When they first met, they went the distance and the judges gave it to Benson Henderson. But this time, when former lightweight champ Frankie Edgar and reigning champ Henderson scrapped, it seemed just a little more clear-cut, and it appeared as if "The Answer" had done enough in their five rounds of hard-fought conflict to reclaim that precious belt that was once his. But the judges — in their infinite wisdom, or lack thereof — disagreed. That's the story of UFC 150's main event. More after the jump.
The youngest man on the UFC's roster also just happens to possess a wicked body shot, as TUF veteran Justin Lawrence found out much to his dismay. In the bout between 20-year-old striker Max Holloway and 22-year-old striker Lawrence, there was zero grappling on the ground and tons of lightning-quick exchanges on the feet, with both fighters dinging each other up throughout all of the first and most of the second round. But Holloway was relentless in his pressure, and when he softened Lawrence up with a knee to the body, then followed it up with a pair of hooks to the ribs, Lawrence folded in pain against the cage. The ensuing storm of punches had referee Josh Rosenthal stepping in and making the TKO official at 4:49 of Round 2.
Buddy Roberts established early on that standing and trading with him would be a very dangerous prospect — established with hard jabs, crosses and kicks that clearly hurt — so former middleweight contender Yushin Okami made every effort to make this match a ground war. And he was successful, pulling Roberts down and punishing him with punches from back-mount at the end of the first round, and doing the same early on in the second. The American had no answer for the predicament Okami put him in, and the referee was forced to end it at 3:05 of the round, giving the Japanese fighter the win via TKO.
For some odd reason, Ed Herman felt that his best chance at beating Jake Shields was to pretend the walls of the Octagon were a giant cheese grater and the former Strikeforce champ was a piece of cheese. That was the uneventful story of Round 1, and Shields avoided being the cheese in Round 2 by taking the TUF runner-up down and trying to methodically jiu-jitsu him to death. The third round was pretty much the same as the second, and though it was the furthest thing from an exciting, crowd-pleasing battle, for Shields, it got the job done. He took the unanimous decision (29-29, 30-27, 30-27) when time ran out.
It was quick, but damn was it fun. In the lightweight co-main event between former teammates Donald Cerrone and Melvin Guillard, Cerrone came out full of confidence and walked into a left hook that had him stumbling and in grave danger of going to sleep. But even though Guillard pursued him and tried to land the coup de grace, Cerrone recovered — at least, well enough to clip the "Young Assassin" with a high-kick and finish him with a devastating right. Guillard was out cold at 1:16 of the first round, and while it lasted, this one was a thriller.
Whenever Henderson and Edgar fight, they're destined to go five rounds. No ifs, ands or buts about it. That's simply what they'll do. Round 1 saw the former champ eating low-kicks to the calf that had him stumbling and falling, and though he scored a takedown in the late seconds of the frame, Edgar was caught in a tight guillotine. He survived, and in Round 2, he dropped Henderson with a right and threatened with a guillotine of his own while sprawling away from the champ's takedown attempt. With Henderson and Edgar picking and choosing their shots and neither really hurting the other, the third was extremely tough to score, but "The Answer" made it a little easier in the fourth by landing a takedown. If we've learned anything from watching these two fight for so many rounds, it's that they'll never make it easy for the judges, and Round 5 was true to form, as both pecked at each other and neither took the definitive lead. However, when it came to scoring, his unerring right hand seemed to be at least racking up points, it did seem like Edgar took the round The end result? A split decision (46-49, 48-47, 48-47) in favor of Henderson, who retained his belt but was showered by boos from a crowd that thought Edgar had deserved the "W."