HOUSTON -- The towel came out twice on Friday during the UFC 136 weigh-in, but fortunately only for a couple of close calls.
Both middleweight Brian Stann and featherweight Zhang Tie Quan were able to make weight for their respective fights when it turned out their underwear weighed a half-pound each.
Stann and Zhang both missed the mark on their first tries, but upon fully stripping down behind the UFC’s omnipresent towel and climbing back on the scale in front of a mostly full section of fans at the Toyota Center, both guys were right on the money. Stann at 186 pounds to take on Chael Sonnen on pay-per-view and Zhang at 146 against Darren Elkins for the preliminary card.
Here’s a breakdown of the weigh-in’s highlights, after it began at 4 p.m. Central Time ...
Pettis and Stephens kicked off the weigh-ins for tomorrow night’s televised card, as Stephens stood on the scale with one hand over his heart and the other lifted at the shoulder like a man giving a speech. The Iowa-native has talked an awful lot of junk leading up to this fight, and it showed during the staredown, when Pettis invaded his personal space, standing nose-to-nose with Stephens, arms at his sides. It was possibly the day’s most intense face-off.
Santiago ducked through the curtain grinning and flashing the peace sign to the audience and after making weight he pumped both arms in celebration, almost like he’d been worried about something. Maia had no trouble at all, not even bothering to strip off his Bad Boy fight trunks to hit 185.
The evening’s first PPV fight also got one of the day’s biggest pops from the crowd, mostly for Guillard, who came in wearing an all black warm-up suit and his sunglasses inside. Enjoying his fan-favorite status, he grinned his way through the staredown. This after Lauzon’s cornerman tried to curry favor by wearing a burnt orange T-shirt emblazoned with the state of Texas, too.
Phan jogged up the stairs and exhaled a big breath before climbing on the scale. A Texas native, Garcia got a nice ovation in his Lonestar Tapout shirt. During the face-off for this rematch, Phan seemed to stare at the floor.
4:18 p.m. -- Chael Sonnen (185) vs. Brian Stann (186)
What with his need for the towel, Stann might’ve stolen the show if he weren’t up against Sonnen here. Ever the showman, Sonnen – who had some fans coming out of their seats to boo him -- busted a slow-mo flex pose for the audience while keeping his calf-length socks on atop the scale. He also exited the stage drinking deeply from a bottle of Coca-Cola.
Both these guys admitted having trouble making 145-pounds during their last fights, but made it look simple here. Florian appeared all business, while Aldo smiled easily at the crowd as he weighed in. Florian didn’t raise his fists during the staredown, but also didn’t take a step toward Aldo.
“This is the fight I’ve wanted for a long time, this is the fight that brought me to 145-pounds,” Florian said on the mic afterward. “I’ve trained too hard and suffered too much not to go home with the title.”
The main event garnered an interesting and unexpected response from the crowd, as both guys caught a mixture of cheers and boos. Maynard wore his jeans during the staredown, as Edgar stalked confidently up and got right in his face. They did not shake hands.
“I’m all about the anti-bullying movement,” Edgar said a moment later, referencing Maynard’s nickname. “Let’s put it to the curb.”
Complete UFC 135 weigh-in results:
Zhang Tie Quan (146) vs. Darren Elkins (145)
Anthony Pettis (154 1/2) vs. Jeremy Stephens (156)
Demian Maia (185) vs. Jorge Santiago (185)
Melvin Guillard (155 1/2) vs. Joe Lauzon (155 1/2)
Nam Phan (145) vs. Leonard Garcia (145)
Chael Sonnen (185) vs. Brian Stann (186)
José Aldo (145) vs. Kenny Florian (145)
Frankie Edgar (155) vs. Gray Maynard (155)