MMA Review: #383: UFC 150: Henderson vs. Edgar II

-On paper this was a bit of a lesser card for a UFC PPV, and in all honesty I wasn’t that hyped for it – until I rewatched the first Henderson/Edgar match and remembered what a good fight that was. And of course how could you not be somewhat pumped for Guillard vs. Cerrone – a fight that practically seemed to guarantee fireworks?

UFC 150: Henderson vs. Edgar II

Denver, Colorado

-Your hosts are Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan.

Featherweight Fight: Nik Lentz vs Eiji Mitsuoka

I was pretty intrigued by this one, as both men were dropping to Featherweight for the first time after not exactly doing badly at 155lbs – Mitsuoka had Takanori Gomi in all sorts of trouble before he got caught in the second round, while Lentz had pretty much turned his career around after suddenly becoming an exciting fighter in 2011. My pick was Lentz based on his wrestling, but I figured this one could go either way.

Fight begins and they circle before Lentz closes the distance and lands a knee. Nice right counter from Lentz and Mitsuoka looks for the takedown, but Lentz blocks with a front headlock and drags him down before landing a knee to the body, forcing Mitsuoka into the fence. They trade punches from close distance before Lentz lands another knee and then sprawls to avoid a takedown and spins onto the back. Suplex from Lentz but he doesn’t have the hooks in and the Japanese fighter stands. Lentz keeps the rear waistlock and lands some knees to the thighs before pulling him down again. This time he gets one hook in, but Mitsuoka does well to scramble to his feet. Good left hand from Lentz in tight though. Good combo from Lentz and he hits a takedown and passes into a half-mount position. Mitsuoka scrambles back to full guard, but Lentz passes into half-guard and looks to pass that. Big punches land for Lentz from the top, but he does eat a nice upkick from Mitsuoka. Lentz passes the guard though and gets into side mount, then spins and takes the back again while landing more punches. Mitsuoka stands, but Lentz stays on him and hits another suplex before getting the hooks in. From there Lentz flattens him out and lands some BOMBS to the head, and Mitsuoka stops defending so referee Tim Mills calls it there.

Fun opener and Lentz looked awesome, really using his grappling to his advantage and he was extremely aggressive from the off. Mitsuoka isn’t a tomato can by any means, either, so this was a really impressive 145lbs debut for Lentz and I could see him as a future player in the division.

Bantamweight Fight: Chico Camus vs Dustin Pague

I hadn’t heard of Camus before but being out of the Roufusport camp I was expecting him to bring in some spectacular striking. Pague meanwhile had settled nicely into the role of gatekeeper at 135lbs and so I thought if Camus truly belonged in the UFC, he’d win, and if that wasn’t the case then he’d lose. Simple.

Round One and they circle before Pague misses a wild left hook. Good counter right hand from Camus snaps Pague’s head to the side. Pague comes back with a left hook, but he takes another right hand counter. Kick is caught by Camus and he tackles Pague to the ground in guard. Camus works the body before Pague throws his legs up and locks up a triangle attempt. It isn’t quite synched in correctly, but Pague starts to pull down the head and push the arm across. Camus remains calm, but he’s taking some elbows from Pague too. Camus does an excellent job of preventing his arm and shoulder from being pushed across, creating some room, and finally Pague’s legs slip and Camus is free. Just over a minute to go and Camus begins to work with some short, slicing elbows to the head along with punches to the body. Oma plata attempt from Pague, but he doesn’t grab the waist and Camus escapes into the guard again. Pague tries it again but can’t get it, and he eats some hammer fists and punches before turning his hips for a possible armbar right before the buzzer. Close round I guess but I’d give it to Pague for the work he did from the bottom, 10-9.

Round Two and Camus circles and lands a glancing left hook. Good right hand connects too as Pague comes forward. Kick from Camus is caught though and Pague throws him to the ground and gets on top. He stands over him to wing a right hand, then goes into the guard where he lands a decent elbow. Camus escapes to his feet though quickly. Good counter left from Camus. Pague pushes forward but misses on a big uppercut. One-two lands for Camus and he follows with a takedown off a left hook from Pague. This time he works immediately into half-guard. Few punches land for Camus and while he isn’t doing much damage he’s definitely in control here. Into side mount for Camus now but he doesn’t land much from there and Pague hip escapes into full guard. Not long remaining in the round now and Camus continues with his conservative ground-and-pound. Crowd begin to get restless as Camus continues to chip away, while Pague seems to be looking for a possible submission. Seconds to go and Pague gives his back, but uses it to escape to his feet where Camus grabs a rear waistlock to end the round. 10-9 Camus.

