Actually, UFC 136 will feature multiple poundings. Live from the Toyota Center, the city of Houston and fight fans abroad will be treated to a championship heavy card. Prepare to take cover because this will be nothing short of explosive.

Chael Sonnen vs. Brian “The All American” Stann- UFC Middleweight Title Contention

As friends, it’s no surprise that these combatants share the common philosophy of letting the fists fly. Both fighters love to pressure their opponents, punching their way to victory. Pitting these two together to decide a new number one contender for the Middleweight title gives MMA Nation a chance to see whose pressure will bust the most pipes. Winning his last three fights, two by way of early TKOs, Stann is showing the world his career is ready for elevation. Meanwhile, Sonnen is coming off a 14-month hiatus, as a result of personal and legal issues. While “The All American” is the more active of the two, I wouldn’t dare believe that Sonnen lost the ability to do what he does best. As entertaining as this one will be, I have Sonnen punching and grappling his way to securing what fight fans want most out of this division, Sonnen vs. Silva 2.

Jose “Scarface” Aldo vs. Kenny “KenFlo” Florian- UFC Featherweight Championship

When Florian made the transition from Lightweight to Featherweight, the question that followed was “What kind of effect would the cut in weight have on him?” “KenFlo” not only silenced the skepticism, courtesy of a dominant outing over Diego Nunes (Aldo’s teammate), he immediately became the champ’s most formidable opponent to date. The viciousness that travailed from the future Hall of Famer sent a message that said, “I’m Ready!”  UFC President Dana White took notice and ironically booked Florian for a title shot. Dana White made his feelings clear about Florian in title fights, stating he tends to choke. Florian is 0-2 in such matches. Florian is looking to prove to himself, as well as White, that he is championship material.  As mentioned earlier, Aldo has a tall task at hand, but on the flip side, Florian has never seen anyone the likes of Aldo.  “Scarface” is coming off a sub par title defense against Mark Hominick at UFC 129, due to an illness. The champion is looking to prove that the fury he’s famous for still lies within. He will make an example out of KenFlo, successfully defending his title.

Frankie “The Answer” Edgar vs. Gray Maynard 3- UFC Lightweight Championship  

This pairing has the makings to become the most heralded rivalry in UFC…MMA history. The first match (UFC Fight Night 13) went to the judges’ table, where Maynard got the unanimous decision. The second match, UFC 125, returned to the judges’ table, resulting in a controversial draw.  Thus far, these two have spent 40 minutes of octagon time together (three, five-minute rounds in the first and five, five-minute rounds in the sequel). I’d be amazed if the finale doesn’t fall in the hands of the judges. Looking at the first round of version two, I saw a resolve in a beaten opponent that I’ve never seen before. Maynard has Edgar dead to rights, dropping him four times in the opening round. Yet, Edgar still had fight in him. Maynard might’ve wore himself out in that round because although he held his own, he was never the same the rest of the fight. The most important lesson I learned from version two is simply this, “Don’t bet against Edgar.” Looking at how the history of this rivalry has played out thus far, it’s time for Edgar to put his stamp on this trilogy and prepare himself for his next title defense. Fighters like Ben Henderson, Melvin Guillard, Clay Guida, Jeremy Stephens and Anthony Pettis are waiting for this chapter to close so they can make their respective climbs to championship contention.

With everything this explosive card entails, the best thing I can do at this point is echo the advice of color commentator Mike Goldberg when discussing the magnitude of this card…DON’T BLINK!

By Antoine Hoffman


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