UFC 150 Fight Card: Info and Predictions for Benson Henderson vs. Frankie Edgar
After a thrilling UFC on Fox 4 card last weekend, Dana White and Co. are wasting no time in bringing another slate of exciting fights to the Octagon.
UFC 150 is set to take place in Denver, Colorado, on Saturday night, and it’s headlined by one of the most anticipated rematches of the year in Benson Henderson’s first lightweight title defense against former champion Frankie Edgar.
“Smooth” won the belt off of Edgar with a close decision win over “The Answer” in Japan during February’s UFC 144 main event.
Now looking to earn his belt back, Edgar will face just his third opponent in his last six fights and look to extend his winning streak in immediate rematches to three.
In the co-main event, former teammates Donald Cerrone and Melvin Guillard will look to claw their way back into the lightweight title picture after recent setbacks.
Cerrone was riding a six-fight winning streak over a high quality group of opponents heading into his UFC 141 fight against Nate Diaz, but unfortunately for “Cowboy”, he had no answer for Diaz’s potent boxing. He’s since gotten back on track with a win in May, but he’s still a big name away from entering the title picture again.
That big name that Cerrone is looking for could very well be Melvin Guillard.
Guillard was also on a long winning streak heading into the second half of 2011, but consecutive submission losses to Joe Lauzon and Jim Miller sent “The Young Assassin” out of the title scene as well.
With two bouts that are pivotal to the UFC’s near future and a card full of tough matchups, UFC 150 has the potential to deliver some of the most entertaining action of the year so far.
Nik Lentz vs. Eiji Mitsuoka
Photo Credit: Esther Lin/MMA Fighting
Where to Watch: Facebook
After starting his UFC career with a 5-0-1 record, Nik Lentz has had a rough 18 months.
Back-to-back losses to Mark Bocek and Evan Dunham have sent the once-promising lightweight flying down the lightweight ladder, and a loss on the Facebook portion of the preliminary card could mean the end of Lentz’s UFC career.
Fortunately for Lentz, he should be able to get the job done on Saturday.
Eiji Mitsuoka isn’t a bad fighter by any means, but he’s drawn some tough competition inside the Octagon.
Despite being labeled a heavy underdog in his Octagon debut against Takanori Gomi, Mitsuoka was able to make things interesting against Gomi for a while, but eventually he ended up on the wrong end of a Gomi punch and was finished in the second round.
This fight should be all Nik Lentz. Mitsuoka has some submission skills, but as long as Lentz is able to stay out of trouble and control his opponent, he should walk away with a decision win.
Nik Lentz by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Dustin Pague vs. Chico Camus
Photo Credit: US Combat Sports
Where to Watch: FX
Even though he just fought twice in June, Dustin Pague is looking to earn another UFC victory before the summer closes.
Pague made short work of Jared Papazian at UFC on FX 3, and when the opportunity arose to fight just two weeks later on the UFC on FX 4 card, “The Disciple” couldn’t pass it up.
While things didn’t go quite as well for Pague against Ken Stone that night, he still fought very well for coming in on such short notice, and he has a lot of potential going forward.
Pague’s opponent is UFC newcomer Chico Camus, a rising prospect in the bantamweight division training out of the Roufusport camp that features exciting fighters like Anthony Pettis, Erik Koch and Alan Belcher.
Camus hasn’t defeated anyone of note yet, but training with a team full of killers is going to make him a fighter to watch in the 135-lb division, and he has a chance to pull off an upset here.
This will be Pague’s third fight in just over three months, and I think that his activity is actually going to come back and bite him here.
Camus might start out a little slow, but as the fight goes on, he’ll start to get the better of “The Disciple” and steal the win.
Chico Camus by Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Ken Stone vs. Erik Perez
Photo Credit: MMA Junkie
Where to Watch: FX
Following a controversial win over John Albert in his UFC debut, Erik Perez will likely be looking to make a more definitive statement in his second UFC bout.
Perez and Albert got into a submission battle on the ground early into their bout at the Ultimate Fighter 15 Finale, and when Perez locked in an armbar referee, Kim Winslow stopped the bout.
The problem was that Albert didn’t tap and never verbally submitted in any way.
The blunder by Winslow ended up tarnishing what should have been a great win for Perez, but he’ll have a chance to redeem himself against Ken Stone.