Round Three and Pague comes out and immediately looks for the takedown, then scrambles onto the back and gets both hooks in before going to the body triangle. Camus looks to roll towards the side where the triangle is to put pressure on the legs, and Pague doesn’t really seem to be looking for a choke. He does land a couple of punches though. Three minutes to go and Camus manages to explode and spin around into Pague’s guard. He passes into half-guard quickly and continues to work, almost getting the full mount before Pague hip escapes. Just over a minute to go and Camus manages to take full mount where he lands some elbows and punches. Pague is in trouble and he takes some nasty shots before giving his back, and Camus immediately works for the choke. He manages to get one arm under the chin, but can’t quite finish it off before the time runs out. 10-9 Camus so I’ve got it 29-28 for him overall.

Judges have it 29-28, 30-27 and 29-28 for Chico Camus to pick up the debut victory. Decent if a little unspectacular fight, and Camus looked like a solid prospect at 135lbs and I expect him to improve further next time out too.

Bantamweight Fight: Erik Perez vs Ken Stone

Perez had looked like an entertaining fighter in his UFC debut even if his win over John Albert was a questionable referee stoppage, and so I was interested to see how he’d do here in a slight step up against Stone, who had reeled off back-to-back wins following a dodgy beginning under the Zuffa umbrella. My pick was Perez based on the grappling skill he’d shown against Albert.

Round One and Perez opens with an inside leg kick. Nice right hand lands for Stone, but Perez counters with one of his own and STONE GOES DOWN FACE-FIRST! Perez follows up with some more punches and referee Herb Dean rescues Stone and stops it there.

Post-fight Stone tries to protest the stoppage but dude, you can’t Flair Flop in the UFC as it pretty much means you’re OUT. And indeed, Stone was definitely out here. Whole fight went 17 seconds. Perez is a future star for sure if he keeps performing like this.

Middleweight Fight: Michael Kuiper vs Jared Hamman

On paper this sounded like a loser leaves town match, as both men had lost their previous fight and hadn’t looked that great in doing so, although Hamman is usually exciting which sometimes saves fighters on losing streaks. Kuiper had at least shown some solid striking in his debut loss to Rafael Natal, so I took him to go over Hamman by knockout as Jared has this habit of leaving his chin too high.

First round and Hamman lands a low kick into a glancing left hand. Kuiper pushes forward but Hamman lands with a nice knee to the body. Good body kick from Hamman. Kuiper continues to walk him down though even though he’s taking shots on his way in. Good right hand lands for Kuiper and you can see Hamman’s chin is way too high. Good leg kick from Hamman. Right hook connects for Kuiper. Couple more combos land for Hamman but Kuiper seems fine. Takedown attempt is blocked by Kuiper and he forces Hamman into the fence and then muscles him to the ground. Hamman looks to work back to his feet, and does so, but Kuiper stays on him with a rear waistlock. Suplex attempt is blocked by Hamman but Kuiper hits him with a right that has him a bit wobbled. Hamman uses some jabs to keep him at bay, but a big leg kick from the Dutchman buckles him badly. Head kick follows and then a right hand almost puts Hamman down. He’s all over the place now and Kuiper swarms on him with some more big punches. No clue how Hamman is still standing now as most of these shots are landing flush to the jaw. Hamman fires back bravely, but a big right hook drops him and Kuiper follows with more heavy shots before Hamman clinches. They break though and Kuiper keeps pushing forward, walking through Hamman’s punches to land absolute BOMBS that have Hamman stumbling like a drunkard. Big head kick connects for Kuiper too. Hamman keeps on swinging back but it seems like he’s got no power at all as Kuiper is just walking through them. Big combo from Kuiper ends the round and Hamman’s on rubber legs. 10-8 Kuiper.

Between rounds Hamman tells his corner that he’s torn a muscle in his right thigh….but the cornerman just tells him to go back out and give him one more round. That’s fucking ridiculous, sorry. I thought corners were supposed to protect their fighter?

