This Saturday UFC 144 comes to us from the Saitama Super Arena in Tokyo, Japan and will feature what I think will be one of the most exciting fights of 2012.
That fight being the main event which features UFC Lightweight Champion, Frankie Edgar (14-1 MMA, 9-1-1 UFC) defending the strap against former WEC Lightweight Champion, Ben Henderson (15-2 MMA, 3-0 UFC).
This will be the 4th title defense but only the 3rd different opponent that he has defended against. Edgar defended the title against BJ Penn in August of 2010 which was only four months after he defeated Penn for to win the title. Then, on New Years Day of 2011 Edgar would defend the title for a 2nd time against arch enemy, Gray Maynard in what would be a very controversial non-victory for either fighter as it was ruled a draw. None the less, Edgar once again walked away with the title. Then, due to injuries to both Edgar and Maynard, the immediate rematch was put off until October of 2011 where we saw yet another war between these which ended the feud when we saw Edgar KO Maynard in the 4th round.
Finally Edgar gets a new and fresh opponent in Ben Henderson. Henderson’s strength somewhat matches Maynard’s except the fact that Henderson’s chin seems to be a little more durable as we saw him take some shots from Clay Guida in the contender fight at UFC on Fox 1.
As of right now, the Fat Ninja Media Poll that is going on is who will be victorious in the UFC 144 main event. As of right now, Frankie Edgar leads the votes and the way of victory is via decision. On this past Saturday’s Cage Talk, that was my prediction that we will see Edgar defeat Henderson via decision. Maybe even a split decision.
Ben Henderson brings a lot of momentum into this fight as he has gone 3-0 in the UFC since the WEC Lightweight merged with it’s parent company. His debut victory was over Mark Bocek. Then, he halted Jim Miller’s seven fight win streak at UFC Live 5 with another unanimous decision and very dominating victory over the guy that everyone thought would be challenging for the title next.
UFC on Fox 1 would be Henderson’s next challenge, the ever durable, Clay Guida. Guida was on a four fight win streak and certainly in the title hunt. Especially with a victory over Ben Henderson. In what was an absolute war, we saw Henderson come out on top with a unanimous decision victory which brings us to UFC 144.
Frankie Edgar is most certainly the faster of the two fighters and I feel that Henderson is the stronger of the two. I give the striking advantage to Edgar, the endurance edge to Edgar as well. Wrestling and submission goes to Henderson. Personally, I feel that this fight is going to come down to if Henderson can get the takedowns on Edgar. If he can, I think Edgar will have a hard time on his back as Henderson is the bigger and stronger guy. However, I do not think it will be as easy as a lot of people think to take the champ down. Maynard had a substantial size advantage over Edgar and he had a tough time taking him down, BJ Penn at lightweight can take anyone down and he had a difficult time as well.
Edgar’s speed, boxing, takedown defense and durability will be the key factors in this fight, and I feel it will lead the champion to victory in what has a chance to be the fight of 2012.