Frankie Edgar will get his chance at redemption when he faces UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson in a rematch of their epic five round title bout at UFC 144.
The previous match ended in a controversial five round decision in which many people thought Edgar had done enough to retain his title. The judges felt differently and Henderson was awarded the victory and the lightweight belt in the process. Edgar began to campaign for an immediate rematch, stating that he deserved one since he was required to grant rematches in his two previous title defenses against Lightweight legend BJ Penn and long time rival Gray Maynard.
The first fight was an absolute barnburner with both men trading blows and going to war for five rounds. The rematch is expected to be just as spectacular. Let’s take a minute to go over the card and make some predictions and review the betting odds.
Benson Henderson (-200) vs. Frankie Edgar (+165): The first fight between these two was an instant classic but make no mistake about it, Henderson won the fight convincingly. There may have been a few close rounds but “Smooth” did the most damage and landed the more effective strikes.
Frankie was in the fight and looked good until a second round up-kick changed the complexion of the bout and slowed Edgar down to the point where he was never able to produce any significant offense.
Edgar can win this fight, but he is going to have to rely on speed and technique and not make any mistakes. The problem for Edgar is that speed and technique are the same things the Champ relies on. It’s hard to count Edgar out as he is probably the toughest fighter in any division but Henderson is just a bad style match-up.
Prediction: Whether or not you believe Henderson won the first fight, there is no question that he did the most damage. I expect more of the same in the rematch and getting the champ at only -200 feels like a steal. Edgar has the skills to win this fight, but he won’t. Henderson will win by a fourth round stoppage.
Donald Cerron is a heavy favorite in his bout again Melvin Guillard
Donald Cerrone (-310) vs. Melvin Guillard (+240): If there is any fight on this card that you expect to be an all out war, it’s this one. Cerrone and Guilard are two guys that love to get into slug-fests. This could easy be a fight of the night, if not fight of the year candidate. It’s also a fight that probably won’t see the end of three rounds.
The storyline heading into the bout has been the friendship between both fighters who used to train under Greg Jackson. Both men, who have celebrated birthdays together, have said the friendship will not play a part on their thought process for the fight. There has not been any bad blood leading up to the bout and both seem to respect each other, but that does not mean there won’t be fireworks once they step into the Octagon.
This fight is Cerrone’s to lose. He might very well be the better striker of the two but his real advantage comes on the ground with his submission game. Guillard’s submission defense has been an issue for him and, even though he has improved, being taking to the ground by Cerrone will be a real problem.
Prediction: Cerrone at -310 seems about right. Guillard’s only chance is to keep the bout standing and trade big blows with the ‘Cowboy’. This fight will have no storage of action and I expect it to end rather quickly no matter what happens. Cerrone will win by 2nd round knockout.
Jake Shields prepares for his return to the Middleweight Division against Dave Herman.
Jake Shields (-205) vs. Ed Herman (+170): Jake Shields has not had an easy transition into the Octagon since moving over from Strikeforce a few years ago. Shields has lost two of his last three fights and never really became comfortable fighting at the 170 lbs. The former Strikeforce champ decided to move back up to Middleweight where he is most comfortable and is coming off a win against Dan Henderson in his last bout in the division.
Ed Herman has been a solid Middleweight fighter with decent striking and an impressive ground game, but this fight is more about Shields than anything. Dominating in Strikeforce is a far different animal than dominating in the UFC. This fight is a test to see how much of a Middleweight contender Shields really is. Herman has a chance in this bout as he is the bigger fighter and better striker.
Prediction: This fight is by no means a cake walk for Shields and being a 2 to 1 favorite is probably a little to high. Size might play a role in this fight and if Shields cannot take Herman to the ground he will have a hard time winning. We know that Shields is an elite fighter and will probably get the victory, I just wouldn’t bet on it at -200. Jake Shields wins by decision.
George Monroy is a blogger that writes about sports, technology and movies. You can follow his movie blog at www.themoviegrind.com