Second round and indeed, Hamman comes out limping badly. This is INSANITY. Leg kick wobbles him right away and sends him stumbling back. Kuiper pushes forward again and lands another leg kick. Hamman’s punches are just having zero effect. One minute gone and it looks like only a matter of time as Kuiper lands a couple more leg kicks. Good combo from Hamman but Kuiper rocks him with a right hook. Wild trade follows and of course Kuiper gets the better of it and drops him with a HUGE LEFT HOOK. Hamman is DONE but the ref doesn’t stop it, surprisingly, allowing Kuiper to bomb on the head as Hamman somehow gets back up. Kuiper stays on him and considers a takedown, then just WALLOPS him with three massive right hands and follows with a series of lefts. Somehow Hamman’s still up, stumbling all over the place, and finally a BRUTAL RIGHT HOOK drops him and the ref stops things mercifully.

Post-fight Hamman is in AGONY with his leg, which raises the question of why the fuck the cornermen didn’t stop this after the first round. I mean fuck, the guy had a torn muscle in his leg, there’s no shame in throwing in the towel over an injury like that – why the hell let him go out and take bombs like he did which probably earned him a concussion as well as a muscle tear? If I’m Hamman then I’d fire those idiots stat. Good performance from Kuiper, but this fight got hard to watch by the second round if I’m honest.

Featherweight Fight: Dennis Bermudez vs Tommy Hayden

TUF 14 finalist Bermudez had looked awesome in his previous fight, throwing around large Featherweight Pablo Garza like a ragdoll, so I was surprised that he wasn’t matched up with someone higher ranked than Hayden, who had debuted in the UFC in January in a quick loss to Fabricio Camoes. Obvious pick here was Bermudez.

Fight begins and both men press the action, throwing out some feeler strikes with neither really landing. Takedown from Bermudez and he works into half-guard quickly. Hayden does a good job of getting butterfly guard back in, and he uses it to scramble back to his feet. Good body kick from Hayden. Hayden counters some wild swings with a couple of straight lefts, but a nice right lands for Bermudez. Takedown attempt from Hayden but Bermudez sprawls out to avoid and then grabs a front facelock, looking to spin to the back. Hayden avoids that well and rolls for a leglock, but can’t get it and they pop back up to their feet. They exchange some more punches before Hayden suddenly connects with a BIG KNEE that drops Dennis! Hayden scrambles right into full back control and looks to lock up the choke, trapping Bermudez’s left arm for good measure, but Dennis shows some awesome tenacity to slowly work his way free. Armbar attempt from Hayden but Bermudez slams his way out and lands some punches en route to half-guard. Arm triangle attempt now from Dennis but he can’t quite get it and Hayden manages to work back to full guard. They come back to their feet, and Bermudez presses forward, landing a VICIOUS FRONT KICK TO THE JAW that stuns Hayden! Hayden shoots, but Bermudez locks up a guillotine and quickly forces Hayden into the fence where he tightens it up for the tapout. Nice!

Well, that was a hell of a fight for a one-rounder. Gotta love Dennis Bermudez as he’s always in an exciting fight. Hayden did well here and seemed to have the fight wrapped up when he dropped Dennis and took his back, but Dennis is a seriously tough guy and did a great job of getting free. Once he landed that front kick, Hayden was stunned and went to instinct and Bermudez made him PAY. Tremendous fun.

Featherweight Fight: Max Holloway vs Justin Lawrence

While it wasn’t likely to affect the title picture any time soon, this fight had me salivating as these two are two of the best young strikers at 145lbs for my money and both had looked awesome in their previous fights, beating down Pat Schilling and John Cofer respectively. Based on my thinking that Holloway had slightly better technique, but Lawrence packed more power, I went with Lawrence.

Fight begins and they circle before Lawrence hits a jumping side kick into the body of Holloway. Both men glance on kicks and then Holloway lands a clipping right hand counter. Good combo from Holloway but he eats an overhand right. Good double jab from Lawrence. Big head kick misses for Lawrence. Couple of punches put him on the retreat a bit. Front kick misses for Lawrence. Holloway fires back with a glancing high kick. Good leg kick from Holloway and he avoids it being caught. Right hand over the top from Lawrence. Good left hook follows. Jumping knee from Holloway but the foot catches Lawrence in the groin and referee Josh Rosenthal has to call time. They restart and Holloway glances on a body kick. Crescent kick misses for Lawrence. Front kick from Holloway is blocked. Double jab forces Holloway back slightly. Good left hook from Holloway but Lawrence takes him down. Holloway immediately uses the fence to get back up though. Side kick to the body from Lawrence. Good right hand from Lawrence and it knocks Holloway off balance slightly. Lot of blood coming from Lawrence’s forehead. Good combination lands for Lawrence though. Hard left hook to the body from Lawrence. Another combination follows ending in a sharp overhand right. Pair of hard kicks back him into the fence though. Round ends with a flying kick from Holloway that again catches Lawrence in the groin. Super-close round – I’d lean slightly towards Lawrence but it was near impossible to split.

