John Heinis: Frankie Edgar is one of the best fighters in the world, but many are still doubting him against a very dangerous Benson "Smooth" Henderson.
Bendo is a former WEC lightweight champion who has other-worldly submission defense (with plenty of submissions of his own), crisp striking, great takedowns and ground and pound that is second to none in the lightweight division.
However, let's not write off "The Answer" just yet. After all, he has won seven in a row, avenging his only loss to Gray Maynard in impressive knockout fashion in his last outing at UFC 136.
Some doubt Edgar since his past four opponents have been Maynard and BJ Penn (both opponents warranted an immediate rematch), but I really can't understand why.
The Toms River, New Jersey, native consistently shows excellent boxing, great takedowns and a chin that just isn't fair for such a diminutive lightweight.
If the situation calls for it, his submissions aren't too shabby either (although there's not chance he's tapping out Henderson).
Henderson, who has gone 3-0 in the UFC defeating Mark Bocek, Jim Miller and Clay Guida, to earn his title shot, will give Frankie the fight of his life...but the champion will walk in and walk out of Saitama Super Arena wearing 12 pounds of gold.
Frankie Edgar via unanimous decision (48-47 x 2, 49-46)
Dwight Wakabayashi: The Lightweight Championship of the world is on the line when these two amazing athletes hit the cage and this one is a battle that may be too tight to call.
Edgar is the proven champion and his elusive boxing, relentless movement and quick switch takedowns will end up being too much for Henderson.
Benson is on an incredible roll right now and he has earned his shot with his skill, will and durability.
Henderson will find himself a step behind in the striking battle and will look to get a hold of the champion to throw him down to the mat. I believe this is where Henderson feels he has the advantage, but if Gray Maynard had a tough time keeping Edgar down and in control, then so will Henderson.
This one is going to be an entertaining war to the delight of the Japanese fans and will last at least until the championship rounds. It will go all over the cage and showcase many aspects of the MMA game.
In the end, Frankie Edgar's in-and-out boxing game will be the deciding factor and he will remain the champion.
Frankie Edgar via unanimous decision
Dale De Souza: How's this headliner for the Fight of the Year?
I know we've been saying that a lot lately, but it's not difficult to understand why we'd be saying that sort of thing for this bout between the former WEC Lightweight Champion, Benson Henderson, and current UFC Lightweight Champion Frankie Edgar.
Especially if one considers the styles that both men bring.
Both are good on the feet, though most would say Edgar's Boxing is better, and Edgar also rolls with Ricardo Almeida as well as Renzo Gracie, so some might argue that against Henderson, but just the same, Henderson is fighter with his own submission savvy.
If there's one aspect of this fight that'll be the difference, however, it's going to be the classic case of Edgar's iron chin vs. Henderson's iron neck.
Edgar got dropped in both of his now-classic bouts with Gray Maynard, and he went on to not only win the second round, but he definitively finished Maynard in the fourth round of the UFC 136 bout with "The Bully."
Meanwhile, Henderson has been locked in submission holds that would have won fights for Donald Cerrone, Jim Miller, or Clay Guida, but he survived both Miller and Guida en route to winning his fights with both of them.
He also survived the same submission attempts that had many thinking Cerrone won their WEC 43 classic.
Expect this one to be close, but don't be surprised if the champ gets his patented guillotine off and cannot force the tap.
And if Henderson does not tap, don't be surprised if "The Smooth One" is the guy packing 12 pounds of gold into his luggage on the return trip back to the states.
Benson Henderson by unanimous decision (48-47 x2, 49-46)
Jeffrey McKinney: What a main event this will be in Japan.
Lightweight champ Frankie Edgar will finally defend his title against somebody whose last name is not Penn or Maynard.
Once again Edgar will face a bigger, stronger, and will be looking to play the aggressor.
Ever since Henderson lost the WEC title to Anthony Pettis, he has been working his way back to a title.
With dominating wins over Jim Miller and Clay Guida, Henderson looks like he could be Edgar’s biggest test.
But Edgar has proved time and time again over the past two years that he has the heart to overcome anything.
We know Henderson is going to try to use his size and be aggressive.
But Edgar has great wrestling of his own and has crazy energy.
Even after taking the beating he took in the early rounds of the Maynard fights, Edgar picked up the pace.
Originally I was going to go for Henderson.
But Edgar is one of those fighters that no matter how bad they’re getting beaten, they find a way to come back.
I believe Edgar will prove to the world once again that he’s here to stay as champ.
Henderson will cause Edgar some problems, but I believe Edgar will do enough to win a decision.
Frankie Edgar by decision