These experts have inside knowledge of the sport and a unique perspective of the fighters that they have the privilege of interacting with. Before you place that bet in Vegas or with your friends, be sure to check out what those most educated about the sport have to say about the upcoming event.
Read as 13 of the sport’s top writers and reporters break down and predict the UFC 150 main event between Benson “Smooth” Henderson and Frankie “The Answer” Edgar, scheduled for Aug. 11 at the Pepsi Center in Denver, CO.
Mike Bohn (Fight Cove): A lot is made of Frankie Edgar’s ability to made adjustments in rematches and pull out the victory, but I don’t believe that will be the case when he takes on Benson Henderson for the second time. Both guys are studs and while the rematch should be another close, tough fight, Henderson’s size and strength will be the difference maker. Henderson has been a wrecking-ball since coming to the UFC in early 2011, and it’s hard to imagine him slowing down anytime soon. If anything he is becoming more focused and motivated. This is one of the most intriguing fights of the year and I expect an entertaining 25-minutes with Henderson coming out of the fight the same way he went in – with the belt around his waist. Benson Henderson via Unanimous Decision.
Dann Stupp (MMA Junkie): Henderson and Edgar are clearly the best lightweights in the world, and very few guys are even close. However, I think there’s a solid gap between No. 1 (Henderson) and No. 2 (Edgar), and I attribute that largely to Henderson’s remarkable size and stamina. I fully expect this to go a full five rounds, and though I think it’ll be close, I see Henderson winning the later rounds with counter-shots and mounting damage for a decision win.
Kevin Iole (Yahoo! Sports): Benson Henderson W5 Frankie Edgar: The first fight was extremely close and could have gone either way. The same holds true of the rematch. But I expect Henderson’s kicks to be a factor once again and I think he’ll be able to disrupt Edgar’s striking game by weakening his legs. I expect a fast-paced match with plenty of scrambles and heavy contact. I like Henderson to take another close win.
Brett Okamoto (ESPN): These are two of the absolute best fighters in the world, so expect adjustments to be made. That said, ultimately I think we’ll see a similar fight. Edgar will score points. His hand speed is near the best in the division; same goes for his footwork. It’s the defense that has to come through more. He got nailed by a lot of counter jabs from Henderson’s right hand, so an emphasis on moving his head more as he throws combinations is critical. Henderson is fearless throwing kicks because he’s not afraid of a takedown. Even if Edgar manages to dump him, which he did numerous times in the first fight, Henderson’s size advantage allows him to get up rather effortlessly. Momentum swings will happen, but they’ll always tend to swing wider in Henderson’s favor simply because when he lands, it causes more damage than Edgar. Think we’re headed for another Smooth decision win.
Dave Doyle (MMA Fighting/Sports Illustrated): Frankie Edgar is a speedy, shifty fighter who uses his movement and footwork to score points, wear down opponents, and grind his way to victory. Ben Henderson is also a speedy, shifty fighter who uses his movement and footwork to score points, wear down opponents, and grind his way to victory. Oh, and Henderson is both bigger and younger than Edgar, and he hasn’t absorbed the sort of damage in his career against bigger foes that Edgar’s taken in his recent bouts. I’m not in any way counting out Edgar. If he can avoid big blows and push the pace like he did before he took that upkick in the first fight, he very well, he could very well leave Denver a two-time champion. But when push comes to shove, I see this fight playing out like the first. Henderson wins via decision and Edgar reemerges as a 145-pound threat in 2013.
Mike Straka (Fight Now! TV): This fight will be another five round war. Stopping either if these guys have proved impossible for each of their opponents thus far, and this time each guy has made adjustments based on their first fight. I believe we will see more ground from Edgar. He will believe in his wrestling and Jiu Jitsu and I think we will see Frankie on top of Ben for the majority of the fight. I think Benson will come out and throw something flashy from the get go, looking for a highlight reel finish early, but I think it will land him on his back. Edgar has gained muscle for this fight and if he could have figured out a way to add height he would have. Edgar is known to out work his opponents. He stepped it up to a whole other level this time out. Edgar by UD.