Into the 2nd and Lawrence lands an early right hand counter. Combo from Holloway connects. Side kick lands to the body for Lawrence. Leg kick connects for Lawrence. Head kick from Holloway is just about blocked. Couple of kicks force him backwards. Nice leg kick from Lawrence. Good combination from Holloway. This is a really good striking match. Spinning backfist connects to the side of Holloway’s head. Holloway fires back with a combination. Nice right hand from Holloway lands clean and snaps Lawrence’s head back. Both men land a couple of kicks. One-two lands for Lawrence. Right hand to the body from Holloway. Takedown attempt from Lawrence is stuffed. Big swing misses for Lawrence too. Side kick pushes Holloway back again. Another takedown attempt is stuffed by Holloway and he forces Lawrence back with some punches. Combo glances for Lawrence. Right hand from Holloway and he’s stalking Lawrence now. Nice knee to the body clearly hurts Lawrence as he winces on his way out. Holloway continues to stalk him, landing a nice combination. Hard left hand to the body connects for Holloway and FOLDS Lawrence, and a few shots on the ground end things there.

That was some really awesome fighting instincts from Holloway as Lawrence actually disguised being hurt by the knee to the body well, but Holloway obviously recognized it as he went right back to the same spot to land the finishing left hook in what was a finish for the highlight reels. Fight totally lived up to my expectation as a really high-level striking match between two of the hottest young prospects in the division, and I think both men have a bright future ahead of them if they continue to progress.

Middleweight Fight: Yushin Okami vs Buddy Roberts

Initially this was supposed to be Okami facing Rousimar Palhares in a fight that had me FUCKING EXCITED, but Toquinho unfortunately got injured and as Roberts’ original opponent Chris Camozzi had also had to withdraw, they simply put the two remaining fighters against one another. Obvious pick was Okami as he’s only going to lose to the very top guys and I didn’t see Roberts amongst them.

Round One and Roberts comes out swinging some wild strikes, but he doesn’t land cleanly as Okami looks for the counters. Good right hand lands for Roberts. Straight right glances for Okami. Nice stiff jab lands for Okami to counter a low kick. Left hook into a body kick from Roberts. Okami pushes forward but a big left hook lands for Roberts and seems to have Okami slightly hurt. Jab lands for Buddy too but Okami clinches and forces him into the fence. Good knee to the body from the Japanese fighter and he looks to muscle Roberts down. He gets a waistlock and looks for the suplex, but Roberts does a good job to avoid initially. Okami stays on him though and drags him down, taking the back. Roberts tries to spin out, but winds up on his back in guard. Oma plata attempt from Roberts is avoided and Okami remains on top. Buddy ties him up, but Okami works into half-guard and continues to attempt to pass. Into side mount for Okami with a minute to go. Looks like he’s working for the mounted crucifix, and then he steps into full mount and takes the back with both hooks. Roberts looks in trouble and he begins to eat some big punches, but Roberts ends up saved by the buzzer. Clear 10-9 round for Okami.

Round Two and Roberts connects on a pair of hard left hands that force Okami to retreat. He recovers quickly though and pushes forward, using his left hand to set up the clinch. Waistlock again from Okami and he trips Roberts to the ground pretty easily. Roberts tries a guillotine, but Okami escapes and they come back to their feet. Okami forces him into the fence again and drops for a double leg, dumping him to the ground again. He looks to move right into the mount, but ends up in half-guard instead. Okami works to pass and pushes his elbow into Buddy’s face before taking full mount. Roberts is in deep trouble. He gives his back and Okami begins to land thudding punches to the side of the head, and this time he’s got two minutes to do it and Herb Dean stops things when Roberts stops defending properly.

Pretty standard performance from Okami over a largely overmatched opponent if we’re honest. Roberts did fine standing but once Okami took him down it was a completely one-sided fight. Not exactly the most entertaining thing to watch but it wasn’t bad or anything either and at least Okami got him out of there pretty quickly.

