Another day, another month and another UFC pay-per-view event.
Luckily for us in the media—and perhaps your own wallet—there's only one major UFC offering this month. After this one, we're not due for another pay-per-view until the first weekend in September when Jon Jones and Dan Henderson lock horns in Las Vegas.
There's still plenty of mixed martial arts to be found in August, such as next weekend when Ronda Rousey returns to the Strikeforce cage. But in terms of the kinds of events you need to drop some cash for, August only has UFC 150 on the docket.
Another stroke of luck for us? This should turn out to be a pretty good card. Two of the fights—the main and co-main events—are almost guaranteed to deliver excitement. Of course, there have been plenty of times that I've typed those exact words, only to see a promising card under-deliver in fight action. But, I have a feeling this one's going to be worth a watch.
Let's take a look at five things to keep an eye on for UFC 150: Henderson vs. Edgar 2:
Is Frankie Edgar truly the king of rematches?
You know the statistics, and you know that the lightweight division has been in a near-constant standstill ever since Edgar captured the title from B.J. Penn back at UFC 112. Edgar defended the belt against Penn in a rematch, then went on to a draw with Gray Maynard that forced yet another rematch. And now, he's going into yet another rematch, this time as the challenger against Benson Henderson.
There's something to be said for the improvements Edgar made in his previous rematches with Penn and Maynard. The first fight against Penn was fairly close, but Edgar adjusted his game the second time around and cruised to an easy win. The first Maynard fight was obviously as close as it gets when it comes to MMA decisions, but Edgar adjusted his game yet again and finished Maynard in the rematch.
Is Edgar truly that great at applying in the rematch what he learned during the first tilt with his opponents? I'm not sure that's the case. I think Edgar was simply a better fighter than Penn and Maynard, and that was borne out when he was given the extra rounds in the rematches. The more times we see opponents face each other, the more disparity we're going to see between them.
And unfortunately for Edgar, I believe Henderson is the better fighter, and I think you're going to see that play out on Saturday night.
Can Benson Henderson score a signature finishing win?
During his run in the WEC, Henderson finished four of his six fights. He's gone to a decision in four fights since making the leap over to the UFC.
I'd say that was due to a different level in competition, but we all know that's not the case. A few of those WEC guys are doing quite well in the UFC, thank you very much. Granted, there's a difference between Frankie Edgar or Clay Guida and someone like Shane Roller. But, as the UFC lightweight champ, Henderson should be expected to finish opponents on a regular basis. He just hasn't done it yet.
Edgar is notoriously hard to finish, of course—witness both Maynard bouts for a perfect example of the Jersey native's toughness—which means that scoring that big TKO or submission win on Saturday night is going to be a difficult task.
I'm not saying that Henderson can't do it, because I wouldn't be all that surprised if he did. But, I suspect Henderson will be focused on simply retaining his belt by any means necessary, and that's fine.
Can Cerrone vs. Guillard possibly live up to expectations?
Two former training partners. Two dudes with a proclivity for standing and trading strikes. Cerrone vs. Guillard has all the makings of a classic.
The fight has plenty of hype, but don't be surprised if it's not quite what you expect. Cerrone will want to avoid Guillard's ridiculous hand speed and powerful punches, and if he's smart, he'll look to take advantage of Guillard's weak submission defense. Cerrone enjoys putting on exciting fights and making that paper, but I think he also enjoys winning fights.
Don't get me wrong; I still believe this will be an exciting fight. But, I'm not sure it's going to be the three-round punchfest everyone seems to be expecting.
Will Jake Shields finally earn his second consecutive UFC win?
Since entering the UFC as the Strikeforce middleweight champ, Shields has yet to score two consecutive wins. Granted, he's had some very tough fights during his run, against a murderer's row of welterweight contenders. Well, except for Yoshihiro Akiyama, that is. But, he still hasn't been able to pull off more than one win at a time.
He'll look to change that on Saturday night. He's moving back to middleweight, which means he'll get all of the strength back that he had during his unbeaten run in Strikeforce. The welterweight cut was never easy for Shields, and it often sapped him of his energy during the last month of his training camp. That's no longer the case.
Ed Herman isn't an easy out, not by any stretch of the imagination. But, I'm looking for Shields to finally secure a start to a winning streak on Saturday night.
Who is Buddy Roberts, and how badly is he overmatched against Okami?
I don't know much about Buddy Roberts. I doubt you do, either. And there's a good reason for that.
Roberts is 12-2 in his MMA career, but all of those wins have come against opponents you've also never heard of. He beat Caio Magalhaes in his UFC debut back in June, but now, he's taking a drastic step up in competition in facing Yushin Okami.
This may be the single biggest step in the level of competition a UFC fighter has ever faced. Roberts is going from facing lower-level preliminary middleweights to standing across the cage from one of the best —and most physically-imposing—middleweights in the world.
This feels like one of those old WWF matches you'd watch on Saturday morning on a local syndicated station, where Hulk Hogan or another big wrestling star would face off against a local jobber you've never heard of. I'd never call Roberts or any other professional fighter a jobber—well, except perhaps, Sean Salmon—but this one certainly doesn't bode well for Roberts.
It's a way for Okami to score a rebound win after his loss to Tim Boetsch. Nothing more, and nothing less.
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