Stone has gone 2-2 since joining ZUFFA last year, but he has lost against two of the top ten competitors he’s fought and needs a signature win to get into title contention.
A win over Perez wouldn’t exactly vault Stone up the bantamweight ladder, and ultimately I don’t see Stone winning this fight anyway.
Perez showed he has some serious finishing ability in his last fight, and I have a feeling his offense is going to be a bit too much for Stone to handle.
Erik Perez by Second-Round Submission (Rear Naked Choke)
Jared Hamman vs. Michael Kuiper
Tom Szczerbowski-US PRESSWIRE
Where to Watch: FX
Jared Hamman has quite literally had an up-and-down UFC career, alternating wins and losses in his five UFC appearances.
While Hamman has shown flashes of brilliance in his wins over CB Dollaway and Rodney Wallace, he has proven just as prone to disappointing performances, especially in his losses to Alexander Gustafsson and Costa Philippou.
Even though Hamman has fallen flat more often than not inside the Octagon, I still see him coming out on top against Michael Kuiper.
Kuiper had an undefeated record and a lot of momentum going into his UFC 143 fight against Rafael Natal, having finished all but one of his opponents, but when he actually stepped inside the Octagon, he looked like he was in a bit over his head.
While Natal didn’t blow him out, neither man looked very good in the fight, and he’ll need a big performance on Saturday if he wants to keep his job.
Jared Hamman by Third-Round TKO (Punches)
Dennis Bermudez vs. Tommy Hayden
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Where to Watch: FX
Hearing a fighter is the runner-up on a season of The Ultimate Fighter really doesn’t have the same ring to it anymore, does it?
Long gone are the days when top fighters like Kenny Florian and Stephan Bonnar fell short in the finals of the UFC’s reality show, but with Dennis Bermudez. we could see one of the first true contenders to come out of TUF in a long time.
Bermudez brings a strong wrestling game to the table, and his ability to completely shut down Pablo Garza in his last bout showed that he can handle UFC-level competition.
He should have no problem taking out Tommy Hayden this weekend.
Hayden racked up an impressive 8-0 record on the regional scene prior to entering the Octagon at UFC on FX 1 early this year.
Against an admittedly tough first opponent in Fabricio Camoes, Hayden ran into trouble when the fight hit the mat and was submitted late in the first round.
Hayden has some talent, but Bermudez has the ground game to shut down his opponent, and he will likely walk away with the win here.
Dennis Bermudez by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Justin Lawrence vs. Max Holloway
Kelvin Kuo-US PRESSWIRE
Where to Watch: Pay-per-view
The PPV main card kicks off with an incredibly exciting fight in the featherweight division.
Both Justin Lawrence and Max Holloway looked awesome in their Ultimate Fighter 15 Finale opponents in John Cofer and Pat Schilling, but now they must prove that they are ready for a step up in the 145-lb division.
Lawrence was an early favorite to win the TUF 15 lightweight crown, but a loss to eventual winner Michael Cheisa put that dream on hold, and now Lawrence is going to have to work his way towards title contention without the prestigious title on his resume.
Losing on the show won’t be too much of an issue if Lawrence can get past Holloway though.
The featherweight prospect looked like he was going to give Dustin Poirier some serious problems on the feet before he was taken down and tapped out by a triangle armbar just minutes into their UFC 143 bout. Lucky for him, Lawrence isn’t going to have any interest in taking things to the mat.
A battle between two young strikers is always a lot of fun, and this one could very well be the dark-horse contender for Fight of the Night honors by the end of the night.
Max Holloway by Split Decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29)
Yushin Okami vs. Buddy Roberts
Koki Nagahama/Getty Images
Where to Watch: PPV
Buddy Roberts is the third opponent that Yushin Okami has been scheduled to fight on this card, and to be perfectly honest; he’s by far the least intriguing of the three.
Both Luis Cane and especially Rousimar Palhares would have been able to give Okami a solid run for his money and, more importantly, would have earned him a solid name to add to his resume.
Now it seems that “Thunder” is in a lose-lose situation, fighting an opponent that he is heavily favored against.
But despite his underdog status, Roberts has a chance to make things interesting against Okami.