Middleweight Fight: Jake Shields vs Ed Herman

This was a bit of an odd fight, as I didn’t figure Shields would move back up to 185lbs after his brief run there in StrikeForce, and I definitely didn’t see them matching him with Herman, who had been sort-of flying under the radar with three straight wins since returning from injury. I was going with the upset here as Herman’s the bigger guy and I figured he could fend off Shields’ takedowns and beat him standing, and if he did get taken down he had enough skill to defend himself anyway.

First round and Herman backs Jake up with some punches early on before clinching and forcing him into the fence. He tries a takedown but Shields blocks with a whizzer and they pop back up into the clinch. Shields works for a trip but Herman defends it and they muscle on the fence with some short strikes to the body mainly. Shields looks like he’s going for a guillotine, but Herman pops his head free and we’re back to the clinch. Trip takedown from Shields and he gets on top in half-guard. Herman works back to his feet, but gives his back in the process and Shields gets one hook in. Ed does a good job of removing him though and they’re back to the clinch. Can’t believe Herman hasn’t looked to separate yet. They keep switching position and it doesn’t look like either man’s got the advantage here really. Shields drops for a takedown and almost gets it, but Herman manages to defend again. One minute to go and this has been a poor round to say the least. More of the same finishes the round, with Shields at least landing a solid knee to the body. 10-10 I’d say as neither man really had the advantage despite the brief takedown from Shields.

Second round and Shields throws a couple of left body kicks before Herman closes the distance and clinches again. This time Shields immediately trips him down to half-guard. This might be the worst fight gameplan I can remember recently in the UFC. Shields passes into side mount and he goes for a kimura, but Herman manages to avoid him locking it in fully. Shields tries to step over into full mount, but Herman does a good job of defending that, too. Couple of elbows land for Shields from the side mount as he continues to look for full mount. He pulls Herman away from the fence and remains in side mount, but the crowd are booing now due to the lack of activity. Herman manages to hit a reversal, but can’t escape and ends up still on his back but in full guard now. Good elbows from the bottom for Herman but Shields begins to work the head and body and it doesn’t look like Herman’s getting out of the position. Into half-guard for Jake and he continues to land short strikes. Herman manages to shrimp out into full guard, landing a solid elbow again, and the round ends there. 10-9 Shields. Crowd are not impressed with this at all.

Third round and Shields opens with a body kick. Herman comes in swinging punches, but can’t get his range in. Shields shoots, but Herman sprawls and then comes up into the clinch where he lands a hard right uppercut. They end up clinched on the fence again though but this time Herman at least lands a hard right hand. They separate and Shields counters a jab with another body kick. Glancing uppercut from Herman and Shields clinches, but this time Herman trips him down. They come back up right away though. Good punches land for both men and then Shields shoots on a double leg and gets him down into side mount. Couple of short elbows land for Shields from there but he doesn’t look like he’s going for any submissions. Herman manages to sneak a leg back through to get half-guard. Shields frees his leg though and gets full mount. He doesn’t do much with the position though and Herman manages to hip escape into full guard. Less than a minute to go – thank god – and Shields seems content to chop away from the guard, landing some decent elbows but nothing too damaging. Round ends there. I have this 30-28 for Jake Shields.

Judges have it 29-28, 30-27 and 30-27 for Jake Shields. Fight sucked though, let’s be fair. I have no idea why Herman kept clinching with Shields as he played directly into Jake’s hands, and even when Shields took dominant positions he never came close to finishing or really doing any damage to Herman. Worse still he ended up testing positive for PEDs after the fight, meaning that literally NOBODY CAME AWAY LOOKING GOOD. One of the worst televised fights of 2012.

Lightweight Fight: Donald Cerrone vs Melvin Guillard

I said in the introduction that this fight pretty much guaranteed fireworks, and really you don’t need much more discussion than that! Despite being friends and former teammates these two promised to throw down big time, and I mean, who would disbelieve them? My pick was Cerrone as I thought he’d be able to hang with Melvin standing – perhaps even stun him – and then get him to the ground to submit him, but of course, you can never count a guy as explosive as Guillard out.

