A boxer stepped into the octagon Saturday, and he was clearly out of his league.
Decorated Ultimate Fighting Championship veteran Randy Couture needed only 15 seconds to shoot to the legs of former world champion boxer James Toney, taking him down and battering him until Toney tapped out in defeat at 3:19 of the first round in UFC 118 at Boston’s TD Garden.
Couture said the advantage he knew he’d have on Toney “worked,” as he immediately mounted Toney and unleashed multiple rights and lefts to the boxer’s head. It never was the standup boxing match Toney had hoped for, and he’s expected to return to boxing.
UFC officials called Toney, 42, the most decorated boxer ever to step into the octagon, having won titles in divisions ranging from middleweight to heavyweight. It didn’t matter, with the 47-year-old Couture waiting, boasting five UFC titles and a veteran’s desire to mute talk that a great boxer could step into the mixed martial arts octagon and defeat an MMA great.
“All us MMA guys love boxing, and I hope now these boxers, like James, will love MMA,” Couture said.
Toney was itching to unleash a power punch in four-ounce UFC gloves, as opposed to the 10-ounce mitts he uses in boxing, but he was left to throw only soft punches while on his back.
“I couldn’t get off,” Toney said. “Randy Couture’s a great fighter.”
Couture decided the bout by squeezing his left arm around Toney’s neck, a choke that forced Toney to tap out, with referee Mario Yamasaki stopping the heavyweight fight.
Although the night’s lightweight title bout lasted the full five rounds, champion Frankie Edgar’s first title defense, in a rematch with former champ B.J. Penn, was just as one-sided as Couture-Toney, with Edgar dominating Penn in speed and strength to win by unanimous decision, 50-45 on all three judges’ scorecards.
Edgar’s first-round takedown of Penn was a preview of things to come. He might be only three years younger than the 31-year-old Penn (15-7-1), but Edgar (13-1) looked half Penn’s age, leaving the veteran flummoxed.
“I’ve got to go back and think about things,” said Penn, whose earlier loss to Edgar was a closer decision.
Edgar said he “wanted to make that point” that he won the first meeting.
Unbeaten lightweight Gray Maynard (11-0) landed a title shot at Edgar by out-toughing veteran Kenny Florian in a unanimous decision, 30-27 twice and 29-28. Maynard previously handed Edgar his lone defeat.
Demian Maia, who fought for the middleweight title earlier this year, dominated Mario Miranda on the canvas to improve to 13-2 with a unanimous decision, 30-27 on all three scorecards.
And welterweight Nate Diaz (12-5) from Stockton opened the UFC 118 pay-per-view card by defeating Marcus Davis in the final minute of the third round, applying a guillotine choke.
Pugmire reported from Los Angeles.