Esther Lin, MMA Fighting
The UFC lightweight title changed hands on Saturday night at UFC 144.
It was a tremendous performance by Henderson, who came in with a great game plan heavy on kicks to the body and executed that game plan well. Henderson showed he was bigger and stronger than Edgar and showed that he had more than enough gas to last 25 minutes with the champion.
Two judges scored it 49-46 and one scored it 48-47. And now the UFC belt is around Henderson's waist.
Things got interesting early as Edgar caught a Henderson kick and held him by one foot in a takedown attempt, only to have Henderson throw a head kick with his other foot. Henderson kept throwing kicks throughout the first round, and Edgar threw a few as well. Edgar also moved in and out with punches, but a Henderson punch gave Edgar a black eye. Edgar got the better of the brief grappling exchanges, but Henderson got the better of the striking.
More fast-paced striking exchanges ensued in the second round, with Edgar catching more Henderson kicks and Edgar also taking Henderson down a couple of times. Edgar's takedown late in the second round appeared to have Henderson in trouble, but Henderson completely changed things with an upkick to Edgar's nose, followed by a choke attempt. Henderson probably took the round because of what he did in the final seconds.
Henderson continued hurting Edgar with strikes in the third round, but Edgar wouldn't quit and kept on attacking, and he took Henderson down at the end of the round. Henderson probably won the third round, but it was close.
Midway through the fourth round Henderson had Edgar in his guard and attempted a guillotine choke, and although he wasn't able to finish it, Henderson controlled the fourth and appeared to be taking control of the fight.
In the fifth round Henderson hammered away at the bloodied and bruised face of Edgar, and although Edgar wouldn't quit, it was clear in the end who had won: Henderson fought like a champion.
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