Benson ‘Smooth’ Henderson successfully defended his lightweight championship for the first time Saturday at Pepsi Center in Denver, capturing a controversial split-decision victory over the former champ, Frankie ‘The Answer’ Edgar.
One judge scored it 49-46 Edgar, but the two others had in 48-47 in favor of Henderson. VegasInsider.com had it 49-46 for Edgar.
Jason Floyd of MMAReport.com and Kevin Iole of YahooSports.com both scored it 49-46 in favor of Edgar.
Henderson hooked up his betting supporters as a minus-220 favorite, while Edgar backers holding tickets of plus-180 (or better) were left furious with the end result. The fight went the distance as expected according to the minus-260 price.
Henderson will make his next title defense against Nate Diaz, who I expect to be a small favorite. Meanwhile, Edgar has to decide if he wants to drop down to the 145-pound loop where he would probably be one win away from taking on Jose Aldo for the featherweight championship.
If Edgar stays at 155, he’s at least 2-3 wins away from getting another shot at the belt.
In the co-main event, Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone overcame a furious barrage of strikes and knees from Melvin Guillard in the first minute to finish the bout with a headkick and enormous right hand that put ‘The Young Assassin’ to sleep at the 1:16 mark of Round 1. Cerrone cashed tickets as a huge minus-400 favorite.
Gamblers taking ‘under’ 1.5 rounds were winners for the even-money wager.
Cerrone, fighting in his hometown of Denver, improved to 6-1 in the Octagon and possibly set himself up for a No. 1 contender bout against Anthony ‘Showtime’ Pettis.
Cerrone won an extra $100,000 with a pair of checks for 50K thanks to winning KO of the Night and Fight of the Night honors. Guillard, who missed weight by 1.5 pounds and therefore had to forfeit 10 percent of his purse, was able to garner the 50 large for Fight of the Night.
Fighting at middleweight for the first time in the UFC, Jake Shields collected a unanimous-decision victory over Ed Herman as a minus-180 ‘chalk.’ Shields won by scores of 30-27, 29-28 and 30-27.
After dropping back-to-back fights, Yushin ‘Thunder’ Okami got back into the win column thanks to a second-round TKO of Buddy Roberts as a monster minus-600 favorite. Okami improved to 11-4 in the UFC with his only losses coming to Rich Franklin, Anderson Silva, Chael Sonnen and Tim Boetsch, who had to post a furious third-round rally to take down the Japanese star at UFC 144.
In the opening fight on the pay-per-view card, Max Holloway took out Justin Lawrence with a violent second-round finish in what was basically a pick ‘em fight at most spots.
Dennis Bermudez won Submission of the Night with his standing guillotine choke late in the first round against Tommy Hayden in the featherweight division.
B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**
--Multiple reports over the weekend indicated that the UFC will most likely put Rory MacDonald vs. B.J. Penn on the UFC on Fox 5 show.
--Anderson ‘The Spider’ Silva will not return to the Octagon until early 2013.
--The troubled Jason ‘Mayhem’ Miller was arrested Monday in a church in Orange County, California, after allegedly breaking into a church and destroying property by using fire extinguishers. Miller, who was recently released by the UFC and had a testy twitter exchange with Dana White over the weekend, has a history of mental illness. He was allegedly found naked in the church by authorities.
--Cerrone’s KO of Guillard was the first suffered by the New Orleans native in 44 career fights. Guillard has been submitted nine times, however, but his first KO defeat came at the hands of his former teammate, Cerrone. Dana White and Joe Silva: Please set up Guillard against Clay Guida in what would be a thriller. After Guida’s snoozer of a loss to Gray Maynard, ‘The Carpenter’ needs an exciting matchup like this.
--Check out our friend Jason Floyd’s new website: The MMA Report. Jason has these thoughts on what’s next for Rashad Evans.
Brian Edwards can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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