There are plenty of things to do on a Saturday night. However, most don’t involve watching two men locked inside of a cage attempting to punch, kick, knee, and choke their way to victory. In reality, though, few things match the excitement.
For the first time in less than 12-months, the Octagon will head to “The Mile-High” city of Denver for a UFC event. The card headlined by a lightweight championship rematch between current champion Benson “Smooth” Henderson and former title-holder Frankie “The Answer” Edgar.
If you weren’t planning on tuning in already, here are five reasons why you should invite some friends over, order a few pizzas, grab a couple beers, and tune into UFC 150: Henderson vs. Edgar II this Saturday night at 10:00 p.m. ET/7:00 p.m. PT, only on pay-per-view.
5. “Thunder” Looks To Rebound
In his last fight, former UFC middleweight title challenger Yushin Okami was on the wrong end of one of the greatest come-from-behind victories in recent memory when Tim Boetsch knocked him out in the third round at UFC 144. After failing to take the belt from middleweight champion Anderson Silva, Okami looked sharp in the first two rounds of his follow-up performance, but then the stunning finish from Boetsch derailed the Japanese fighter’s career even further. Okami will be hungry for victory after embarrassing back-to-back defeats when he takes on the unheralded Buddy Roberts at UFC 150.
It will be interesting to see how, if it all, cautious Okami is when he meets Roberts after two-straight losses. A third consecutive defeat would be detrimental to the career of the Japanese fighter, but an impressive showing puts him right back on track in the division.
4. A Clash Of Strikers
Don’t get your hopes up for any grappling when Justin Lawrence and Max Holloway meet inside the octagon in the opening fight of the UFC 150 PPV card. Both fighters aren’t very experienced when it comes to MMA, but in their short UFC careers have made names for themselves by possessing strong technical striking abilities. Don’t expect anything to change when the cage door closes on Aug. 11.
The odds makers favor Lawrence, but Holloway should not and cannot be overlooked due to his kickboxing background. Lawrence and Holloway have never been knocked out in their careers, so we know they have solid chins to rely on while exchanging bombs.
Expect a highlight reel finish, or, at the very least, a 15-minute display of diverse striking techniques. If you are a fan of stand-up in MMA, this fight is for you.
3. Jake Shields Returns To Middleweight
For the first time in over two years, Jake Shields will return to the middleweight division. After a 2-2 run in the UFC at 170-pounds, the former Strikeforce middleweight champion will head back to the weight class he went 3-0 in from 2009 to mid-2010.
Shields’ entire run under the Strikeforce banner took place at 185-pounds and he picked up some of the most notable victories of his career against Robbie Lawler, Jason Miller and most impressive of all, current light heavyweight number one contender Dan Henderson. Cutting to welterweight was extremely difficult for the Cesar Gracie trained fighter and at this point in his career he feels as if moving back up to middleweight is his best option.
In the current landscape of MMA, fighters usually drop down a weight class but Shields is doing the best thing for his body by moving up. The question is, will his undersized frame allow him to compete against the behemoths that compete at 185-pounds? The answer to that question will come on the main card at UFC 150 when Shields meets “The Ultimate Fighter” season 3 runner-up Ed Herman. Herman is on a tear as of late and will provide a stern test for Shields in his first fight in the UFC at middleweight. It is always interesting to see how any fighter performs at a new weight class and the case is no different here. While no one is ordering UFC 150 just to see Shields fight, the move adds intrige in to his fight and it is worth checking out.
2. Donald Cerrone vs. Melvin Guillard
A critical lightweight bout between former teammates serves at the co-main event at UFC 150 as lightweight sluggers Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone and Melvin “The Young Assassin” Guillard will collide in a fight that has all the ingredients for serious fireworks.
Cerrone has been campaigning for a fight in his home state of Colorado since his dominant unanimous decision victory over Jeremy Stephens at UFC on FUEL TV 3. Cerrone is primarily a striker, but 13 of his 18 professional wins are by submission. “Cowboy” was on a charge towards a lightweight title shot in 2011 but those hopes were brought to a screeching halt at the end of the year when he dropped a decision to Nate Diaz. He will have the chance to inch a little bit closer towards his previous contender status at UFC 150.
Guillard makes a quick turnaround on the heels of his fight against Fabricio Camoes at UFC 148, a bout that he won by unanimous decision. It will be the second fight in 35-days for the 29-year-old but will also serve as a huge opportunity for him. Guillard’s victory at UFC 148 was critical, as he had lost back-to-back fights heading into the event.
As previous stated, it is worth noting that up until just a few months ago Cerrone and Guillard were longtime teammate under Greg Jackson in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The two fighters have experience training together and it should be interesting to see if that knowledge carries over to an advantage for either come fight time.
1. The Lightweight Championship Rematch
Benson Henderson and Frankie Edgar will run it back and face off the second time in the main event of UFC 150 when they meet for the lightweight strap once again. Henderson and Edgar first fought at UFC 144 last February in Japan and Henderson came out on top that night with a very close unanimous decision victory
Henderson has been dominant since joining the UFC roster in April 2011. “Smooth” is 4-0 inside the octagon and already holds the most prestigious prize in the sport around his waist. The newly crowned champion has been able to dial in his skills in every area over the last year in and a half and has looked better than ever. He will attempt to defend his belt for the first time in Denver and start a long and prestigious title reign.
Edgar had his seven-fight unbeaten streak snapped when he surrendered the belt to Henderson at UFC 144 in a close decision. The former champion was contemplating a move to 145-pounds to challenge featherweight champion Jose Aldo, but after granting two rematches as champion, UFC president Dana White felt Edgar deserved his chance to reclaim the gold.
Obviously every title fight is very significant to the division, but this one is especially meaningful because there has been a logjam at the top of the division with the amount of rematches for the title in recent years. An Edgar win could easily result in a trilogy fight between the two while Henderson coming out victorious would mean a fresh contender, likely Nate Diaz, could challenge for the strap. After a tight first bout, you can be sure Henderson and Edgar will be planning to finish each other and not let the rematch go the distance.