Saturday September 1, 2012
Mandalay Bay Events Center, Las Vegas, Nevada
JONES vs HENDERSON
Jones vs Henderson
Ellenberger vs Hieron
Siver vs Yagin
Hallman vs Tavares
Lineker vs Urushitani
Johnson vs Castillo
Mizugaki vs Hougland
Means vs Trujillo
Cruickshank vs Martinez
Roller vs Volkmann
Noke vs Brenneman
Tickets available through TicketMaster
by MMA Weekly
The Dec. 8 date for UFC on Fox 5, the promotion’s final event of the year on “Big Fox,” has been known for quite some time, but now the rumor mill has come together to form the top end of the fight card.
Leading the charge is the newly minted UFC lightweight championship with Benson Henderson putting his belt on the line for the second time, as he squares off with No. 1 contender Nate Diaz in the UFC on Fox 5 main event, according to MMAWeekly.com sources verifying the bout.
It marks the first time since the initial UFC on Fox offering that a title fight has graced a fight card on the network. Junior dos Santos captured the heavyweight title from Cain Velasquez on the first UFC on Fox fight card in November 2011.
The UFC isn’t stopping there, however, putting together its most stacked Fox fight card to date.
Mauricio “Shogun” Rua came within a whisper of a return shot at the UFC light heavyweight championship after defeating Brandon Vera at UFC on Fox 4. He will instead take on the top rising 205-pound star in Alexander Gustafsson at UFC on Fox 5.
Adding to an already top heavy card, the aborted UFC 152 bout between BJ Penn and Rory MacDonald also graces the UFC on Fox 5 fight card. Their bout was shelved for the Sept. 22 Toronto fight card when MacDonald had to drop out due to an injury.
Penn came out of retirement for the fight and has repeatedly said that he wouldn’t take just any old fight to step back in the Octagon. So the two have agreed to keep the fight together and help the UFC try to make a splash on its year-ending Fox card.
The star-powered UFC on Fox 5 fight card as first reported by USA Today Sports and MMAJunkie.com.
No location or venue has yet to be announced for UFC on Fox 5.
by Kevin Iole
DENVER – There were a lot of dour faces on the dais Saturday at the UFC 150 post-fight news conference in the bowels of the Pepsi Center, about an hour after Benson Henderson won a hotly disputed split decision over Frankie Edgar to retain his lightweight title in the show’s main event.
For the second week in a row, the UFC put on an outstanding show. If last week’s card in Los Angeles was an A-plus, Saturday’s card would probably grade out as an A-minus, highlighted by Donald Cerrone’s hellacious knockout of former teammate Melvin Guillard in the co-main event.
The somber moods were clearly the result of how the main event was judged. Though the Henderson-Edgar fight lived up to its billing as a quality match, few were happy with the split decision outcome.
Benson Henderson is thrown to the ground by Frankie Edgar during their rematch. (Getty)
UFC president Dana White refused to give his score, saying only that he had it 2-2 after four rounds. Most media scored the fight for Edgar. Fans on social media favored Edgar, though by a lesser margin than the media.
As Edgar dejectedly said when asked if he felt he won, “It doesn’t matter at this point.”
Judge Tony Weeks had it 49-46 for Edgar, giving the ex-champion the final four rounds. But Weeks’ partners, Dave Hagen and Mark Van Tine, each had it 3-2, giving Henderson Rounds 1, 3 and 4. Yahoo! Sports had it 49-46, scoring it the same as Weeks.
Even though it was an excellent fight and both men acquitted themselves well, there was a general sense of unhappiness about the verdict. White didn’t want to say how he scored the fifth round, and repeatedly said, “I’m not a judge.” When Henderson lifted the belt from Edgar at UFC 144 in February, White was public about his belief that Edgar won.
The fact that he declined to say how he had the fifth round Saturday is a fair indication he had Edgar again. That would mean he twice thought Edgar beat Henderson and he didn’t want to do anything to diminish Henderson in the eyes of a public which is still getting to know him.
“Again, it was one of those controversial decisions,” White said. “I’m just going to say this: I’m not a judge. I’m not a judge. Benson Henderson won the fight, he retained his title and that’s the end of it. A lot of people scored it differently, but I say this all the time: If you don’t like the way the judges score, don’t let it get there.”
