The UFC confirmed all the fights that will be taking place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena for UFC 125: Resolution on Saturday, January 1, 2011. Frankie “The Answer” Edgar, coming off back-to-back wins over UFC great BJ Penn, defends his title in a rematch against undefeated No. 1 contender Gray “The Bully” Maynard in the main event. Plus, the UFC confirmed the remaining bouts on the card, including Chris Leben vs. Brian Stann, Brandon Vera vs. Thiago Silva, Nate Diaz vs. Dong Hyun Kim, Clay Guida vs. Takanori Gomi, Marcus Davis vs. Jeremy Stephens, Josh Grispi vs. Dustin Poirier, Phil Baroni vs. Brad Tavares, Mike Brown vs. Diego Nunes, Daniel Roberts vs. Greg Soto, and Jacob Volkmann vs. Antonio McKee.
After shocking many people in the mixed martial arts world twice in a row, Frankie Edgar (13-1) has proven that he deserves to be the UFC lightweight champion. Winner of five consecutive fights and eight out of his last nine in the UFC, including his decisive title defense over BJ Penn at UFC 118, the Summit, New Jersey native looks to avenge his only professional loss, a unanimous decision in 2008 to Gray Maynard. A former college wrestler at Clarion University, the 28-year-old has exponentially improved his boxing and has seamlessly transitioned into a complete mixed martial artist.
A three-time NCAA Division I All-American wrestler turned mixed martial artist, Gray Maynard (11-0, 1 NC) is unbeaten in nine UFC fights, imposing his will against top tier fighters such as Edgar, Kenny Florian, Jim Miller and Nate Diaz. His unanimous decision victory over Florian at UFC 118 cemented his No. 1 contender status and the decorated wrestler with heavy hands looks to realize his dream of becoming a UFC champion when he takes on Edgar at UFC 125.
If the opponents of Chris Leben (21-6) have learned one thing, it’s that you cannot count “The Crippler” out. On the verge of losing a fight more than one time, the 30-year-old veteran of 16 UFC fights has had a few brilliant comebacks. The feared striker with a relentless attack has won three in a row, including a decision victory over Jay Silva, a comeback KO victory against Aaron Simpson and an inspiring submission victory late in the third round against Japanese star Yoshihiro Akiyama. Brian Stann (9-3) will need to put on his best performance ever if he wants to dent the granite chin of Chris Leben. But the retired Marine, who won a Silver Star for gallantry in action, has proved he is able to handle high pressure situations. The 30-year-old former World Extreme Cagefighting® (WEC®) light heavyweight champion has developed his entire game since becoming a Greg Jackson disciple, exemplified with his submission victory over Mike Massenzio in his last fight.
A decorated grappler and Muay Thai national champion, Brandon Vera (11-5) can end a fight anywhere in the Octagon. Vera holds wins in both the light heavyweight and heavyweight divisions and has been in there with some of the best fighters in the world. Now the Norfolk, Virginia native looks to take on one of his most dangerous opponents to date. A black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and a devastating striker, Thiago Silva (14-2) has ended all five of his UFC wins by knockout or submission. A true finisher, the 27-year-old light heavyweight challenger has become a fan favorite because of his aggressive fighting style and is sure to be a true test for the versatile Vera.
A confident fighter that isn’t afraid to let people know how he feels, Nate Diaz (12-5) has the tools and the drive to back up any of his pre-fight talk. The 25-year-old winner of the fifth season of The Ultimate Fighter and newbie to the welterweight division has won two in a row, including a first-round TKO over Rory Markham and a third-round submission against veteran Marcus Davis at UFC 118. Dong Hyun Kim (13-0-1, 1 NC) will prove to be a true test for Nate Diaz. A fourth-degree judo black belt and solid striker, Kim is comfortable wherever the fight goes. Undefeated in four UFC fights, including one no contest the 28-year-old used effective grappling and striking to earn a unanimous decision win against Amir Sadollah in his last fight at UFC 114.
