ANAHEIM, Calif. – As expected, Clay Guida and Ben Henderson each brought their high-octane games into the octagon, battling back-and-forth for a full fifteen minutes. After three rounds of nonstop action, it was Ben Henderson that emerged as the winner by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28), earning a shot at UFC lightweight kingpin Frankie Edgar.
Henderson threatened to finish the fight in the opening frame, dropping Guida with a right hand, but the resilient Guida managed to survive and regain his faculties. Both guys swung for the fences in close quarters during some heated exchanges, before Henderson was able to stuff a takedown attempt from Guida, putting him on the cage. Henderson continued to score with short knees in the clinch, but Guida landed a big right of his own, staggering Henderson near the end of the round.
The second round proved to be just as frantic as the first, as both guys scored during exchanges in the pocket while looking for takedowns. The scrambles and transitions from both guys kept the crowd on their feet throughout the round, and it was Guida that threatened with a guillotine attempt, pulling guard attempting to lock up the submission. Henderson was able to escape and take the back of Guida, looking for the rear-naked choke but time would run out on the round.
The third round saw Henderson score from the clinch with knees and elbows as he pressed Guida against the cage looking to change levels and work for a takedown. Guida defended but ended up with Henderson on his back. After a scramble, Guida managed to escape and lock up a guillotine, but Henderson once again showed how difficult he is to submit, surviving multiple choke attempts as Guida modified his grip and position looking for the finish.
When the scorecards from the judges came in, it was Ben Henderson that was awarded the unanimous decision victory with scores of 30-27, 30-27, and 29-28.
“Guida is super hard to deal with. He has an energetic, awkward pace,” Henderson said. “Frankie Edgar, we’ve got a date. Let’s do it, baby.”
Henderson (15-2 MMA, 3-0 UFC) and Edgar indeed have a date, and UFC president Dana White confirmed at the post-fight presser that the fight will be in Japan in February of 2012.