For an inanimate object, a scale has a knack for being able to communicate quite effectively. When James Toney hopped on the weigh-in scale on Friday in Boston, and the scale read “237 pounds, interested fightwatchers heard, loud and clear, and groaned.They knew that even if Toney had spent the last six or so months immersing himself in MMA techniques, he didn’t couple that with a similar focus on his eating habits. At 5-10, 237 pounds puts Toney in the “obese range on the BMI scale, and while nobody would take a look at the future Hall of Famer and term him “obese, it was apparent in the main support bout at UFC 118 in Boston, Mass. on Saturday night that the weight did Toney no favors against the John Wayne of MMA, Randy Couture.
Couture (18-10 entering; age 47; 6-1, 220 pounds; a Las Vegas resident) was his usual fit and trim and focused self, while Toney (0-0 in MMA; 42; a native of Michigan) weighed as much as he’d ever weighed in a boxing match as a pro at the TD Garden.
In the first round of the scheduled three rounds or less heavyweight tangle, Couture took him down with a single leg, hopped on, and whaled away. Toney, not used to fighting off his back, had no answer, as the fans chanted “UFC, UFC. Couture smushed him toward the cage, as Toney’s corner yelled, “Get up, James. Couture snapped on an arm triangle, once, and then let it up, before snapping it on again. Toney held firm for awhile, but he finally tapped. The time was 3:19 of the first.
Ill be back, I aint no quitter, Toney said. Randy Coutures a great fighter, Im a great fighter in boxing, but I will be back (in MMA).
My prediction: he will not. There have to be easier ways to make whatever it was Toney made on this night.
In all likelihood, even if Toney were 215 pounds of hot, rolled steel, it would not have made a bit of difference. Couture has forgotten more wrestling and MMA than Toney could pick up if he trained for six years, let alone months. But Toney made Dana White look bad with his pudgy frame, after White told media that the boxer would be in the superlative shape, and perhaps, sent a signal that even he didnt really think he would match up well against Couture, so ate with reckless abandon during training.
White could have put this bout on as a PPV headliner, but he pretty much saw it coming, saw it for what it was, and smartly had Edgar-Penn II headline.
Whats next for Toney? Maybe an invitation for Couture to dance on his floor, the boxing ring?
Seeing as how his speech seems less than crisp and clear, maybe it is time for him to get a definitive set of brain scans, see what sort of deterioration has occured, and if the results arent sterling, call it a day. No more Octagon, no more ring. Toney has done more than enough to prove his worth, and this brief foray into a foreign sport will do nothing to besmirch his legacy.
In the main event, Frankie Edgar (12-1 entering; from NJ) gave BJ Penn (15-6-1 entering) a crack at the lightweight title he took from the Hawaiian at UFC 112. Penn had as much luck in the sequel as he did in the first faceoff.
Penn got taken down right quick, which wowed the crowd in the first. Edgar never stopped moving, side to side, as Penn calmly advanced. Maybe too calmly…Penn looked stuck on a single speed, a slower one than the frenetic Edgar displayed. Would Penn make an adjustment to get thing going his way? In round two, Penn started out with a leg attack. The crowd clapped for another Edgar takedown with 2:20 left in the round. The ex champ scored with jabs, but forgot the kicking game after starting out targeting Edgar’s wheels. Edgar himself landed about three sharp kicks, breaking blood vessels on the thigh. To start the third, Penn breathed greedily, while Edgar hopped from foot to foot like he just snorted a line of Pixy Stix. Penn looked to land the left hook, time and again, but Edgar’s defense was on message. He never really stood still long enough for Penn to get a bead on him. Penn looked less fresh, and his body language didn’t bode well for a turn of momentum.
In the fourth, Penn took him down, and Edgar did all he could to prevent a mount attack. Edgar got to his feet, and the crowd clapped in appreciation. Edgar dropped Penn with a kick that took his legs out. He lowered the boom, with a crackerjack right, and stayed on top of Penn for a spell. Penn got to his feet, for more of the same. Edgar went side to side, snapped the jab, mixed in kicks to the legs and body. Penn did land a meaningful right at the end of the round, but he was down heavy on the cards. In the fifth, Penn scored with a takedown. He had his back for a second, but Edgar is strong and smart. He wriggled out, and got to his feet. Edgar had Penn on his back for the middle part of the round, and closed out the show with as much energy as he exhibited in the first round. We’d go to the cards, and the whole building knew the score, 50-45, 50-45, 50-45, Edgar.
After, Edgar said to Joe Rogan, “I feel like I can walk on water, and then thanked God. Penn, to Rogan, said, “Frankie fought a great fight, he’s the man. He got off good, much respect. Penn said he will think heavily about his next move.
They say styles make fights, but Edgar enjoys an edge in speed, and freshness. His style, as such, doesn’t bedevil Penn. But he is the superior athlete, in those areas, and looks to have Penn’s number, all day, every day.