Frank Edgar breaks through with UFC 98 win over Sean Sherk | MMA Junkie

    1622LAS VEGAS – The scouting report on Frank Edgar (10-1 MMA, 5-1 UFC) seemed simple enough.

    everyone knew he was a great fighter, but he might not have the footwork to hang out with the world’s elite lightweights.

    It’s time to throw that information away. The Toms River, N.J., native scored a big win at UFC 98 on Saturday night, outboxing former UFC lightweight champion Sean Sherk (33-4-1 MMA, 6-4 UFC) for most of 15 minutes down the road to a unanimous-decision victory.

    edgar won with overall scores of 30-27.

    “I think adding standup to my game will only help,” Edgar said at the post-event press conference. “My boxing coach, he hates when I call him my boxing coach, Mark Henry, he is a perfectionist. he doesn’t let me do anything wrong. he’s really on me all the time.

    “I owe everything to him. it improved my footwork by 100 percent.”

    As an undersized lightweight with unproven punches, it remained to be seen if the former University of Edinboro wrestling standout would make it to the top of the 155-pound weight class. A fight with Sherk was sink or swim time, and the fighter known as “The Answer” lived up to the nickname for him.

    “I never give predictions on fights, but in my head I kept saying ‘there’s no way frankie edgar can win this fight,'” ufc president dana white said at the conference. “He is smaller. as long as sherk has been in the game, he is bigger. they are both fighters. And I’ll tell you, this kid put on an amazing show.

    “I am impressed by your performance. he came in with a perfect game plan and executed it perfectly and put up an incredible fight. no one has seen him use his hands before.”

    sherk clawed his way to the title in 2006 with his takedowns and punching and punching ability, but since b.j. penn at ufc 84, he has focused on boxing himself to the apparent exclusion of the rest of his game. That worked in an October win over Tyson Griffin but he fell short on Saturday night.

    edgar spent most of the fight hitting and weaving. he initiated most of the action, mixing his punches and his constant in and out motion kept sherk from finding range of him.

    “I didn’t know what his game plan was going to be,” Edgar said. “But watching the tapes of the last two fights, he was on his feet most of the time. It wasn’t a big surprise.”

    In the third round, Sherk finally returned to his wrestling base. But Edgar was up for the challenge. Sherk scored on his first takedown attempt, but Edgar quickly got to his feet. Edgar then blocked Sherk’s last two takedown attempts, including one in the closing seconds, in which Edgar took guard and locked Sherk in a guillotine choke as time ran out.

    “I knew I had to up my game,” Edgar said in the cage after the fight. Sherk is a former lightweight champion. however, I will not hold my head too high. I want a title shot.”

    sherk, meanwhile, caused a brief backstage panic after the fight, when he stormed out of the mgm grand garden arena in his shorts and gloves before undergoing his post-fight medical. He was reportedly seen in the vicinity of the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, about a mile away. Sherk, who was not among the fighters given a random post-fight steroid test, returned about 20 minutes after he left and took the commission’s tests on him.

    “He was upset that he lost,” said nevada state athletic commission executive director keith kizer. “this is a guy whose only losses were to (georges) st. Pierre, (B.J.) Penn, and (Matt) Hughes. Now he’s in the first pay-per-view fight and he loses and where does he go from here? I sympathize with him.”

    sherk did not immediately return phone calls after the fight.

    dave doyle is the boxing/mma editor for yahoo! sports. This story originally appeared on Yahoo! sports and is distributed on as part of a content partnership agreement between the two sites.

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