Let me get this out of the way first. I thought Ben Henderson beat Frankie Edgar tonight. That said, it was a fairly close fight at points and some people did narrowly score it Edgar including Dana White.
It’s not the end all be all, but in close fights like this it’s always interesting to see what the stats say and according to FightMetric’s, the judges got it right. They scored it 49-46 for Henderson, giving him rounds 2-5.
On the feet, Henderson outstruck Edgar in significant strikes (87-68), total strikes (100-81), head strikes (59-40) and body strikes (28-23). The only place Edgar got the best of Bendo was in leg kicks (18-13) and takedowns (5-1).
Really though, the defining factor in this fight was the damage. Edgar hit Henderson plenty of times, but he hardly did any damage outside of the knockdown he scored in the fifth round. Bendo didn’t have a scratch on his face when the fight was over. Edgar, meanwhile, looked a lot like Rocky Balboa who had just been in a 15-round war except this wasn’t a movie and his opponent didn’t look worse than him. His left eye was swollen shut and his nose appeared to be broken. That upkick Bendo nailed him was pretty much the defining moment of the fight. Props to Edgar for fighting like a warrior after eating Henderson’s heel, but he never came close to hurting Henderson like Henderson hurt him at any point.
Moving forward, it’s looking like Anthony Pettis’ crushing head kick KO victory earlier in the night has earned him the right to be Ben Henderson’s first challenger, which is pretty fitting if you’ve followed the pair since their epic fight at the final WEC event over a year ago. Dana White wouldn’t outright confirm that Pettis is a lock, but said he “thinks” Showtime will get the nod.
Considering it was a close fight tonight though and one Edgar believes he won, many have suggested that Edgar should get an immediate rematch. After all, he did have to give BJ Penn and Gray Maynard immediate rematches. When asked if thought it was unfair that he probably wasn’t, Edgar said he didn’t want to take a shot away from anyone who deserves it, but yeah he did give those guys rematches. He’s too nice to make a big deal out of it, but it was pretty clear that it irritates him.
Which fight do you think should be next? Henderson vs. Edgar 2? Or Henderson vs. Pettis 2?