It is a recurring theme in the UFC – the idea that you ‘should not leave it to the judges’. Well 155 lb Champion Ben Henderson and former champion Frankie Edgar battled another 5 rounds last night at the UFC, another methodical and technical battle of elite guys, and they left it to the judges. Henderson narrowly defended his belt in a split decision in a match tht most observers had going the other way. UFC President Dana White was non committal in the post fight conferences, but once again the judges were all over the map on this one, and it makes little sense.
They are both good fighters, neither is Joe Frazier or Muhammad Ali, but there is a comparison. Ali and Frazier fought a total of 44 rounds in their three mammoth encounters, and though Ali won the trilogy 2-1, there is probably 1 or 2 rounds that separate the two men.
These two guys are very even, and I must say I agree that Henderson won the first fight.
Coming out of the second five round encounter between the two, it was clear that both men came in with the same basic game plan as in the first fight.
The first impression of the fight is that it was Edgar whose fine tuning was more effectiive. It seemed as if Henderson was a race car driver who never really floored it. Edgar pushed the pace, tried a couple of submissions and aside from a couple of low kicks, landed the more effective strikes.
The other big factor is that Edgar absorbed very little damage, and was never in any danger. In the first fight, Edgar was rocked and subsequently slowed down by a vicious upkick from Henderson, and after the fight his face wore the damage of a full 25 minute fight.
Not this time. Henderson never got off anything threatening at any time during the fight. Afterwards, Henderson stated he wasn’t affected by the altitude, but he certainly wasn’t in overdrive like he should have been for his first title defense.
I had Edgar winning the fight, which would have given us an intriguing Edgar-Nate Diaz match.
As it is, I see Diaz beating Henderson, and I see a trilogy with Edgar and Henderson, though that will take a few years.