Henderson retains UFC title with split decision
DENVER — The sequel certainly outpaced the original, but the ending was the same: Benson Henderson beat Frankie Edgar via a decision.
Henderson retained the lightweight belt he grasped in February’s bout with Edgar with a majority decision Saturday night (46-49, 48-47, 48-47) in the main event of UFC 150 at Pepsi Center.
Each of the three judges gave the first round to Henderson and the second and fifth rounds to Edgar. The discrepancy in the scoring came in rounds three and four.
“Frankie is tough,” said Henderson, who won the first fight with a unanimous decision. “Everybody knows he’s tough. My hat’s off to him, his team and his coaches.”
The judge’s decision was greeted with jeers inside the arena.
“I thought I had it,” Edgar said.
Edgar just escaped the first round after Henderson, who lives and trains in Arizona, applied the guillotine with 20 seconds left. Henderson also knocked Edgar to the mat with a sweeping kick earlier in the round.
Edgar rebounded in the second, stunning Henderson with a right hand midway through the round. Henderson fell to the mat as Edgar went in for the submission. It took more than a minute for Henderson to extricate himself.
Neither fighter, however, distinguished himself to a great degree over the final three rounds.
Henderson is next slated to fight Nate Diaz, who attended Saturday night’s events.
The co-main event lasted all of 1 minute, 16 seconds, but lightweights (and former training partners) Donald Cerrone and Melvin Guillard crammed few rounds of action into that space.
Guillard appeared to have the upper hand early as he floored Cerrone with a left. Cerrone, however, collected himself and eventually through a left kick that stunned Guillard. Cerrone followed it up with a right hand that knocked out Guillard.
“I came in a little aggressive,” Cerrone said.
It was a disappointing weekend all around for Guillard, who failed to make weight on Friday and lost 10-20 percent of his purse as a result.
Jake Shields exited the octagon through a smattering of boos after he outlasted Ed Herman in their middleweight bout that was long on grappling and short on action. Shields earned a unanimous decision in a fight UFC president Dana White called “TERRIBLE” on Twitter.
“To be honest, I was getting a little tired in there from the altitude so I had to slow my pace down and I couldn’t fight the way I had planned to,” Shields said. “In hindsight I needed to get here earlier to acclimate but that’s how you learn.”
The first two fights of the main card ended in second-round TKOs as featherweight Max Holloway defeated Justin Lawrence and middleweight Yushin Okami beat Buddy Roberts.
The prelims included the quickest bantamweight fight in UFC (or WEC) history. Erik Perez used a right hand to stun Ken Stone, who crumpled to the ground and was punished with a few more blows to the head before the ref stopped the fight 17 seconds into the contest.
“I think when I first hit him he was out,” said Perez, who improved to 12-4. “When he got up after he didn’t know what was going on. After getting a decisive win I think I will have a lot more opportunities here in the UFC, so I’m very excited.”
The bonus for knockout of the night went to Donald Cerrone. Cerrone & Melvin Guillard took the bonus for Fight of the Night and Dennis Bermudez won for the night’s best submission. All bonuses were worth $60,000.