Ben Henderson and Frankie Edgar ended one of the most exciting UFC events in months with a spectacular main-event. In the end of what could only be described as a war, Henderson got the win and the UFC lightweight championship.
I think it is fair to say that the Henderson vs. Edgar fight lived up to expectations. The fight was non-stop action for a full 25 minutes. The highlight of the fight came in the final seconds of the second round when Henderson nailed Edgar from his back with an up kick. The up kick brutalized Edgar and appeared to open a blood faucet on Edgar’s nose. Henderson’s size and power just seemed to be too much tonight for Edgar.
Edgar was a mess after the fight. His left eye was close to, if not completely shut. His nose was broken. Yet he never stopped coming after Henderson. The fight ended with Henderson on top of Edgar. Two judges scored the fight 49-46 while one scored it 48-47. Henderson looked ready to go another five rounds in the post fight interview. Henderson officially ends the almost two year reign of Edgar which began on April 10, 2010 in Abu Dhabi with a win over BJ Penn. This is only the second loss of Edgar’s career, his first loss in 7 fights, with his last coming in 2008 to Gray Maynard.
I think the pressure will be on Edgar to move down in weight and challenge Jose Aldo for the UFC featherweight championship. Personally, I am not ready to give up on Edgar on lightweight. One loss shouldn’t automatically force a guy out of the division. I think the money is on another Edgar vs. Henderson fight before even considering a drop to featherweight. Yes Henderson is much bigger but it wasn’t a problem for 14 fights.
I could see the UFC moving past Frankie and making a Henderson vs. Anthony Pettis UFC lightweight title, which would be a rematch of their WEC lightweight title fight from 2010. Pettis won the championship from Henderson via unanimous decision, although the fight is most remembered for Pettis’ kick off the cage. Pettis destroyed Joe Lauzon in the first round at UFC 144 in what appeared to be a number one contender’s fight.
In other UFC 144 news, Ryan Bader finally got that first win over an elite UFC fighter. Bader defeated Rampage Jackson via unanimous decision in the semi main-event. Jackson came into the fight overweight and looked every bit of it here. Jackson was able to slam Bader at one point which looked to rock Bader hard. Jackson’s slam likely blew him up because he didn’t swarm in for the kill in what would really be the only opening for a win. Jackson has been talking retirement lately. Jackson hasn’t had “it” in awhile. It wouldn’t shock me to see Rampage close out his career at UFC 144.
Benson Henderson defeated Frankie Edgar via unanimous decision to become new UFC lightweight champion
Ryan Bader defeated Quinton Jackson via unanimous decision
Mark Hunt defeated Cheick Kongo via first-round TKO
Jake Shields defeated Yoshihiro Akiyama via unanimous decision
Tim Boetsch defeated Yushin Okami via third-round TKO
Hatsu Hioki defeated Bart Palaszewski via unanimous decision
Anthony Pettis defeated Joe Lauzon via first-round KO
Takanori Gomi defeated Eiji Mitsuoka via second-round TKO
Vaughan Lee defeated Norifumi Yamamoto via submission
Riki Fukuda defeated Steve Cantwell via unanimous decision
Chris Cariaso defeated Takeya Mizugaki by unanimous decision
Issei Tamura defeated Tiequan Zhang via second-round KO
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