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UFC 144: Frank Edgar vs Ben Henderson Prediction Thread

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via www.sluggerserie.com

UFC 144 enters Saitama, Japan tomorrow evening (Saturday, February 25th) for the long awaited return. Dana White made sure to bring along a list of fighters ready to put on a show and please the Japanese crowd including Ryan Bader, Yushin Okami, Jake Shields, Yoshihiro Akiyama, Quinton Jackson, and of course the two headliners in Ben 'Smooth' Henderson who hopes to take the glory and gold in the Land of the Rising Sun, when he faces off against Lightweight champ Frankie Edgar.

This one promises to be a fantastic affair, so let's do a brief walk down memory lane to refresh our memories, then dive into what could be a fight of the year candidate:





Frank Edgar (14-1-1) has proven to be the 'little engine that could' in so many situations that it's getting nearly impossible to pick against the guy. He has been the underdog time in and time out. Fight after fight though, this fireball has shown us that counting him out is as silly a thing as any fan can do. Dating back to his first meeting with BJ Penn, there were extremely few fans that thought Edgar would get the job done. After he surprised us all, he made sure we knew it wasn't a fluke by turning in an even better fight next time around.

Controversy swirled as Edgar was able to overcome being almost killed in the first round against the only man to hand him a loss in his young career as Edgar and Gray Maynard battled a vigorous pace only to emerge both winners.. Or, both losers, as it was announced a draw. Of course that meant an instant rematch had to be booked to settle this one, and why not, as the 2nd battle between the two was extremely entertaining.

Edgar once again proved to be the bigger man as yet again he survived a vicious onslaught in the opening frame, only to come back in round 4 and actually knockout Gray Maynard, handing him his lone loss to date.

Ben Henderson (15-2) unleashed his fury on the world of the WEC as he quickly rised showing off a wide range of arsenal as he was able to force his muscle into almost any situation to gain the upper hand. It wasn't long before we saw Henderson win the interim title by beating Donald 'Cowboy' Cerrone, then defeating Jamie Varner to unify the belt, and then following that up with yet another Cerrone victory to defend the title.

However, lest we forget the night of the flying ninja, as Anthony 'Showtime' Pettis edged a narrow victory in the very last bout the WEC held before being absorbed in to the UFC. Pettis secured the win with an unforgettable wall running kick that floored Henderson and burned it's image in to our craniums.

It also marked the only blemish on Henderson's record since back in 2007, as Henderson has stormed back going 3-0 in the UFC Lightweight division and will most certainly be Edgar's stiffest test to date.

Who takes this one?

With wins over Clay Guida, Mark Bocek, and Jim Miller, Henderson will be nothing short of ready for Frankie Edgar. The most interestin part of this battle is going to be if Henderson can utilize a successful gameplan to finish Edgar if he should find himself able to rock the champ. Edgar has been floored in his last few outings and has arguably been on the brink of being stopped. All the credit to the World to him though, as he's came back each time and finished the fight on top.

But, can 'Bendo' muster up a strong finish if he's able to put the champ on queer street?

Tough to say, but Edgar will definitely look to keep this on the feet and fight off the chiseled exterior as 'Smooth' looks to test Edgar's chin with heavy shots followed with takedowns where Henderson will certainly feel he has the distinct adavantage. Where I am fearful for Edgar is that Henderson presents another element that he didn't have to worry about nearly as much when facing Maynard, and that's fighting off submission attempts.

We've all seen how impossible it is to submit Henderson, so we don't have to even discuss an opportunity of Edgar completing that feat. Henderson however, could very well rock Edgar as Maynard has before, then lock in a submission to wrap this one up in front of a very pleased Japanese crowd.

That's exactly how I see it going down.

Unfortunately, this could result in a quick fight, in which I'm sure many of us are rooting for at least 3 rounds out of these two to make this a little more conclusive on who is the better man and allow us the opportunity to see some exchanges and fireworks. It is for that reason and the reason of Edgar's durability, that I will give the current champ his due by saying he'll survive the initial onslaught of Henderson, but come late round 2 or early round 3, Henderson will find his mark again, rock the champ to within an inch of his life, then follow it up with a submission to secure the deal.

Signed, sealed and delivered, the Lightweight title is yours Ben Henderson.

Ben Henderson, by way of submission via rear naked choke in the 3rd round.

Thoughts?

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