Edgar said he felt he won. Henderson said he thought he had done enough and said after the fourth, he felt he needed to win the fifth to win the fight. As it turned out, though, he had the decision sewn up after four.
All three judges gave Edgar the final round, which Henderson believed might have been decisive.
It was that kind of a fight.
“I thought I was ahead,” Henderson said of going into the final five minutes. “At worst, I thought it was even and I had to win the fifth round. Again, I have the same sentiment as Mr. White over here, you can’t leave it in the judges’ [hands]. You can’t. You never know. I’ve seen some – you guys have – seen some very suspect judges’ decisions. Any time you leave it to a judge’s decision, no matter how badly you beat the guy up, you never know. You never know.
“And as close as our fight was, I just knew I had to get after that fifth round and go get him.”
The problem for White, fans and fighter camps who bemoan such decisions, is that it is likely to become a bigger issue, not smaller, as time goes on. When two evenly matched, technically skilled fighters are paired, close bouts are going to result and fights that are difficult to score are going to happen more frequently.
Benson Henderson celebrates his second win over Frankie Edgar. (Tracy Lee for Y! Sports)
As MMA matures as a sport, there will be more technically proficient fighters and they’ll produce quality, but even harder to score matches.
This was no situation like the June 9 boxing match between Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley, where it seemed to virtually everyone but the three persons scoring the bout that Pacquiao had won going away.
In this case, one could make a reasoned, passionate argument for either side.
“Ben’s a great fighter and he fought a great fight,” Edgar said.
“Frankie did a great job tonight,” Henderson said.
And though mixed martial arts judges are routinely excoriated, they did their jobs well, too.
Henderson clearly won Round 1. Edgar clearly won Rounds 2 and 4. Rounds 3 and 5 were close, with the third being the tighter of the two. It just came down to what judges prefer and, also, what angle they were seeing the fight from, because this was the type of fight where the scoring blows weren’t always easily apparent. It was difficult from certain angles to tell if punches were blocked or landed, and that makes the task of the judges exponentially more difficult.
Fighting isn’t scored like stick and ball sports. It is a much more nuanced, subjective process. And though the Internet abounds with conspiracy theorists, no tangible evidence has ever surfaced to support any claims of corruption.
But being upset after leaving Saturday’s fight card was like the nerdy kid in the class being upset about scoring a date with the Homecoming queen. Fans shouldn’t be disappointed.
The hero’s welcome native son Cerrone received as he walked to the cage was tingling. And the fight bordered on sensational. Cerrone ended it at 1:16 of the first when he hit Guillard in the head with a kick and then finished him with a brutal right hand.
Donald Cerrone lands the head kick that ultimately ended his fight with Melvin Guillard. (Tracy Lee for Y! Spo …
That match won both Fight of the Night and Knockout of the Night, stealing the KO honors and the $60,000 bonus that went with it from Erik Perez. Perez blasted Ken Stone with a counter right and knocked him out in just 17 seconds of their bantamweight fight.
In the next match, Michael Kuiper stopped Jared Hamman at 2:16 of the second in a bout that easily could have gotten Fight of the Night honors.
Once again, up and down the card, there were fun fights to watch, including the main event.
That should be the takeaway – Was it a fun show and can the decision be justified? – rather than angst about the way the judges scored the main event.
Because for those who get all bent out of shape about such instances, get ready. As the sport matures and evenly matched fighters continue to be paired, the number of those upsetting decisions is only going to climb.
by Kevin Iole
DENVER – Benson Henderson and Frankie Edgar battled almost to a standstill Saturday in their lightweight title fight in the main event of UFC 150.
Henderson pulled out a split decision, winning 48-47 on two cards and losing 49-46 on the third to retain the title he won from Edgar at UFC 144 in Japan.
Edgar was elusive and difficult for Henderson to catch. Henderson, who had an 89-62 edge in strikes landed, was scoring well with kicks early in the fight. But as the bout wore on, Edgar was more in control.
Benson Henderson battered Frankie Edgar’s legs throughout the first two rounds. (Tracy Lee for Y! Sports)
The decision is sure to spark plenty of debate. It drew the ire of the crowd at the Pepsi Center on Saturday, and Edgar won 49-46 on the Yahoo! Sports card.
