In the co-headlining bout of UFC 118, on Saturday (August 28) in Boston, world champion boxer James Toney made MMA history by becoming the first professional boxer to make the transition to the UFC.
However, like most expected, the UFC veteran Randy Couture exploited the boxer’s lack of ground/grappling skills to win by a tapout in the first round.
Within the first 30 seconds of Round 1, Couture shot in with a single-leg takedown, easily taking Toney to the canvas, followed almost immediately by full mount where he began teeing off at Toney’s head while he desperately held on to no avail.
Softening up the boxer with countless punches to the head, Couture set up a choke up against the cage. Toney held strong for a short period, until the MMA fighter passed to side mount, locking in an arm triangle choke firmly and that was all she wrote.
Couture defeated Toney 3 minutes and 19 seconds into Round 1 by tapout.
Randy Couture said after the fight that he had been practicing the arm triangle he used on Toney for over a year and his gameplan went exactly as they drew it up.
“This is exactly what we trained to do,” he said. “No one really shoots a low single in MMA. I knew with James’ boxing stance a low single would probably be there, and it worked. I’ve worked on that arm-triangle for over a year now, so to finally get it, it was awesome.”
Despite the easy victory, Couture gave Toney credit for entering his MMA world, but ultimately, said nine months of training isn’t gonna give you too many tools to use against a seasoned veteran like himself.
“I think, realistically, even if he’s been training nine months, that’s real short order to pick up everything he needed to know for mixed martial arts,” said Couture. “I’m a huge fan of boxing. A lot of credit to James for stepping up in here. He’s the first boxer to do that. I think all of us MMA guys love boxing, and hopefully, now, there’s a whole bunch of boxers like James that will start to love MMA.”
What’s in James Toney’s MMA future now? The former boxing champ said after the fight that he won’t quit, and vows to give MMA another go … that is, if a promotion will give him another shot after this very quick loss during his debut.
“I didn’t expect him to be so aggressive at first,” said Toney. “He just caught me. He got me on the ground, and I couldn’t get out of the triangle choke. But I’ll be back. I ain’t no quitter.”
In the headlining match, Frankie Edgar defended his lightweight title against the man he defeated to win it, BJ Penn, via a five-round unanimous decision.
Edgar was scoring combos and strong takedowns throughout the fight, dominating Penn in almost every aspect. Penn seemed frustrated almost the entire match, and just couldn’t take the fight to Edgar the way he wanted.
“Frankie fought a great fight. He’s the man,” Penn said, following the fight. “I’ve got nothing bad to say. He fought me twice. He walked away with the decision twice. What can you say? It looked like the same kind of fight as last time. He got off good. Much respect. I’ve really got to go back and think about things.”