Ben Henderson vs. Frankie Edgar
This Saturday night, UFC 150 from the Pepsi Centre in Denver sees ?Smooth? Benson Henderson defend his UFC lightweight championship belt against Frankie Edgar, the former title holder and the man he defeated to take the title some six months ago in Japan at UFC 144.
Frankie Edgar is the proverbial ?fighter with a lot of heart?. The ?lil? guy? from New Jersey doesn?t know when to quit and if fights were judged on guts and bravery alone he would still hold the title.
He?s like the son Tony Soprano never had, (and yes I know Tony did actually have a son, but let?s be honest A.J. was a pussy and would never have gotten off the canvas following a Gray Maynard uppercut!) but if their first bout is anything to go by he may have come across a fighter in Henderson too big and too good for him to overcome.
In their previous bout Edgar took everything that Ben Henderson had to throw at him and kept coming.
The first two rounds were pretty even and Edgar caught many of Henderson?s kicks and replied by showering his opponent with counter punches.
Yet over time Henderson was able to use his size to his advantage to essentially beat the smaller man down. Fightmetric.com shows that Henderson out landed the New Jerseyite in total strikes by 100 to 81 and in significant strikes 87 to 68.
Edgar was the more successful fighter in the ground game, converting 5 of 12 takedown attempts with “Bendo” converting his only attempt.
The significant strikes were the difference and looking at the fighter?s faces at the end of the bout there was clearly one winner.
?Smooth? Benson Henderson was still looking just so with hardly a mark on him and ready to go another round; Edgar not so much.
For all his bravado and determination Edgar?s face was busted up, his right eye nearly welded shut, his mouth a bloody mess.
Watching a re-run of the first fight this week it was interesting to hear Goldie and Rogan comment on the weight and size disparity between the two fighters with Goldberg suggesting that: ?we might be watching a fight between a future welterweight and a future featherweight.?
A conservative estimate would suggest that Henderson outweighed Edgar by 30-40 pounds when they stepped into the Octagon for the first time and while Edgar has beaten fighter?s physically bigger than him before, notably BJ Penn and Gray Maynard, in Henderson he may have meet his match.
Donald Cerrone vs. Melvin Guillard
In the co-main event we have two former team-mates coming to meet each other in a bout that has knowledgeable fight fans predicting ?Fight of the night? from the moment it was announced.
Cowboy Donald Cerrone meets his former Jackson?s camp teammate Melvin Guillard in another bout from the stacked UFC lightweight division.
Jackson fighter?s such as Carlos Conduit and Clay Guida have recently been criticised for supposedly negative tactics in big fights and for looking to win fights by point scoring. It is highly unlikely that either Cerrone or Guillard will be accused of that following this bout as both are known for their entertaining fights and both like to finish their opponents.
Cerrone was thought to be close to a title shot before his defeat to Nate Diaz at the turn of the year. He looked uncharacteristically tentative against Diaz although he did rebound with a unanimous three round victory against Jeremy Stephans in May.
The Cowboy will be looking to use this victory against his friend and former training partner to propel himself, as Dana White likes to say, ?back in the mix? for a title shot in the deepest, most talented division in the UFC.
He is fighting a highly experienced and highly unpredictable fighter in Guillard. The dude is 29 years old and has had 43 pro fights!
The issue with Guillard is that you never know which fighter is going to show up. He has the ubiquitous ?one-punch knockout power? so loved by fight commentators and fight fans alike.
This is evident by his ?two knock out of the night? awards but he can also come to fights with what would appear to be a lack of focus.
When he fought Joe Lauzon at UFC 136 he came in smiling and dancing, giving fans high fives, playing to the crowd as he swaggered his way to the Octagon; he opened the bout with an audacious flying knee which left him open.
He got caught by Lauzon who clipped him and took him to the ground, where the Boston fighter choked him out within 42 seconds.
This was an important fight for Melvin as previous impressive victories and a victory would have solidified his ranking at the top of the division and opened up the possibility of a title shot.
Guillard should certainly be aware of the ground game of his opponent on Saturday night. Cowboy Cerrone has lethal BJJ with 13 of his 18 victories coming by way of submission.
While he only has one victory by knockout people should certainly not sleep on his striking abilities.
He is after all the former S-1 May Thai United States Champion and compiled a 28-0-1 record as a kickboxer.
He has won two Fight of the Night awards, a knockout of the night and a submission of the night during his time in the UFC, coupled with 5 of his 9 fights in W.E.C. being awarded Fight of the Night it is safe to say that the Cowboy won?t be looking to eke out a result this Saturday night, he comes to fight like a regulator (Young Guns not Warren G btw!).
Best of the Rest
Scrap Pack member and professional Ryan Reynolds impersonator Jake Shields looks to improve his UFC record to 3-2 with a victory over Ed Herman in the middleweight division.
Two recent Ultimate Fighter alumni fight on Saturday. Dennis Bermudez who fought on the Bisping vs. Miller season and was defeated in the final by Diego Brandao (aka Jose Aldo Jr, Jr) , will face Tommy Hayden on the undercard in the featherweight division.
The highly touted Justin Lawrence, who recently fought as a lightweight in the most recent season, the Ultimate Fighter Live will drop down to the featherweight division to face off against Max Holloway.
UFC 150: Henderson vs Edgar II will be on ESPN live at 3am, Sunday 12th August.
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