Guilherme Cruz (Tatame): Frankie and Bendo are two of my favorite fighters in the lightweight division; there’s no boring match-up when they are inside the cage. And their first bout at UFC 144 proved that. Before I say who I believe is going to win, I find myself in a hard situation: Edgar deserves a rematch? He lost 4 rounds in their first match – but let’s face it, BJ didn’t deserve an immediate rematch either and Frankie agreed to give him one. Ok, they’re fighting this Saturday and my opinion won’t change this. My prediction: Henderson takes it by decision, again. It’s going to be an awesome main event.
Matt Roth (Bleacher Report): I’m picking purely with my heart here. I’m a New Jersey native and will always pick Frankie Edgar, no matter what. He’s proven that he can beat the best that lightweight has to offer in the past and I believe he can do it again. His wrestling and boxing are outstanding which should be the difference maker. Edgar via decision.
Geno Mrosko (MMA Mania): I hate this fight. Not because it won’t be any good — it should be great — but because it’s going to be a carbon copy of the first battle between the two. Edgar will work his stick-and-move boxing while mixing in a takedown attempt or two while Henderson will try to match him shot for shot, sprawling to avoid going to the floor. Or jumping a guillotine or two. Neither guy will finish the other because both are super durable and entirely too capable of taking a beating the likes of which the normal man couldn’t think of. The outcome, ultimately, will also be the same. Henderson wins a hard fought decision and hopefully moves on to far more interesting fights while Edgar ends up moving down to featherweight to make that division interesting.
Stephanie Daniels (Bloody Elbow): I think this fight is going to be an exact carbon copy of the first fight. I think Frankie Edgar should be fighting at 145, I think that’s a solid weight for him. I think he could dominate that division, I think he could beat Jose Aldo. Benson Henderson is going to overpower him and it’s going to be like the first one, maybe even worse. Benson Henderson by decision.
Jason Nawara (Middle Easy): Where do I begin? Well, it’s nice to know that both of these guys could limp into the cage with injuries head to toe with a nasty case of staph taking their will away Big Nog style and we would still see a burner so hot it would destroy the barn in a deadly fire. This fight will deliver – it’s almost a guarantee as solid as death and taxes. That said, Frankie could give anyone a run at their money at 155, but Bendo has his number. Ben Henderson retains the title in another bloody UD.
Adam Martin (The Score): This is such a tough fight to call. Although I gave their first fight to Ben Henderson by a score of 48-47, there were a lot of close rounds in that fight and I can totally see why some people thought Frankie Edgar won it. The rematch should play out similarly, as I don’t see either guy finishing the other, so I think this tightly-contested matchup is headed to the scorecards once again. And you know what? This is crazy but I’m going to go out on a limb and say this fight is scored a draw, resulting in Henderson keeping his strap. Crazy, I know, but I honestly can’t pick a winner or a loser here, it’s just too close to call.
Chuck Mindenhall (ESPN): We know that Edgar is stronger in rematches, and that he’s all heart and Adam’s apple. But here’s the thing: Even though he tweaks his game to do better on second go-rounds, he still gets hit an awful lot, to the point where you wonder if he has to get bloodied up to activate. Against Ben Henderson, he won’t be able to afford taking a big shot again. That upkick that did him in at UFC 144 was the turning point, and it was telling. He wasn’t able to come back against the bigger, never-tiring Henderson like he was the bigger, adrenaline-dumped Maynard. Make a mistake with Bendo, and it’s curtains. Unfortunately, Edgar is too prone to getting beat up early, and is doomed to repeat himself. He’ll hang around to the final bell and have some splashy moments, but the prediction is Henderson wins via unanimous decision.
Media picking Benson Henderson: 10
Media picking Frankie Edgar: 2
Media picking a draw: 1