The UFC officially announced that they will be hitting Boston for the first time for UFC 118: Edgar vs. Penn 2 on Saturday, August 28th from the TD Garden. The card will feature UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar defending the title against the man he defeated for the belt, BJ Penn. In the semi-main event, Randy Couture will face former boxing champion James Toney in Toney’s MMA debut.
Also officially announced was a battle for the next top lightweight contender spot, with Gray Maynard facing Boston-product Kenny Florian.
An undefeated fighter who has seven wins in the UFC, Gray Maynard has successfully parlayed his NCAA Division I Michigan State wrestling background into positive results inside the Octagon. With wins over Nate Diaz, Roger Huerta, Jim Miller and even current champion Frankie Edgar, Maynard hopes that his time is now. In a recent interview with FightLine.com, Florian noted that Maynard’s wrestling would present a tough challenge for him, but also gave credit to Maynard’s overall game.
“Gray Maynard is really tough everywhere, man,” said Florian. “I think his submission defense has improved significantly, I think he’s very well trained in boxing and of course we all know about his wrestling. He’s one of the biggest 155ers out there, he definitely has power and he’s got a good amount of speed. I think that his wrestling is probably what poses the biggest problem for me. From a stylistic standpoint and from what people know about the ways to try and beat me in the past, put me on back or whatever but I think I’ve made major improvements on that side as well. I think we’re gonna have a great fight.”
Fighting in his own backyard for the first time in the UFC, Florian has three submission victories in his last four fights over Joe Stevenson, Clay Guida and Takanori Gomi and has finished 10 fights inside the Octagon. But he will definitely have the crowd on his side once he takes on Maynard in a fight that will decide the next No. 1 lightweight contender.
“I think we’re gonna have a great fight,” he stated. “Wherever this fight goes I think we’ll both be definitely challenged. I’m looking forward to seeing how the fight unfolds myself.”
For our full interview with Florian, where he also talks about wanting to face Fedor Emelianenko and his thoughts on the Penn – Edgar rematch, click here.