Sunday, 19 February 2012

UFC 144: Henderson vs Edgar Preview

Article first published as UFC 144: Edgar vs Henderson Preview on Technorati

Japan holds a special place in the hearts of many fighters and fans as it was the home to some of the best fighters in the sport in the early part of the century.  Zuffa (the UFC's parent company) bought Pride in 2007 and the organization was shut down shortly after.  The UFC has far surpassed Pride's popularity and heads back to Japan with a great card that blends old Japanese favorites and some of the new faces of MMA.

While Japanese fans may be most looking forward to the return of Rampage Jackson to their shores, The headlining bout is an incredible lightweight title between Frankie Edgar and Benson Henderson.
  UFC Japan
Recent History
  •  Since crossing over to the UFC from he WEC, Ben Henderson has gone 3-0 a run that includes his most recent, incredible fight against Clay Guida.
  • Frankie Edgar has just come off a peculiar run of fighting the same fighter back to back, twice.
  • He beat BJ Penn twice in a row and drew with and subsequently knocked out Gray Maynard.

Ben Henderson is an incredibly well rounded fighter.  He possesses unrivaled pace and energy as he showed in his incredible fight against Clay Guida at the inaugural UFC on Fox event.  He has brilliant powerful wrestling and diverse striking.  Even when he goes to decision it is not for lack of trying to finish his fights, he is always exciting.
Edgar is one of the best offensive boxers in MMA, although his defense has been found wanting on occasion (see his two incredible fights with Gray Maynard).  He can be wobbled by big punches but he has the heart and fighting instinct to still be dangerous even when fuzzy headed.  For one of the smallest lightweights in the division, Edgar has great power by dint of perfect punching technique and great timing.

Head to Head

I expect Henderson to do everything he can to take this fight to the ground.  In Edgar, he is facing an opponent with a clear advantage on the feet and the ground is the safest place for him.  This will be easier said than done as Edgar has a wrestling pedigree himself.  Before now, few people have been able to withstand Ben Henderson's wrestling though and I expect him to have some success.  The big question is whether he can do enough damage to the champ when he gets him down.
Edgar's game plan should be to embroil Henderson into a technical boxing match.  The challenger is a competent striker but Edgar has shown himself to be indomitable on his feet against some of the most skilled strikers in the division.


This is controversial but I believe Henderson is the real deal.  Henderson by unanimous decision.

Other UFC 144 Coverage on jiMMA

UFC 144: Rampage vs Bader Preview
UFC 144: Lauzon vs Pettis Preview

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