On the heels of an amazing UFC on Fox card, the Zuffa boys look as if they will deliver their second night of incredible action over the course of only eight days on Saturday night when they present UFC 150: Henderson vs Edgar II.
The main event features a battle of highly-motivated and highly-skilled lightweights who are looking to leave with a big gold belt wrapped around their waist. When the cage locks behind Frankie Edgar and Benson Henderson, make sure that you don't miss a second of the breathtaking action.
The lightweight action continues, as Donald Cerrone will battle Ultimate Fighter star Melvin Guillard in the evening's co-main event. Both men were in the hunt for the belt in 2011 and are looking for their second win in 2012.
The middleweights are also well represented on PPV, as Jake Shields meets Ed Herman and former title contender Yushin Okami returns in a replacement bout against Buddy Roberts.
Kicking off the show is a striker vs. striker battle between featherweight yutes when 22-year-old Justin Lawrence meets a 20-year-old in a fight that should be electric.
Here are the B/R MMA odds and predictions for UFC 150.
A battle of youth will kick off the main card, as 22-year-old Justin Lawrence meets 20-year-old Max Holloway in a featherweight contest.
Lawrence made his UFC debut after making it to the semifinals of The Ultimate Fighter: Live earlier this year. Making an enormous splash, Lawrence earned both Fight of the Night and Knockout of the Night honors for his head kick KO over John Cofer.
This will be Holloway's third appearance inside the Octagon. Losing his debut to Dustin Poirier, the man known as "Blessed" won a dominant decision against Pat Schilling.
Betting Odds: Holloway and Lawrence even at -115 each
Prediction: Neither fighter has a lot of professional experience, as they have a total of ten fights between them. Lawrence was the top pick of Dominick Cruz on TUF due to his excellent showing in the preliminary round to enter the house. With a superior striking game, he should be able to win the standup portion of this fight.
Holloway is another striker in the division, but doesn't seem to have the power to finish fights. If he can use evasive footwork to avoid Lawrence's power attacks, this fight could be his in the eyes of the judges.
Justin Lawrence wins via TKO in the third round
Remember when Yushin Okami was a Top Five middleweight who was constantly popping his head into the title picture? Heading into his title bout with Anderson Silva, “Thunder” had won six of his past seven fights, but after dropping bouts to Silva and Tim Boetsch, he has emerged victorious in only three of his past six.
On Saturday, the Japanese contender will look to pick up his first win since November of 2010 when he locks horns with Buddy Roberts after both Luiz Cane and Rousimar Palhares were forced out due to injury.
We have only seen Roberts once in the Octagon, as he outstruck Caio Maghales en route to a unanimous decision victory.
Betting Odds: Okami (-600) over Roberts (+400)
Prediction: Anything can happen in mixed martial arts, but this is essentially a striker vs wrestler matchup, which rarely favors the standup artist. Not only that, but Okami is a 14-fight vet with the UFC, while Roberts is making his second appearance.
What kind of gameplan has Roberts’ coach Greg Jackson come up with to defend the stifling takedowns of Okami? In any event, this is certainly not a bout that Okami will risk standing and exchanging. His fight against Tim Boetsch will likely cause him to work this fight to the ground as often as possible.
Okami defeats Buddy Roberts via unanimous decision (30-27)
This fight card almost sounds like a nostalgic affair in which we look at a collection of former stars who have lost their shine in recent affairs. That being said, the next fight on the card features former Strikeforce champion Jake Shields in his middleweight return against Ultimate Fighter finalist Ed Herman.
Herman has been surging since his return from an unfortunate injury that kept him out of action for nearly two years. “Short Fuse” has been nothing short of excellent, as he picked up a trio of stoppage wins against Tim Credeur, Kyle Noke and Clifford Starkes to announce himself as a legitimate threat in the division.
Shields was the Strikeforce middleweight champion, but entered the Octagon as a welterweight challenger. Losing two of his first three bouts in the division, many considered the Cesar Gracie fighter to be a disappointment. His return to middleweight comes after picking up a UFC 144 victory over Yoshihiro Akiyama.
Betting Odds: Shields (-200) over Herman (+160)
Prediction: Herman played into the strengths of submission specialist Kyle Noke, and he surprised many by finishing his opponent with a nasty heel hook. While Herman’s jiu-jitsu is impressive, the grappling of Shields has been described as other-worldly.
While I don’t think Shields will submit Herman, if this bout is mostly comprised on grappling exchanges, it’s unlikely that Herman will control much of the action. That being said, Herman has good power, and his striking is crisp enough to out-box Shields in the event that it stays standing.
Shields is at his full strength when fighting at middleweight, so expect to see him in better form than his previous UFC appearances.
Jake Shields defeats Ed Herman via unanimous decision (29-28)
Although both men were nearly title contention in late 2011, both Melvin Guillard and Donald Cerrone suffered major setbacks in their quest to challenge for UFC gold. Now that each fighter has earned a victory to get on track once again, they will meet on Saturday night in an intriguing lightweight contest.
Melvin Guillard has a tendency to look past his opponents and focus on the opportunity that lays ahead. That was never more clear than in his contest with Joe Lauzon, where “The Young Assassin” disregarded the striking of J-Lau, and found himself defeated in the very first minute of the fight.
However, it appears that “Cowboy” Cerrone is the one whose attention is misdirected at this point. Instead of worrying about the dangerous attacks of Guillard, the former WEC star seems to have his sights set on a future fight against Anthony Pettis.
Betting Odds: Cerrone (-325) over Guillard (+250) at bovada.lv
(It pays to bet early, as this line has changed from (-300)/(+240) in the last 12 hours.
Prediction: Each time that Melvin Guillard has lost inside the Octagon (six times, for those of you playing along at home), it has come by way of submission. It’s no coincidence that the sharpest knife in Cerrone’s drawer is his submission skills.
In his last fight, Cerrone thoroughly dominated power striker Jeremy Stephens, who possesses a very similar style to Guillard. That speaks volumes about how this bout will likely play out. While Melvin doesn’t swing as wildly as Stephens, it’s close enough to draw a direct comparison.
Donald Cerrone defeats Melvin Guillard via submission in Round 2
Very little introduction is needed for the title fight that the lightweight division has been waiting on since February.
Frankie Edgar wants this fight badly. In fact, “The Answer” turned down an immediate title shot at featherweight just so he could continue to demand this rematch.
And who could blame him? Edgar granted immediate title shots to both BJ Penn and Gray Maynard.
Benson Henderson is an amazing athlete who is committed to fighting for both his mother and Christ. One of the true “good guys” in MMA, it’s a good thing that he is so incredibly talented, because saying something negative about “Smooth” would not be an easy task.
Betting Odds: Henderson (-200) over Edgar (+160)
Prediction: The only person to defeat Benson Henderson in a fight that has title implications is Anthony Pettis, and that came with the help of one of the most electric kicks that MMA has ever seen.
You may have noticed that there aren’t many pundits who are expecting Frankie Edgar to pull this one off. I think it’s peculiar that folks overlook that Frankie was winning the UFC 144 encounter up until the second-round upkick that completely changed the course of the bout.
I don’t want to take anything away from the champion, but can Henderson count on landing another magnificent shot like that in the event that Frankie outworks him for the first few rounds?
This fight is going to be a war, in which two highly-motivated and highly-skilled athletes give it their all without any signs of slowing down. It could go either way, so take this prediction for what it’s worth.
Frankie Edgar defeats Benson Henderson via unanimous decision (48-47) to regain the UFC lightweight championship.