Clay Guida (27-8) has built a fan base on the fact that his bout will be a candidate for Fight of the Night each time he steps into the Octagon. Full of energy and always ready for a three-round war, the charismatic 28-year-old is coming off two straight submission wins over Shannon Gugerty and Rafael Dos Anjos, respectively. With UFC wins over Nate Diaz and Mac Danzig as well, “The Carpenter” is looking to make a run at UFC title contention. With a reputation for exciting fights and a nickname like “The Fireball Kid,” Takanori Gomi (32-6, 1 NC) and Guida are sure to put on a bout to remember. Coming off a devastating first-round knockout over lightweight contender Tyson Griffin, Gomi has definitely acclimated to the Octagon and now the former PRIDE lightweight champion looks to put himself in the UFC title picture.
A 13-fight veteran of the UFC, Marcus Davis (22-7) is known as one of the most exciting fighters around. “The Irish Hand Grenade” has won every existing post-fight award, including receiving Fight of the Night kudos three times. The 37-year old professional boxer-turned-mixed martial artist will battle with Jeremy Stephens (18-6). “Lil Heathen” has 10 bouts in the UFC since his Octagon debut on his 21st birthday in 2007. Now 24-years old, Stephens holds knockout victories over Cole Miller and Rafael dos Anjos, as well as a win over Sam Stout that earned him Fight of the Night.
Despite UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo dropping off the card due to injury, Josh Grispi (14-1) will still look to bolster his resume at UFC 125. “The Fluke” has proven he is anything but that, running through the WEC featherweight division in impressive fashion. Grispi hasn’t let a fight past the first round in nearly four years, including submission wins over Jens Pulver, LC Davis and Mark Hominick under the WEC banner. In order to ensure he gets a shot with Aldo, Grispi will first have to get through Dustin Poirier (8-1). “The Diamond” is no pushover himself, coming off a knockout win over Zach Micklewright in under a minute. At just 22 and 21-years old, respectively, the energetic Grispi and Poirier are sure to put on a fast-paced, action-packed war.
With nine UFC fights under his belt, Phil Baroni (13-12) has spent more than a year revamping his mixed martial arts game, including two months in Thailand with legendary Muay Thai coach Kru Yod. The 34-year old is always prepared for an exciting bout, and is set for exactly that when “The New York Bad Ass” takes on The Ultimate Fighter Season 11 semifinalist Brad Tavares (6-0). Still undefeated professionally after a decision win over Seth Baczynski at the TUF 11 Finale, Tavares will look to win the fight as he did in his first five fights, with an emphatic finish.
As the only fighter to defeat Urijah Faber twice, Mike Brown (24-6) expects his WEC success to allow him to take a running start in his UFC debut. A 35-year old Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt, Brown has finished Faber, Leonard Garcia, Mark Hominick and many more in his nearly ten-year professional career. The American Top Team member will return to the Octagon for the first time in over six years against Diego Nunes (15-1). With just one loss in his career, “The Gun” is a threat wherever the fight goes. The 28-year old member of Nova Uniao looks to pick up his third consecutive win against the cagey veteran.
Barely two months after an anaconda choke against Mike Guymon that earned him Submission of the Night, Daniel Roberts (11-1) hopes a third-straight UFC victory will propel him up the welterweight ranks. The NAIA All-American wrestler is quickly becoming a submission specialist, as “Ninja” has won eight of his fights by tapping out his opponents. Greg Soto (8-1) suffered his only pro loss by disqualification for an illegal upkick, but rebounded with a win over Nick Osipczak at UFC 118. The well-rounded 24-year old has two wins via knockout and three via submission and will look to finish Roberts on New Year’s.
Coming off two straight UFC wins over Paul Kelly and Ronys Torres, Jacob Volkmann (11-2) hopes a third consecutive win can make him a contender in the lightweight division. A three-time NCAA All-American at the University of Minnesota, his smothering wrestling skills make “Christmas” difficult for opponents to deal with. At 40-years old, Antonio McKee (25-3-2) will become one of the oldest fighters to make his UFC debut. With a 14-0-1 record since August of 2003, McKee hopes this impressive streak will continue into the UFC.