UFC 150: Benson Henderson v. Frankie Edgar II
On August 11th UFC 150 in Denver will pit former lightweight champ Frankie ‘The Answer’ Edgar against current champion Benson ‘Smooth’ Henderson. After Edgar gave up the title to Henderson last February, Dana White had proposed other opponents for the newly crowned champ, namely Anthony 'Showtime' Pettis, but Edgar succinctly pointed out that it had been a razor close decision, and that he’d had to fight Gray Maynard and BJ Penn in immediate rematches under similar circumstances: in the case of Maynard it was a draw; in the case of Penn it was a close decision no one had thought possible.
Edgar is a fighter with very unique movement. He zigzags about the ring, throws a combo before slipping under his opponent's armpit, and at all times remains elusive to counter strikes and offence. Critics claim Edgar runs. He doesn’t run, he moves. He’s constantly engaging, but like any smart fighter, avoids bar brawls in the Octagon.
Even more critics say Edgar rabbit punches, and couldn’t finish a fight if his life depended on it. Although he KOed Maynard in their third fight, this critique is more founded---of Edgar's 14 wins, 8 are decisions.
Aside from beating Edgar and owning UFC lightweight gold, Smooth is best known for the head kick he received from Pettis, a technique Showtime applied after projecting himself off the fence in a highlight reel the UFC will be showing a hundred years from now. Henderson’s only loss since 2007 is to Pettis. Since then, the champ has gotten faster and more dynamic---if that’s even possible. He’s polished his already polished game.
With only two losses each, Edgar and Henderson are the cream of a very thick lightweight crop, with Pettis, Nate Diaz and Jim Miller among others vying for contender status. Edgar’s advantage in his rematch with Henderson is that his nickname is actually apt: he comes into rematches demonstrating he’s faced the mirror and can come up with solutions.
After Edgar narrowly beat a seemingly indominable BJ Penn in 2010, he proved later that same year he deserved the belt by executing an even more dominant performance. He took down Penn like no other fighter since GSP. In 2011, Edgar survived a brutal beating in round one at the hands of Maynard, and used wrestling to eke out a deserved draw. Later that year, he again weathered a first round beating to finish Maynard with strikes in round 4.
Look for this technical match to go to a decision, this time in the favor of a faster, more elusive Edgar. No matter who wins, if it's decisive it will serve to cement the winner atop the 155 pound division, and may even set up Edgar-henderson III.
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