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Benson Henderson takes UFC lightweight title in classic decision

Maggie Hendricks
Cagewriter

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And new lightweight champion (Tracy Lee)

Benson Henderson won the UFC's lightweight belt by winning a decision 49-46, 48-47, 49-46 over Frankie Edgar at Saitama Super Arena in Japan on Saturday. His cardio and strength were too much for the smaller Edgar.

The two lightweights came out with great movement and crazy strikes in the first round, just as you would expect from two smaller guys. Edgar stalked Henderson down, but Henderson did not back away from the fight. He threw several kicks, and Edgar caught them.

[Video: Henderson is too strong for Edgar]

In the second round, Edgar continued to move around the cage and cut angles, meeting Henderson with leg kicks. Again, Edgar caught Henderson's kicks, but Henderson adapted in this round and threw a jab, even with his leg in Edgar's hands. Henderson cut Edgar's left eye with his jab, and it swelled as the fight went on. Late in the second, Edgar got a takedown, and when he moved off Henderson, "Smooth" landed a perfect upkick. Edgar fell to the ground. He survived, but Henderson did serious damage to Edgar's nose.

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When the third round began, Edgar's nose was swollen and pouring blood. Henderson pounced when Edgar slipped on a kick, and he took Edgar to the ground. Henderson tried to take Edgar's back, but couldn't because of how Edgar moved away. Late in the round, Edgar got a takedown.

Henderson started the fourth round with few marks on his face, while Edgar's was busted up and swollen. Halfway through the round, Edgar went for a takedown. Henderson pulled guard and caught Edgar in a guillotine. Though it was deep, Edgar was able to pop his head out.

Before the fifth and final round, Henderson's corner asked, "Do you got five good minutes?" Henderson answered, "I've got 15."

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Henderson showed that freshness as he landed several shots and shook off the ones Edgar threw. Edgar continued to try for a takedown, but Henderson shook him off. He moved around the cage as if it was the first minute of the bout, not the 25th.

After the bout, Henderson thanked a former opponent for the upkick that changed the course of the fight.

"I gotta thank [fellow UFC lightweight] Cowboy Cerrone for that because he landed it on me, and that hurt bad."

Henderson previously held a title belt in the WEC, and now he has UFC gold secure around his waist. His well-rounded game was too much for Edgar. The fact that Henderson could have gone another three rounds spoke volumes to the judges.

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