A review of UFC 150: Henderson vs. Edgar 2, which featured one bad decision, two good fights, and a bunch of other stuff.
Ben Henderson def. Frankie Edgar: The judges got this one wrong. It was a close fight, but a close fight doesn’t always mean a close decision. I thought Edgar edged the fight and it wasn’t as close as the first one. Henderson started off well with leg kicks, but he went away from that after the first round. It was a good strategy because leg kicks take away the movement of Edgar, but once he got away from them, Edgar started to find his rhythm and out-box Henderson. Edgar’s counter striking looked much improved in this fight and he was doing a great job of ducking under Henderson’s punches when he came in. Henderson landed his fair share of punches, but his jab wasn’t nearly as effective as it was in the first fight and his counter right was landing as much either. There wasn’t much grappling in the fight, but when there was, Edgar was getting the better of things outside of a guillotine in the first. He landed a couple of takedowns and had front headlock control a couple of times, where he was able to land knees to the body. Henderson clearly won the first round, and while the rest of the rounds were close, I thought Edgae did enough to win at least three of the four. Unfortunately for Edgar, the judges saw it differently and the Henderson retained his title. It once again highlighted the biggest problem in MMA and that’s shitty judging. They took a very good, technical, chess match of a fight and made it about them instead of the performances of Henderson and Edgar. Edgar proved in this fight, once again, that he’s just fine at 155 and should stay there if he wants to. I know everyone wants to see him fight Jose Aldo for the 145 title, but he’s been great at 155, he’s proven that he can hang with anyone in the division, and he should stay there if that’s where he’s most comfortable. The problem is, despite the fact that both fights were close, he’s officially lost two straight fights to the champion. If Henderson remains the champion, it’s tough to sell a third fight unless Edgar puts together a couple of good wins. Of course it’s always possible that Henderson loses the title in his next fight against Nate Diaz, thus putting Edgar right back into the thick of things. Even though he lost, I was really impressed with Edgar again. He made slight adjustments and took the fight to Henderson, who just seemed a bit too relaxed in the cage. I’m sure Henderson thought he was up, but he didn’t fight with that sense of urgency that you would expect a champion to fight with in a close fight. Edgar, like a man who lost the first fight, made the proper adjustments between bouts. Besides the early leg kicks, Henderson didn’t really make any adjustments and tried to fight how he fought the first time around, which obviously would’ve worked had Edgar fought the same way as well. Henderson got the victory though and now he fights Nate Diaz, which is a hell of a fight given both of their styles. And no matter Edgar does next, chances are he’s going to succeed and look even better.
Donald Cerrone def. Melvin Guillard: Oh what a glorious 76 seconds this was. Guillard rocked Cerrone early with a left hook and tried to swarm on him for the finish, but Cerrone was able to survive and regain his bearings. Then Cerrone rocked Guillard with a head kick before knocking him out with a straight right. This fight was Guillard’s career in a nutshell. He was winning….and then he lost. Guillard is obviously a talented fighter who can knock anyone out at any times, but his weaknesses are too much for him to mask. He’ll beat top fighters, but he’ll also lose to lesser fighters when he probably shouldn’t. Cerrone isn’t a lesser fighter though. He’s proven over the last year and a half that he’s one of the top guys in the division. He’s not afraid to scrap with anyone and he’s improved a lot since his WEC days. He and Anthony Pettis have been going back and forth with words for awhile now and I really hope that fight happens because there’s no way that it won’t be exciting. Plus the winner could easily be considered the #1 contender and I don’t think anyone would have a problem with any combination of Diaz, Henderson, Cerrone, Pettis fighting for the title.
Jake Shields def. Ed Herman: Dana White was really excited for this fight before it happened. Dana White was really disappointed with this fight once it happened. I don’t know what Herman’s strategy was, but it was stupid. Instead of using his striking, which isn’t great but definitely better than Shields’s, he decided to clinch up with Shields. That would’ve been a good idea if Shields’s strong suit wasn’t his grappling and clinch takedowns. So every time Herman clinched up, Shields put him on his back and dominated from the top. I’m not sure Shields landed a single strike from the top position, but he was actively passing and looking for submissions. It wasn’t an exciting fight, but I don’t think anyone except Dana thought it would be, and I have to give credit to Shields for doing what he does. Shields at middleweight could be a problem for guys as well. He has the style to wear opponents down and frustrate them. He’s obviously a very flawed fighter, but he is great at fighting to his strengths and hiding his weaknesses. And while I think Anderson Silva destroys him (and really, who doesn’t Anderson destroy?) Shields is a tough match-up in terms of style. Shields may not get to Silva though because I could see him facing Tim Boetsch in his next fight and Boetsch is a tough style fight for Shields.
Yushin Okami def. Buddy Roberts: This one was expectedly underwhelming. Roberts was doing pretty well on the feet, but once Okami decided that he wanted to clinch and take him down, he did so with ease. On the ground Okami continued to make it look easy by getting back control and punching Roberts in the arm. Finally the referee saw enough arm punching and decided to stop the fight. I’m pretty sure Okami didn’t really hurt Roberts but Roberts was going absolutely nowhere so the ref had no choice but to stop things. This fight doesn’t really prove that Okami is back or anything, because Roberts was in way over his head, but it was a much-needed victory for the former title contender. I still maintain that Okami is one of the better middleweights in the world and he’s going to beat most guys in the division. I know I just said that Shields may fight Boestch next, but I could also see him fighting Okami just in case the UFC wants eliminate one boring fight from the card and one boring fighter from title contention.
Max Holloway def. Justin Lawrence: This was a nice little sparring contest and nothing more. Truthfully, I didn’t pay much attention to this fight. They got into some exchanges, Lawrence failed on some takedowns, and Holloway finished him with a nice left hook to the body. I think Holloway is a very talented kid. His first UFC fight was against Dustin Poirier, he took that fight on short notice, and got submitted. Even in defeat though, his striking looked pretty good. In his last two fights, with a full training camp, he’s continued to impress with his striking and his takedown defense is improving. Now I won’t go too overboard with praise because he beat Pat Schilling, a low-level fighter, and Lawrence, an overhyped fighter because he has a karate style, but Holloway is only 20 years old and already fighting at a pretty high level. There’s no reason why this kid can’t be in the title picture in the next three years if he continues to improve at this rate.