Fight begins and Cowboy comes out with a head kick and then swings a right, but Melvin DECKS HIM WITH A LEFT HOOK! He pops right back up, but he’s stunned as hell and Melvin chases him down with another nasty left and a jumping knee! Big knee into a combo from Guillard and Cerrone desperately tries to retreat, but he’s all over the place here. BIG LEFT HAND lands over the top and Cowboy tries to clinch, but Melvin shrugs him off. Right hand into a pair of elbows land for Guillard from close range and then he backs off and waits for Cerrone to come to him. Winging left hook narrowly misses. Cerrone is still wobbly and he eats another glancing left. Right hand connects to the body for Guillard. Another big left hook just about misses. Leg kick is countered by a right from Melvin. Left head kick from Cowboy CONNECTS HARD though and Guillard is FROZEN IN HIS TRACKS, and that allows Cowboy to CHARGE IN AND KILL HIM DEAD WITH A RIGHT HAND!~! HOLY FUCKING SHIT.

WOW. I was speechless watching that fight live and five months later I’m STILL speechless. That made up for the shitty Shields/Herman fight and then some! Just goes to show that you can’t count anyone out in MMA unless you finish them off completely – especially not a killer like Cerrone. This was one of those classic one-rounders – up there with other insane short fights like Hughes/Trigg II and Levens/Smith and shit, it might’ve been even better than both of them. I’d quite happily call it one of my favourite MMA fights of all time, frankly. FOTYC too even if it only lasted a minute or so – I mean, name one fight more exciting in 2012?

UFC World Lightweight Title: Benson Henderson vs Frankie Edgar

I’ll be honest – as much as I enjoyed their first fight, I didn’t think it was that close of a decision and I wouldn’t have booked an instant rematch – especially when Edgar wasn’t a massive PPV draw to begin with. It felt like most fans felt the same way too, as pretty much everyone I saw online (on the Oratory in particular!) wanted Henderson to take him out for good and move on. Personally I don’t dislike Edgar, but I was sick of the never-ending rematches at 155lbs and so I too was rooting for Bendo.

Round One and Frankie circles around before missing a head kick. Really low leg kick lands for Henderson. Body kick from Edgar. Left hand connects for Henderson in a brief exchange. Nice leg kick lands for Henderson. He follows with another one that almost takes Edgar off his feet. Another one connects as Edgar looks to counter with a right. Leg kick drops Frankie and he looks for the takedown, but Henderson avoids and works back to his feet. Leg kick lands again for the champion. Edgar backs him up with a double jab but doesn’t really land. Edgar seems to be struggling with his range in this round. Straight right glances for Bendo. Edgar comes back with a right to the body. One minute to go and Henderson lands a good knee to the body, but Frankie lands on the counter with a right. Good leg kick from Frankie. Leg kick from Henderson but Edgar catches it and hits a takedown. Henderson wraps up a guillotine though and it looks quite tight, but Edgar manages to last out until the round ends. 10-9 Henderson.

Round Two and Henderson just about avoids a high kick. Right hand to the body from Frankie. Leg kick from Henderson drops Edgar again but he pops right back up. Good combo from Edgar, right to the body and left to the head. Body kick from Henderson is caught and Frankie lands a kick of his own on the counter. Side kick misses for Henderson. Axe kick misses too. Good left hand from Frankie. Leg kick from Henderson and he avoids the takedown from Edgar. Good exchange and Edgar drops Henderson with a right hand! Henderson looks to take him down, but Frankie sprawls and grabs a front facelock. It looks like he’s going for a front choke, and it looks quite tight, but YOU CAN’T CHOKE BENSON HENDERSON and he manages to avoid, although he’s still caught in the front facelock position. Big crowd chant for Frankie. They stand and Edgar hits him with a knee to the head, causing Henderson to put a hand on the mat to avoid any more. I fucking hate that rule. One minute to go and Henderson finally gets to his feet, taking a knee on the way out. Front kick misses for Bendo. Right hand connects. Takedown attempt from Henderson is stuffed and Edgar grabs the front facelock again. Good uppercut from Edgar as he releases. Round ends with a hard body kick from Henderson. Great round. 10-9 Edgar.

Round Three and Henderson fires off the jab, but takes a right to the body. Big head kick misses for Henderson and a second attempt is just about blocked by Frankie. Right hands land for both men and Henderson follows with a knee to the body and a glancing uppercut. Leg kick from Edgar. Henderson fires back with one of his own. Good straight right from Henderson. Combo from Henderson but Edgar avoids a lot of it and lands a short right. Body kick from Frankie. Head kick from Bendo is just about blocked. Left from Bendo misses and Edgar counters with a right to the body. Brief exchange sees both men land glancing shots. Leg kick from Edgar. Both men are getting really good at making their other miss their shots. Another leg kick lands for Edgar though. Powerful body kick from Henderson but Edgar catches the leg. Frankie fires back with a kick of his own but another powerful one answers for Henderson. One minute to go and Edgar connects on a right to the body. Side kick misses for Henderson. He’s in a full side stance now. Good leg kick from Henderson. Body kick glances for Edgar coming forward. Right hook lands for Henderson to the temple. Round ends with Edgar missing a side kick. Ridiculously difficult round to score; I’d probably call it 10-10 in fact but if you put a gun to my head and made me choose, I guess I’d have to say Edgar as he seemed to counter better. 10-10 though!

