By Shaun Al-Shatti- Via MMA Fighting –
Frankie Edgar polished off his dominant performance over Cub Swanson with a flourish, scoring the latest finish in UFC history with a fifth-round neck crank which ended what had already been an overwhelmingly lopsided UFC Fight Night 57 main event with just four seconds left on the clock.
“Dana (White), you said you’d be watching. I hope you like what you see,” an elated Edgar (18-4-1) said afterward. “I’m coming for that belt. Whether you give it to me right away, I’m coming for it. And for all those people who are doubting me, you better buckle up because this is just the beginning. I’m just getting started.”
Swanson (21-6) entered the cage riding the featherweight division’s hottest non-title win streak, but in Edgar, he met a solid brick wall. The former lightweight champion ran a wrestling clinic on Swanson, finishing seven of 10 takedown attempts, led by at least one per round, and spent a majority of the bout’s 24 minutes blasting away with a ferocious salvo of short elbows and hard punches from top position.
Edgar mixed his attack up better than he ever has before, rotating between flurries to the head and body, while applying constant pressure and seamlessly transitioning back and forth from half guard to full mount. Edgar outlanded Swanson by over 200 strikes, and the finish came in a gorgeous sequence, as a wearied and bloodied Swanson attempted to twist off the cage only to be instantly trapped in the clutches of Edgar’s neck crack, which Edgar finished in short order to push his featherweight win streak to three straight.
“Cub, he was a tough dude. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy getting that,” said Edgar, who also moved into third-place during the bout on the UFC’s all-time list of time spent in the cage. “I want to finish fights, you know? I know I’ve been criticized before in the past, but I’m working on it. I mean, I pushed for that. And I got it in the very end, but hey, I still got it.”
In the night’s co-main event, volatile striker Edson Barboza (15-2) finally captured the top-10 win he’s been fishing for, frustrating and outpointing No. 7 ranked Bobby Green to claim a unanimous decision on the judges’ scorecards.
Green tried as hard as he could to coax Barboza into a brawl, emphatically waving his hands around throughout the fight and shaking his head in disdain whenever a strike landed, but the Brazilian wouldn’t abide, choosing instead to remain patient on the outside, angle and land the harder shots, then chop away with his trademark low kicks.
Barboza nearly scored a repeat of classic knockout over Terry Etim midway through the second round, cracking Green hard upside the head with a spinning heel kick. Green staggered, and briefly appearing to be hurt, but he ultimately showed his toughness by surviving to the horn. All three judges scored the bout 30-27 in Barboza’s favor, snapping Green’s eight-fight win streak and pushing Barboza’s UFC record to an impressive 9-2.
“I’m very happy, man. I trained so hard for this fight,” said Barboza. “Believe me, guys, you have not seen the best Edson Barboza yet, but it’s coming soon.”
Elsewhere on the card, flyweight debutant Chico Camus (14-5, 1 NC) showcased improved footwork and solid takedown defense to eek out a narrow split decision over Brad Pickett (24-10) in a successful divisional debut. Two judges scored the contest 29-28 for Camus, while the lone dissenter gave it 30-27 to Pickett, demonstrating how much of a coin flip each round wound up being.
Both flyweights were active early, standing and trading from the outside throughout the opening frame to the tune of over 40 landed strikes each. From there Pickett looked to his wrestling, but the Englishman struggled to keep his foe down for any significant stretch of time while Camus continued to potshot with his hands-down approach from the outside. With the win, Camus’ UFC record moved to 3-1 with one no contest.
The night’s only heavyweight contest served as a healthy reminder never to blink when the big boys are throwing leather, as Oleksiy Oliynyk (50-9-1) absolutely starched Jared Rosholt (11-2) in a fight the Russian was losing right up until the second he wasn’t.
Rosholt started off strong, and for a moment it appeared as if he’d capture his fourth UFC win as Oliynyk wilted under a flurry of uppercuts and elbows against the cage. But then Oliynyk came alive, connecting flush on a perfect two-shot combination of looping hooks which sent Rosholt crashing face-first to the canvas. The official time of the stoppage was 3:21 of the opening round, giving Oliynyk his eleventh consecutive win and second under the UFC umbrella.
The UFC’s No. 2 ranked flyweight, Joseph Benavidez (21-4) warded off yet another surging young contender, clobbering a game Dustin Ortiz (14-4) for 15 minutes en route to an impressively one-sided unanimous decision.
Hunting for his second straight win, Benavidez simply looked fantastic, mixing up powerful flurries to both Ortiz’s head and body, while showcasing slick scrambling skills and consistently finding a home for hard counter hooks which would have floored most 125-pounders. Ortiz ate the shots and kept on chugging, but he was outclassed here, as all three judges scored the fight 30-27 in Benavidez’s favor.
“I think I need that 15 minutes and that push,” said Benavidez. “Dustin was super tough. I know when people watch my fights they’re always expecting that finish, but that was great for me.”
In the night’s main card opener, “Handsome” Matt Wiman (16-7) returned from an almost two-year hiatus to capture a gritty unanimous decision over Isaac Vallie-Flagg (14-6-1).
The back-and-forth battle featured a steady diet of hand-fighting and clinchwork, with both lightweights taking turns ripping short elbows into each other’s brows. Wiman managed to hit a switch off a defended takedown in each round to take Vallie-Flagg’s back and briefly fish for submissions, including a near armbar in the closing moments of the opening frame, and that likely sealed the win in his favor. The judges scored the contest 29-28, 30-27, 30-27, all for Wiman.