In one of the closest title fights in UFC history this evening at UFC 150, Ben Henderson retained his title with a split decision win over Frankie Edgar.
Both men started fairly cautiously at range and that seemed to favor Henderson who was able to land a couple of hard leg kicks. Interestingly they were aimed low at the calf of his lead leg and took the limb right out from under him.
He tried the same move a third time and landed, but Edgar was waiting for it and grabbed a hold of the kick and looked for the takedown. He’s not able to quite secure it properly though and they get back upright.
The pace slows a little after that until the final minute when Edgar swooped down and secured a takedown. However, Henderson immediately latched onto a guillotine from hi sback and it looked tight, but Edgar stayed calm and rode it out until the bell.
Another of those low leg kicks lands for Henderson in the opening minute of the second round.
Edgar continues darting in and out in his usual fashion, but he’s not finding many opportunities to land anything of note so far in the fight.
That soon changes though as mid-way through the round the two men go toe-to-toe, swinging for the fences and it’s Edgar who makes it count, dropping Henderson with a hard right hand.
Edgar then goes for a guillotine choke and Henderson gets out of it. Edgar latches onto it again though, but though he spends some time working on it he can’t secure it and they get upright again.
Henderson doesn’t seem any worse for wear and surprisingly it’s Edgar who’s bleeding from his nose, though it’s not clear how that happened. Henderson goes for a takedown of his own, but doesn’t get it and he ends the round with a hard kick to the body.
In the third round the two men continued to stalk each other without landing a whole lot, though Edgar was perhaps slightly busier and was starting to work in some leg kicks of his own. A tough round to score though.
The fourth round looked to be going in similiar fashion for the first 90 seconds, but then Edgar slickly transitioned to a takedown.
Staying on his feet Edgar landed a couple of kicks to the legs of his grounded opponent, but Henderson showed his explosiveness by managing to land a head kick from the mat and then scrambling to his feet.
They continue to trade fairly evenly for the remainder of the round, with Henderson’s leg kicks still landing hard, while Edgar’s still a little busier.
Heading into the final round the fight is on a knife edge.
Edgar lands a nice right hand in the first exchange and sooner after has Henderson reeling back onto the mat for a brief moment, though it was more of a shove than a strike.
Henderson could do with upping his workrate, but he seems content to just load up on the occasional leg kick.
Into the final half of the round Henderson starts to throw his hands with a little more frequency, though Edgar is doing a nice job of countering him when he does.
Edgar lands a hard leg kick and Henderson stumbles slightly.
Henderson needs to do something and a strike lands that has Edgar reaching to his face to adjust his mouthpiece.
Edgar looks to respond with a head kick, but he slips and on his way back up one in return from Henderson glances his own head.
So it’s on to the judges scorecards in one of the closest fights in recent memory and after a long deliberation it’s Ben Henderson who gets the nod by split decision (48-47 x2, 46-49).
Edgar threw his hat down in frustration at the announcement, and certainly a case could be made for him having won the fight, but it was extremely close either way.
With this win Henderson will now go on to fight Nate Diaz, while it’s unclear whether Frankie Edgar will now make the decision to move down to featherweight or not.