UFC 144: Edgar vs Henderson pits Frankie “The Answer” Edgar’s lightweight title defense against Ben “Smooth” Henderson, who has won three straight in the UFC. This bout all but guarantees five rounds of high-energy action. UFC 144 takes place live from Japan tonight, Saturday Feb 25th@10 PM ET. UFC oddsmakers have Frankie Edgar listed as a -130 moneyline favorite to beat Ben Henderson (EVEN). Be sure to get your UFC 144: Edgar vs Henderson Predictions before the first punch is thrown.
Frankie Edgar (14-1-1, 9-1-1 UFC)
Edgar displayed tremendous resolve in his 2011 scraps with Gray Maynard, rallying back from dire situations on both occasions to finish strong. While eight of Edgar’s 11 UFC appearances have gone to the judges, the New Jersey native was especially impressive against Maynard at UFC 136, where he stopped him with strikes in the fourth frame.
Henderson will be hard-pressed to match Edgar’s pace on the feet. The Ricardo Almeida Jiu-Jitsu representative’s use of movement and angles makes it difficult for wrestlers to close the distance and find openings for takedowns. He is also an excellent sprawler and scrambler, which helps him avoid precarious positions against larger foes. If Henderson is content to stand with Edgar and counter with power punches, he will gradually be picked apart. While Edgar has proven susceptible to the well-placed uppercut or hook, he has also shown the ability to recover when hurt.
Edgar is primarily known for his boxing, but he will also mix in kicks to the legs and body to slow his opponent down. In rounds four and five, Edgar will be the fresher fighter and finish with a flourish to earn a unanimous decision.
Ben Henderson (15-2, 3-0 UFC)
Henderson has transitioned well to the UFC, taking out Mark Bocek, Jim Miller and Clay Guida since entering the UFC last year, but he has not faced a striker as talented as Edgar since he lost to Anthony Pettis in the WEC’s swan song in 2010. Miller was probably the most polished of the three opponents he has faced in the Octagon.
Henderson will need to apply his best assets against Edgar, whose boxing skills are backed by excellent timing and footwork. Henderson’s standup is improving, but where he really increases the tempo is in tie-ups and on the mat. There, “Smooth” applies pressure using his upper body strength as well as a flexibility that makes him nearly impossible to submit, and he is extremely dangerous in scrambles and transitions, too. As the level of competition has increased, Henderson has found himself going the distance more often, but his guillotine choke remains an ever-present weapon should Edgar make a mistake. Henderson is among the best in the sport at exploiting small openings to dictate the location of the fight, and his best chance lies in forcing clinches against the fence as Edgar darts in to land his quick right hand. If he can utilize dirty boxing and knees while muscling the champion against the cage, Edgar will slow down as the fight enters the championship rounds.
Henderson will look to press forward and narrow the gap as soon as possible.
UFC 144: Edgar vs Henderson
When: Saturday, Feb 25th@10:00 PM EST
Pick: Edgar -130
Point-Spreads recommends you make your UFC 144: Edgar vs Henderson Predictions before the first punch is thrown.
The Bottom Line: It’ll go to a decision with Edgar the victor. Want to dominate the books this season with some of the best UFC Odds & Picks from experts in the business? Then sign up right now and get UFC Picks Free!