This Saturday, UFC 150 will play host to yet another UFC lightweight title rematch. At UFC 144, former WEC Champion Benson Henderson won a five-round unanimous decision over Frankie Edgar to capture the UFC’s Lightweight Championship. As many people expected him too, Edgar immediately called for a rematch and was awarded it by the UFC. The precedent for an immediate return engagement had long been established through Edgar’s title reign. Edgar started his title run by defeating the former Champion BJ Penn, but was forced to defeat Penn a second time and he followed that up with a two fight series against Gray Maynard, battling to a draw in Fight 1 and winning via knockout in their second encounter.
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Henderson has been installed as a -190 favorite at Bovada for UFC 150 odds while Edgar is at +155.
At UFC 144, Henderson entered the fight as the slight betting underdog, but as this writer predicted he walked away with the title nonetheless. Edgar now finds himself in the role of the challenger and underdog, something that he has been quite accustomed to throughout his career.
The biggest question surrounding Edgar’s success has been his size. He is an undersized 155-pounder and would be better suited to compete at featherweight, but his speed, boxing skills, and impressive durability have made him a tough matchup for any lightweight opponent.
While Maynard and Penn had flashes of success against Edgar, Henderson was able to consistently exploit Edgar’s physical disadvantages. The difference between Henderson and Edgar’s previous opponents was that Henderson was able to match Edgar’s other advantages in speed and conditioning. Edgar had been able to rely on these attributes to make up for what he lacked physically, but it became quickly apparent that this would not be the case against Henderson.
Although Edgar was landing more strikes in the early stages of the fight, Henderson was doing considerably more damage when he attacked. Additionally, Edgar found limited success with his wrestling, going 5-for-12 in the takedown department, and when he did get Henderson on his back Edgar was unable to maintain any form of control and quickly lost the position.
When the final round began, Edgar’s face was battered and bruised while Henderson’s appearance had changed little from the opening bell. Edgar’s fast footwork and allusive striking style was still present, but when combined with the visual damage and Henderson’s aggressive forward push it began to appear that Edgar was on the wrong end of a losing battle.
Attempting to predict an immediate rematch has its obvious advantages, but there is also an element of unknown. Back in the role of the challenger, Edgar will have worked hard to prepare for this fight and it is difficult to predict what alterations to his game plan he has made. For the victor there is always the possibility of complacency, but that shouldn’t be the case here. Expect Henderson to be motivated to remain champion, although having succeeded against Edgar already don’t expect too many changes to his original game plan.
I struggle to see where Edgar can make enough modifications to have success in his second encounter. Henderson is a well-rounded opponent and matches up well with Edgar in pretty much every category. As a result, I am predicting the same outcome as their first fight, Henderson to defeat Edgar by decision. And at -190, Henderson isn’t a bad play by himself, but there are a couple of other options.
Consider taking the champ to win the fight by decision or the total rounds to go “over,” as was the case in the first fight. Don’t expect either of these two options to have huge returns, but they should be slightly better than taking Henderson straight up.
If you are looking for a much higher payout and are okay with a little bit of risk, think about placing a wager on Henderson to win via knockout. The champ really isn’t known for his knockout power and Edgar has never been stopped, which should have this prop paying out quite nicely. Frankie has incurred a great deal of damage over his last three fights; Maynard hurt him badly twice, the up-kick by Henderson did a massive amount of damage, and it was quite evident at the end of the last fight that Edgar was feeling the effects of fighting through consecutive battles. Edgar has persevered before, but if Henderson is able to inflict more damage to the former champ we could see him eventually succumb to a flash knockout or brutal ground-and-pound stoppage, giving this bet some realistic potential.
Regardless of the outcome, the UFC 144 main event was fantastic and we can only expect the UFC 150 rematch to be equally as entertaining. Make sure to check out the rest of the UFC 150: Henderson vs Edgar 2 predictions here at Doc Sports.