Henderson celebrated when the fight end, but admitted he wasn’t sure when it was announced that he’d kept his belt.
“Of course, you always have concern when it goes to the judges,” Henderson said.
His biggest concern was in the second after Edgar caught him in a choke. But Henderson has been the most difficult man to submit in the UFC and he kept that reputation intact, holding on before finding a way to get out of it.
Edgar wasn’t able to land the big shots that he had been in other fights, but he also didn’t take nearly as much damage as he had in others. He had a minor bloody nose and a nick around his right eye, but otherwise was clean.
“I thought I had it,” Edgar said, shrugging his shoulders.
In the end, it was probably Henderson’s volume of kicks that swayed the judges. Henderson will defend his belt against Nate Diaz next, according to UFC president Dana White.
Donald Cerrone and Melvin Guillard are friends and long-time training partners, but they sure didn’t fight like it. Just seconds into the fight, Guillard dropped Cerrone with a vicious counter left.
But about a minute later, Cerrone reversed things and scored one a brutal knockout of Guillard. Cerrone landed a kick to the head that wobbled Guillard and stopped him in his tracks. Cerrone then landed a crushing right hook to the chin that put Guillard down and out.
It was a devastating finish to a fight that was expected to be one of the year’s fiercest. Both are known for their high-energy style and finishing ability, and the fight lived up to the hype in just the 76 seconds it lasted.
Jake Shields’ return to middleweight was not exactly a big hit. Shields took Ed Herman down and would hold him on the ground for long periods as he worked for better position. The crowd hated it, though, and booed loudly throughout.
Jake Shields and Ed Herman’s middleweight fight left plenty to be desired. (Tracy Lee for Y! Sports)
And so, though Shields won a unanimous decision, he hardly helped himself. Even UFC president Dana White blasted the fight for its lack of action on his Twitter account, calling it terrible.
Shields, though, was in control most of the way and had little trouble neutralizing Herman’s offense.
Ex-middleweight title contender Yushin Okami snapped a two-fight losing streak, using his wrestling to control Buddy Roberts and pound out a second-round stoppage victory.
Okami took Roberts down late in the first and took his back. He nearly finished the bout then, pummeling Roberts with shots. Referee Herb Dean was close to jumping in, but the bell sounded to save Roberts.
But the second round picked up where the first left off. Roberts was taken down and Okami patiently maneuvered into position. He got into mount, but Roberts then rolled onto his stomach. At that point, Okami used the same tactic he did in the first. He landed 15-20 unanswered blows before it was stopped at 3:05.
“With this, I feel like I’m on the path back,” Okami said of snapping his losing streak. “I came to Denver early so that I would be in the best condition possible for this fight. I was able to use my ground and pound, which is my best weapon.”
In the pay-per-view opener, 20-year-old striker Max Holloway finished Justin Lawrence at 4:49 of the second round with a pair of perfectly placed body shots.
Benson Henderson celebrates his second win over Frankie Edgar. (Tracy Lee for Y! Sports)
Holloway was patient despite the fact he was having difficulty getting the distance correct early in the fight. But late in the second, he opened with a jab that backed Lawrence to the cage. He then ripped a pair of shots to the body that sent Lawrence slumping to the floor, covering up.
Holloway jumped on top of him and landed a series of shots before referee Josh Rosenthal stopped it.
“That was my best fight to date by far and I was able to go in there and get the finish,” Holloway said. “I don’t have too many finishes on my record, so that’s always a bonus. We’re both strong strikers and a lot of times when two strikers get in there, it can turn into a wrestling match. I’m glad Justin went in there and banged with me and I’m even happier that I came out on top. I saw the first knee and the body shot and he went down so I knew he didn’t want to fight anymore. I jumped in there and got the finish as quickly as I could.”
by Kevin Iole
One of the endearing images of UFC 144 came in the immediate aftermath of Benson Henderson’s lightweight title-winning effort over Frankie Edgar in Tokyo.
Henderson walked down a hallway in the Saitama Super Arena, sweat dripping from his long hair, his arm draped over his mother’s shoulder. Song Henderson carried her son’s oversized UFC belt on her tiny shoulder, frequently looking up almost worshipfully toward her son.
