first encounter at UFC 144 in February, it was no surprise that the margin of victory would likewise be as slim.
Six months ago, Henderson defeated Frankie Edgar in a controversially close (albeit unanimous) decision that left many clamoring for an immediate rematch. Despite the logjam that existed near the top of the Lightweight division, Frankie Edgar was granted a rematch and the two faced off once more in the octagon inside the Pepsi Center in Denver Saturday night.
If the judges at UFC 144 thought they had to make a tough decision, they had no clue that the rematch would be even more difficult.
Throughout the bout, Henderson made effective use of his leg kicks to slow down Edgar’s notorious footwork. The champ started strong as he looked to batter the challenger’s legs and even scored a number of knockdowns by kicking Edgar’s base out from under him.
Despite the attacks to his legs, Edgar pushed forward dancing in and out while peppering the champion with combinations. In the second, the former champion landed a heavy punch that dropped Henderson near the cage and he moved in for the kill. Henderson regained his bearings and was able to defend against the choke Edgar was working toward. In the fourth and fifth as well, Edgar secured takedowns only to find himself fighting out of a guillotine choke.
After 25 minutes, the fight stats would provide no help. Henderson had landed more significant strikes and had more submission attempts. Edgar held the takedown edge and controlled a dominant position longer. In other words, there was no definitive winner and three judges would have to do their best to make sense of it all. Even after the final bell, the expressions on the faces of both of the fighters were those of uncertainty.
The first judge had Frankie Edgar taking the victory in a runaway four rounds to one. The other two gave the edge to Henderson three rounds to two which sealed the Split Decision victory for the champion.
So what we know after 50 minutes of fighting is that Ben Henderson is the UFC Lightweight champion of the world. We also know that Frankie Edgar wears that title equally well. We know that Nate Diaz will face Benson Henderson next and will present a new set of challenges. There are also numerous others not far behind waiting to step into the role of number one contender. So after Saturday night, we know who the champion is. We know who the number one challenger is. But who is the best Lightweight in the world? It remains a narrow judgment call.