Esther Lin, MMA Fighting
Edgar (14-1-1) retained his title last October by knocking out Gray Maynard in their third encounter. Henderson (15-2) went undefeated in 2011, earning decisions over Mark Bocek, Jim Miller and Clay Guida.
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Round 1: Henderson takes the center of the cage. Henderson throws a leg kick. Edgar catches it and Henderson tries to kick with his other leg. Edgar ducks under the kick and Henderson falls down. Edgar lands a punch from the top but Henderson's back to his feet quickly. Edgar with his typical side to side movement, creating angles. Edgar catches another kick and fires off a few back leg kicks and a punch before letting it go. Edgar with a body punch. Edgar looks well schooled on Henderson's attacked, as he's catching many of Henderson's kicks. Henderson scores with a straight left. Edgar takes him down briefly. Back to their feet, Henderson with a knee to the face. Edgar with a left hook. A competitive first round goes to Edgar, 10-9.
Round 2: Edgar with right and left kicks early. A Henderson right cross lands. Edgar has some redness around his left eye. Henderson starting to get more confident and moving forward. Edgar takes Henderson down again and looks to work to his back, but instead breaks his grip and lets him go. Edgar going heavy with the leg kicks while Henderson is targeting the mouse forming under Edgar's eye with the jab. Edgar with a takedown inside of the round's final minute. Edgar with elbows from the top. Henderson hurt Edgar with an upkick and ended up on top. The kick looks like it broke Edgar's nose. Henderson ended the round on top but only for a few seconds. The round goes to Edgar 10-9.
Round 3: Edgar with a nice combo. Edgar fakes a takedown and lands a right hook. He doesn't look any worse for the wear despite the big kick. Edgar and Henderson threw simultaneous kicks and Edgar ended up on the ground. Henderson tried to swarm but Edgar got to the fence and wall walked up to his feet without taking any more damage. Henderson is finding his stride now. This is his best overall round, and he's been in the center of the cage for most of it. Edgar gets a late takedown but MMA Fighting scores it for Henderson, 10-9.
Round 4: Henderson seems to have better timing on Edgar's offense, firing off the jab as Edgar closes. Edgar's changing things up by switching to southpaw occasionally. A kick by Henderson lands low and causes a timeout. Edgar lands a hard right hand as Henderson steps forward. Edgar slams him down but Henderson hooks on a guillotine. Edgar doesn't panic and separates Henderson's legs, causing him to break the hold. Edgar catches another kick, which has been a running theme of the fight. He lands a straight right and Henderson answers with a knee as Edgar pulls out. Another close round, but MMA Fighting scores it for Henderson 10-9.
Round 5: Henderson with a straight left hand. Edgar's cutman did a great job of limiting the blood but now it's coming down his face again. Edgar lands a straight left. Moments later an overhand right. A takedown from Edgar but he can't hold Henderson down. Edgar lands an uppercut and Henderson goes down. It was tough to tell whether he slipped or it was from the punch. Edgar steps into a left hook. Henderson has the center of the cage but Edgar is more active here. Henderson dancing around, showing he's still fresh as we go under 30 seconds left. Henderson lands a jumping knee and takes Edgar down in the final seconds. Oh boy, what a close fight. Edgar landed more, but Henderson landed harder. Someone's going home unhappy. MMA Fighting scores it for Edgar, 10-9.
Winner: Ben Henderson via unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 48-47)
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