UFC 144 was harder to sit through than the Oscars
To be the champion, you have to beat the champion. Or so the adage goes. And that might have a lot to do with the Monday morning grumbling over Benson Henderson’s unanimous-decision win over lightweight champ Frankie Edgar at Saturday’s UFC 144 in Japan.
Henderson never put Edgar away, never had him in any trouble, save for the outside possibility of a doctor’s stoppage due to a cut opened up near Edgar’s left eye. Edgar thought he did enough to keep the belt and so did a lot of fans, but it was clear that Henderson got the better of every exchange. Granted, it would be hard to argue if the decision had gone in Edgar’s favour. Minor grumblings, sure, but even UFC boss Dana White saw the fight for Edgar. That doesn’t mean I want to see an immediate rematch, of which there have been plenty the last couple of years, including Edgar’s rematches with his last two opponents. Time to move on.
Except now, Henderson will likely make his first title defense in — you guessed it — a rematch with Anthony Pettis, who unleashed the wall-climbing super-kick in their first encounter. Pettis also used a stunning head kick to introduce Joe Lauzon to unconsciousness to open UFC 144’s main card. This time, though, it’s a rematch I’m interested in seeing, especially since Henderson came out the loser the first time around.
As for the rest of the UFC 144 card, it was a bit of a snore. Tim Boetsch rallied for a ridiculously unexpected third-round TKO of Yushin Okami and Mark Hunt proved once and for all that Cheick Kongo doesn’t belong in the UFC with a first-round TKO, but that was the best the card could offer, and even both of those had a distinct sideshow quality about them. Jake Shields vs. Yoshihiro Akiyama and Ryan Bader vs. Quinton “Rampage” Jackson both went to decisions, although I can’t recall a single memorable moment from either fight. As for the seventh fight on the main card, does anyone even remember who fought? Twelve fights is a lot of fights to consume in one night, never mind actually care about.