Last night, UFC Lightweight champion Benson Henderson took a split decision from Gilbert Melendez at the uFc on FOX 7 event. In a bit of a surprise move, UFC President Dana White announced that Henderson’s next challenge for the UFC Lightweight title will be the winner of month’s UFC 160 bout between Gray Maynard and TJ Grant. With many of the divisions top names still bouncing back from losses (Cerrone, Diaz) and top gun Anthony Pettis dropping don a weight class, the UFC deserves credit for clarifying the title picture at 155 lbs. Let’s look at the match.
Maynard has fought only once in the last 18 months, when he fought a lackluster bout with Clay Guida. He was injured for a match with Joe Lauzon and pulled out recently, but 2 years ago he came within seconds and inches of taking the title then owned by Frankie Edgar.
Grant pushed his way into the top ranks of the division with a recent impressive win over Matt Wiman, remaining undefeated at Lightweight and making it 4 wins in a row. He is a former welterweight who has gone the distance with top names such as Ricardo Almeida and Johny Hendricks at 170 lbs, so he has sld experience under his belt as well.
Maynard should come in favored when the lines hit the sportbooks. Maynard looked methodical in his last outing, but he is capable of piling on the pressure in the opening round, as we saw against Edgar. He has spent time working on pace as well, and he will need to avoid the slight drop of in energy that let Edgar back in the fight.
Grant however will have more than a chance in the bout. with size that allowed him to compete at welterweight, Grant will be bigger. He is capable of tiring Maynard out if the fight becomes a grind. Though Maynard is his toughest competition to date at 155 lbs, Grant certainly can win the fight if he can avoid Maynard’s opening rush.
if Maynard is too wide a favorite in this one, Grant is worth a look as an underdog, so keep an eye out for the line at the books.