Benson Henderson: “I want to fight everybody in the division.”
Then, in the wake of the most significant professional achievement of his life, Henderson went on vacation in South Korea to celebrate. And, of course, he took his Mom on the trip with him.
Henderson, who makes the first defense of his title on Saturday in Denver when he rematches with Edgar in the main event of UFC 150, can’t quite understand the fuss:
What kind of man doesn’t dote on his mom, he seems to say.
Henderson, though, is a different kind of athlete and a different kind of fighter. He’s a socially conscious young man whose Twitter stream is filled with comments about the major issues confronting the nation, such as the debate over immigration reform and his views regarding same-sex marriage.
But Henderson stands out in what is all too frequently a me-first world, where many athletes expect special treatment because of their ability.
Henderson, 28, is a self-described “comic book nerd,” who is about as easy to get along with as a warm bed on a cold night.
Since winning the title, he’s been asked repeatedly about how he’s handled the fame, but he is at a loss for how to answer the question.
Benson Henderson the man doesn’t get too caught up in being Benson Henderson the superstar athlete.
“It’s my personality and who I am,” he says of his low-key style. “I’m a pretty laid back, chill kind of a guy.”
Henderson is a powerfully built man who hasn’t smoked a cigarette or drank a sip of alcohol in his life. He’s got broad shoulders, a thick, muscular chest and an abdomen rippling with muscles. He looks like a 155-pound linebacker.
He’s not perfect by any means, and to prove it, he admits that on occasion he’ll indulge in a fast food meal. It’s an admission that has to kill the average working man, who puts on two pounds just thinking about having a Double Double from In & Out for lunch and then adds another five after actually consuming one.
Henderson admits to having a weakness for In & Out’s famous burger, which is 670 calories by itself. With a side of French fries setting him back another 395 calories, that’s almost 1,100 calories in one sitting.
“Once in a while, I just got to have me a Double Double,” he says, chuckling.
This is a guy who has just about the perfect work-life balance. He’s extraordinarily committed to his craft and spends long hours pushing himself beyond limits most humans would believe were possible.
He’s a stickler for detail who is well aware of his weaknesses in the Octagon. He drills them relentlessly in an effort to improve, to turn them into strengths.
Because he’s so easily able to separate his work life from his home life, if you put him in a suit and put his glasses on him, he’d be mistaken for an accountant or an attorney far more often than he would a professional fighter.
Though he’s one of the best, he’d never tell anyone who didn’t know it. He gets recognized far more often in public than he once did, a testament both to the growth of the sport and to the UFC’s dominance in the marketplace.
He’d just as soon, though, go into a comic book store and peruse the wares while not being noticed by a soul.
Benson Henderson celebrates after beating Frankie Edgar at UFC 144.
“There is a lot of attention that goes with what I do, particularly as the champion,” Henderson said. “But the notoriety, the fame, all that, I don’t seek it out. I wouldn’t say it’s a downside. It is what it is.
“I’m not the biggest attention-seeking kind of guy you’re going to meet. I’m introverted and like to chill. I pretty much take everything in stride. The attention isn’t a turnoff, or a negative at all, but you have to adjust. But isn’t that we do in life anyway, grow and mature and adjust as we experience new things?”
If he thinks he’s famous now, though, he’ll really be in for it if he accomplishes his goal and becomes the longest-reigning champion in UFC history.
He mentions boxers Joe Louis and Bernard Hopkins, both of whom had long reigns as champion that covered many fights over many years.
That, he said, is what he wants to do as a pro, to become known as the greatest mixed martial arts fighter ever.
In a sense, it contradicts the perception he creates as a guy indifferent to fame. Henderson, though, insists it all fits together nicely.
“All of us, no matter what our jobs are, should want to be the best at it that we can be,” he says. “If I was a sky diver, I would want to be the best sky diver there ever was. If my job was to sweep the floor in the supermarket, I’d want to be the guy that everyone knows would do it right the first time and no one would have to come in after me and fix up my mess.
“I’ve always believed in setting high goals for myself. Why not shoot for the stars? If you want to be the best at what you’re doing, whatever that is, you have to challenge yourself and not just accept the status quo. That’s all I am saying. Fighting is my job right now and I want to be the best at my job.”