After another twenty-five minutes of head-to-head action between defending champion Benson Henderson and Frankie Edgar, there seemed yet again to be no clear winner as both fighters anxiously awaited the decision. After the scorecards were read, it would be Henderson that would retain his title as a frustrated Edgar looked on.
The champion opened his first title defense effectively landing bruising leg kicks to the calf of Edgar’s lead leg. Edgar flashed his jab looking for his range early as he absorbed the leg kicks and went to work countering the attacks with right hands over the top. The challenger managed a late takedown but found himself ensnared in a Henderson guillotine as time ran out on the opening stanza.
Henderson immediately went back to the leg to start the second as Edgar continued to dart in and out with shots to the body. Edgar clipped the champion with a right hand close to the cage, forcing Henderson to stand in the pocket to counter. Edgar returned fire, dropping Henderson with a right hook. The challenger followed him to the mat, locking up a front headlock, but Henderson managed to make his way back to his feet sustaining little damage in the process.
The champion came out in the third headhunting with his kicks, but found himself getting caught with counter-right hands from Edgar. The challenger then went on to put together some nice punch-kick combinations in addition to working the body. Henderson responded, switching stances and catching Edgar with his jab and lead left hands.
Going into the championship rounds, the bout appeared to be very close and seemed destined to be heading for a decision. Henderson all but abandoned his attack on the leg of Edgar as he had consistently been countered by the right hand of the challenger as the fight wore on. Edgar managed to secure a takedown after catching one of the kicks but could not hold Henderson down as both guys took the center of the cage.
Edgar showed more of a sense of urgency in the final round, putting together punch-kick combinations as he found his rhythm. Henderson remained calm but didn’t land any real significant offense as the fifth and final round wore on.
When the decision was read, it would be Ben Henderson (17-2 MMA, 5-0 UFC) that would retain his title by split decision with scores of 46-49, 48-47, and 48-47. The win keeps Henderson perfect in the UFC and sets him up with a showdown with Nate Diaz as he looks to defend his title for the second time.