A huge weekend schedule awaits Mixed Martial Arts fans and bettors, highlighted by Saturday's UFC 136 at Houston's Toyota Center.
Lightweight champion Frankie Edgar will get an opportunity to avenge his only loss for the second time UFC 136 when he squares off against unbeaten Gray Maynard. The two were expected to fight at UFC 130 in May, but both had to pull out due to injuries, setting up this co-main event.
Edgar-Maynard III highlights a five-bout main card that will broadcast live on Pay-Per-View starting at 6:00 p.m. (ET). Two featured preliminary card fights will be shown live on Spike TV beginning at 5:00 p.m., including a Brazilian middleweight battle between Demian Maia and Jorge Santiago and a lightweight matchup pitting Anthony Pettis against Jeremy Stephens.
Four more preliminary card fights will be streamed live on Facebook.
Edgar (13-1-1) is a 155 favorite to beat Maynard (11-0-1, 1 no contest) after they fought to a draw at UFC 125 on January 1. Maynard is a +125 underdog despite handing Edgar his lone setback at UFC Fight Night 13 back in April 2008. Edgar lost by unanimous decision and has gone 5-0-1 since then while Maynard is 8-0-1 since knocking himself unconscious when going for a takedown against Rob Emerson in the third fight of his career for a no contest.
This will be the second rematch in four fights for Edgar, who won the championship with a five-round unanimous decision against B.J. Penn at UFC 112 in Abu Dhabi. He earned another unanimous decision win over Penn a little more than four months later at UFC 118.
Maynard’s previous fight before meeting Edgar for the second time came against MMA veteran Kenny Florian (16-5), who will face featherweight champion Jose Aldo (19-1) for the title in the other co-main event. Florian lost a unanimous decision to Maynard in August of 2010 and then decided to drop down to featherweight in hopes of earning a title shot against Aldo.
Florian got his wish after winning a unanimous decision against Diego Nunes in his featherweight debut at UFC 131 on June 11. He is a +225 underdog against Aldo and will be appearing in a title fight for the third time in his career after coming up short in lightweight championship bouts against Sean Sherk and Penn.
Aldo is a 285 favorite and riding a 12-fight winning streak since suffering his only loss to Luciano Azevedo nearly six years ago at Jungle Fight 5. The champ carried over his WEC belt to the UFC and defended it with a unanimous decision victory against Mark Hominick at UFC 129 on April 30.
Two other betting-worthy bouts on the main card include a pairing of middleweights Chael Sonnen (26-10-1) and Brian Stann (11-3) and another lightweight fight between Joe Lauzon (20-6) and Melvin Guillard (46-9-3, 1 NC). Sonnen is a 260 favorite in his return to the octagon after a 14-month hiatus filled with controversy.
After nearly beating Anderson Silva in a middleweight title fight at UFC 117, Sonnen failed a drug test that prevented him from getting a rematch. He then pled guilty to money laundering charges and was tied to mortgage fraud earlier this year while Stann has knocked out both Chris Leben and Jorge Santiago in 2011. Stann is a +200 underdog and hopes to earn title shot against Silva with a victory.
Guillard has won five straight fights, knocking out three of his last four opponents. He is a heavy 315 favorite against Lauzon (+245), who is coming off a submission win over Curt Warburton but has split his past four bouts overall. Five of Lauzon’s last six wins have come via submission, and it is worth noting that Guillard’s last six losses have all come by submission.
Fight fans who can't get enough MMA action can kick off their weekend with MFC 31 on Friday, which will be broadcast live on HDNet at 10:00 p.m. Light heavyweight champ and Canadian Ryan Jimmo will put his title and a 15-fight winning streak on the line against Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou in the main event at the Mayfield Inn Trade and Conference Centre in Edmonton, Alberta.
Jimmo (15-1) lost his first career MFC fight and later tried out for The Ultimate Fighter 8 – won by Ryan Bader – but was eliminated before he gained entry into the house.
Sokoudjou (12-8), a native of Cameroon, rose to fame in Japan's PRIDE Fighting Championships and is the current KSW light heavyweight champion in Poland. He also lost in two of his three UFC appearances, including a submission via arm-triangle choke by Lyoto Machida at UFC 79. Six other fights are on the MFC card, three of which feature All-Canadian matchups.
Bellator 53 is also part of the weekend fight schedule, and headlined by the welterweght semifinal match between Luis 'Sapo' Santos (50-6-0) and Ben 'Killa B' Saunders (11-3-2). Another welterweight semi pits Douglas Lima (19-4-0) against Chris Lozano.(9-1-0).
Action comes from Buffalo Run Casino in Miami, with the main card shown on MTV2 and Spike.com streaming the undercard.