Round Four and Henderson opens with a leg kick and then avoids a takedown. Knee connects to the body for the champion and he follows with a straight left that lands cleanly. Pair of right hooks back Henderson up but don’t land. Good low kick again from Henderson. Jab from Henderson but Edgar counters with a leg kick. Takedown from Edgar and he stands above Henderson, who manages to land a capoeira kick from his back! He pops up, but Edgar grabs a front facelock again and forces him back down. Looks like he’s going for a choke, and the crowd are going crazy now, but Henderson escapes to his feet. Good counter right from Edgar. Rushing left hook from Henderson just about misses. Good leg kick from Edgar. Pair of nice right hands counter a right to the body from Edgar and have the challenger backing up a bit. Ref calls time to replace Bendo’s mouthpiece and they continue. Good combination from Henderson but Edgar fires back with a right hook. Leg kick follows. Henderson comes back with a leg kick of his own. Good right hand from Bendo. Beautiful combo from Edgar. This is SO hard to score. Leg kick again lands for Edgar. Kick is caught by Edgar but he can’t follow up. Jab lands for him though. Henderson starts taunting him with seconds to go but he takes a right hand. Good body kick from Bendo but Frankie catches it and throws one of his own on the buzzer. Super-close round again but I felt Edgar landed the better shots, so it’s 39-38 for Edgar going into the fifth.

Round Five and Henderson opens with a left that lands but Edgar comes back with a flush right hook. Rushing right hand from Frankie catches Bendo off balance and puts him down, but he pops up as it wasn’t like a proper knockdown. Good body shot from Frankie. Right hand lands for the champ. Hard knee to the body from Bendo. Frankie’s coming up short on some of his combos now and a counter left connects for Bendo. Kick is caught by Edgar again and he fires back with one of his own. Great left hook from Benson lands flush. Two minutes to go and Henderson misses on a big uppercut. Leg kick lands but he takes a glancing counter right from Frankie. Takedown attempt by Frankie is stuffed but he lands a right on the break. Good leg kick from Frankie and Henderson’s leg buckles a little. Kick to the body from Henderson. Right to the body from Edgar. Henderson is really pushing in now and he lands on a big left hand. Pair of rights land for Frankie. Head kick misses for Edgar and Henderson catches him in the face with one of his own. Crowd are going crazy as the fight ends. Great stuff. Round goes to Henderson in my eyes so I’d have to call it a fucking draw; 48-48, but it could go either way.

Judges have it 49-46 Edgar, 48-47 Henderson, and 48-47….for Benson Henderson to retain! Frankie looks absolutely FURIOUS, but personally I don’t think he can complain as his style of fighting is like Bernard Hopkins in boxing, it makes a fight really hard to score unless there’s a finish, and shit, this was an insanely close fight that could’ve gone either way. Personally I was just glad Henderson managed to retain as I think 145lbs is probably a better fit for Frankie and we might get less of these – admittedly good to watch – ridiculously difficult fights to score and more finishes, hopefully. I didn’t think this fight was quite as good as their first outing, but it was certainly very close. Excellent main event to end the night.

-Highlight reel ends the night. They could’ve just shown Cerrone/Guillard again over the credits and I would’ve been happy!

Final Thoughts….

Like the earlier UFC 142, this was another of those cards that didn’t exactly impact the title pictures outside of the two main events, but despite that everything except one fight delivered in style, with the prelims all being a lot of fun and providing some great finishes, Lawrence/Holloway giving us a great striking-based fight with an awesome ending, and then a really excellent and close main event. The obvious highlight though is Cowboy/Guillard – one of the best fights of the year, easily – and it’s that fight that makes me give this one such a high score really, despite the presence of Shields/Herman. Thumbs up.

Best Fight: Cerrone vs. Guillard
Worst Fight: Shields vs. Herman

Overall Rating: ****1/2

Until next time…