The Greg Jackson-based fighter has earned himself a respectable 12-2 record so far in his MMA career, and his three-round domination of Caio Magalhaes showed a lot of people that he is more than ready to fight UFC level competition.
While Roberts has an outside chance at pulling off an upset, Okami is the smart pick here.
“Thunder” should be able to dominate wherever the fight goes and will eventually find a way to finish a tough and scrappy Roberts.
Yushin Okami by 3rd Round TKO (Punches)
Jake Shields vs. Ed Herman
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Where to Watch: PPV
After a mediocre 2-2 run in the UFC’s welterweight division, Jake Shields is moving back to the division that made him a star when he fought under the Strikeforce banner.
Shields not only was considered one of the best fighters in the world when he last fought at 185 lbs., but he also earned a decision victory over current light heavyweight No. 1 contender Dan Henderson in his final fight at that weight.
That’s what we call a resume builder.
While Shields is obviously the favorite heading into this bout, resurrecting his career won’t be easy, as Ed Herman has found himself in the middle of his own career resurgence over the last year.
Back-to-back quick stoppage wins over Tim Creduer and Kyle Noke put “Short Fuse” back on the map, and a second-round submission victory over Clifford Starks pushed Herman into a high-profile bout for the first time in years.
I have a feeling Herman is going to be a very game opponent for Shields in this fight, and although I see the former Strikeforce champ eventually earning the win, it’s not going to come easy.
Jake Shields by Second-Round Submission (Arm Triangle)
Donald Cerrone vs. Melvin Guillard
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Where to Watch: PPV
If Melvin Guillard can somehow harness his skills and reach his full potential as a fighter, there’s no telling how far he could go in the lightweight division.
Sadly, I don’t think that’s ever going to happen.
Guillard has more natural ability than almost anyone in the division, but his tendency to make mental mistakes has cost him time and time again when he finds himself across the cage from a high-level opponent.
And Donald Cerrone is one of the best fighters that Guillard has ever fought.
Whether it’s on the feet or the mat, Cerrone has the ability to finish the fight in all areas, and this will be his key to defeating Guillard.
After watching Cerrone completely destroy Jeremy Stephens on the feet in their fight at UFC on Fuel 3, I have little doubt that he could do the same to Guillard in the stand-up game, and that’s where “The Young Assassin” is strongest.
Both fighters usually look to come out aggressive, but this time I suspect Cerrone will just look to weather the early storm and wait for Guillard to make a mistake.
When that happens (and it will), look for “Cowboy” to pounce on the neck of “The Young Assassin,” sending Guillard home with his seventh UFC loss by tapout.
Donald Cerrone by First-Round Submission (Guillotine)
Benson Henderson vs. Frankie Edgar: UFC Lightweight Title Fight
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Where to Watch: PPV
Oh, how long I’ve waited for this rematch.
Personally, I consider the first fight between Benson Henderson and Frankie Edgar the fight of the year at this point, and this bout has all the potential to surpass the first.
Henderson and Edgar were engaged in an extremely close back-and-forth battle for the majority of the first two rounds of their UFC 144 main event, and if you’ve seen the commercial highlighting the rematch you know exactly what came next.
With roughly ten seconds left in the second round, Henderson threw a brutal upkick that landed flush with “The Answer’s” face.
The blow ended up breaking the then champion’s nose, but even worse, it made him look like he was being dominated in a fight that was razor thin at that point.
After the upkick, both fighters had their moments, but after seeing a fired-up Henderson pumping up the crowd across the cage from an Edgar that looked beaten and battered heading into the final round, you knew whom the judges were going to side with “Smooth.”
Now with the rematch set for this weekend, all that remains to be seen is if Henderson can find a way to shut down Frankie for a second time.
Personally, I’ve seen Edgar improve too much in rematches over the last couple of years to pick against him here.
He took a close decision win over BJ Penn at UFC 112 and turned it into a five-round clinic when he fought “The Prodigy” the second time, and the result was even better for Edgar at UFC 136 when he finished Gray Maynard in their trilogy fight after being down 0-1-1 in the series.
Simply put, Frankie Edgar has proved me wrong too many times to bet against him, and I won’t do it here.
Frankie Edgar by Unanimous Decision (49-46, 49-46, 48-47)