how he did against the likes of Jim Miller, fellow contender Frankie Edgar, and Roger Huerta, but Diaz's length seems to be a tough matchup for him along with his jiu-jitsu prowess.

Would Maynard give BJ Penn a fight? That's for the UFC to decide now as they look to fill what could be an exciting UFC 112 card in a unique venue in the Middle East.

Right now, Maynard has the edge over Edgar for the title shot, but some feel Edgar could be better-suited to give Penn some competition. The MMA betting community will find out soon which of these soon-to-be-huge underdogs will get the title shot against Penn.

Also taking home big wins at UFC Fight Night 20 were Amir Sadollah and Aaron Simpson.

Simpson, an intriguing middleweight prospect, got caught up in a war with the underdog Tom Lawlor that looked like a potential loss. But Simpson managed to gain control using his impressive takedowns and some well-placed shots before squeaking out a controversial split-decision that the crowd in Fairfax, Virginia couldn't help but boo.

Former TUF winner Sadollah was much more impressive on the night in the welterweight division, however, as he dominated Brad Blackburn for much of the fight, handing his opponent his first UFC loss.
Sadollah showed off his impressive head movement, quickness, and muay thai skills, blasting Blackburn with a big knee late in the fight and also with a big left hand earlier on. Each blow stunned Blackburn and scored big points on the judges' scorecards.

Sadollah, the slight betting favorite going in, stayed out of trouble for most of the fight and nearly finished Blackburn a couple of times.

Next up for UFC fans will be UFC 109: Relentless on February 6 in Las Vegas. The betting action should be fierce for the main event featuring Randy Couture and Mark Coleman on the BetUs.com Sportsbook, so check it out today and get ready another round of intense MMA action in the weeks to come.


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