One of the most anticipated fights of the year highlights Saturday night's UFC 150 card at the Pepsi Center in Denver as Benson Henderson defends his lightweight championship in a rematch with Frankie Edgar.
Henderson took the 155-pound title from Edgar at UFC 144 in Japan on Feb. 26 by unanimous decision. The 5-foot-9 Henderson, a former WEC lightweight champion, took advantage of his size over the 5-foot-6 Edgar. Henderson landed a vicious kick from a prone position in the second round that bloodied Edgar's nose and face. Edgar survived that round, but the kick left blood pouring from his nose and the wound opened up again in the third round while Edgar's left eye closed from an earlier blow.
The judges favored Henderson 49-46, 48-47 and 49-46, although afterward Edgar said he thought he "did enough to win." Many observers agreed with him. The victory was the fourth consecutive win for "Smooth" (16-2) under the UFC umbrella. He had previously beaten Mark Bocek, Jim Miller and Clay Guida, all by unanimous decision, en route to his title shot. Henderson entered UFC after losing a title bout to Anthony Pettis in December 2010 in the final WEC match of Henderson's career.
Edgar (14-2-1) had won the lightweight title in April 2010 by beating B.J. Penn in a unanimous decision at UFC 112. "The Answer" followed that with another decision victory over Penn in August 2010. Edgar then earned a draw on New Year's Day 2011 against Grey Maynard in that year's "Fight of the Year" before beating Maynard eight months later by a fourth-round knockout. Then Henderson got his shot at the champ and took advantage.
Originally, UFC president Dana White was trying to convince Edgar to move down to 145 pounds before Edgar convinced him to get another shot at Henderson. Edgar did leave the door open to competing at 145 pounds in the future. The Henderson-Edgar winner is slated to next fight Nate Diaz after he beat Jim Miller in the headline bout of UFC on Fox 3 in May.
At the book, Henderson is taking a stunning amount of action, more than 96 percent. That has moved him from -185 to -190, with Edgar from +150 to +155. Henderson is 2-0 in his past two bouts as the favorite at Bovada, while Edgar is 3-1-1 as the underdog in his past five. The last time Edgar was this big of a dog was in that draw vs. Maynard. That line opened at Edgar -105 and Maynard -125 and made its way to +140/-170, respectively.
Meanwhile, the other top fight on Saturday's card matches Jake Shields and Ed Herman in a middleweight battle.
Shields (27-6-1) the former Strikeforce middleweight champion, had competed at welterweight in each of his past four fights, going 2-2. He was last in the Octagon on that Edgar-Henderson UFC 144 card, beating Yoshihiro Akiyama by unanimous decision to end a two-fight losing streak. Before earning his Strikeforce title, Shields held the EliteXC welterweight belt.
Herman (20-8) missed nearly two years after suffering a knee injury in a loss to Aaron Simpson at UFC 102 in August 2009. He returned to action in June 2011 by beating Tim Credeur by first-round TKO in the "Ultimate Fighter 13" season finale. He has followed that with submission wins over Kyle Noke and Clifford Starks, the latter in February. Herman's fights rarely go the distance as only four of his career bouts have done so. Five of Shields' past six bouts have gone to a decision.
Shields is taking more than 77 percent of the action on the moneyline and currently is at -190, with Herman at +155. Shields is 2-1 in his past three fights as a betting favorite, while Herman is 3-1 in his past four as the underdog.
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