Did anyone else see UFC 144? What a great card, and what an awesome finish! Plus they had a Miss Japan finalist as a ring girl.
Brief recap: The one Chinese guy in the UFC, Tiequan Zhang, got knocked the f out in round two. His fight was the one Facebook prelim, so unless the Chinese market is valuable enough for Dana to keep him employed, he’s probably getting a pink slip. Okami got destroyed after winning the first two rounds. I was predicting a lay and pray win for him, but he got tagged hard and knocked out. Shields beat Sexiyama. Sexiyama did well on the takedown defense, but he wasn’t throwing enough strikes. Mark Hunt had a really great fight against Cheik Kongo. I loved how methodical he was. He threw strikes and calmly stalked Kongo down before knocking him out. That K-1 background is scary. Rampage had a good slam (which I don’t think he has done since Pride), but he was injured and lost. He would’ve beaten Bader any other day.
But the fight of the night was Benson Henderson vs. Frankie Edgar. I’ve always respected Edgar for his heart, his work ethic, and his drive. But the fact is that a guy who doesn’t have the power to knock someone out and who always tries to win on points (not counting that last Gray Maynard fiasco) shouldn’t be Lightweight Champion. If you watch the fight, be sure to turn off the sound–Joe Rogan’s commentary was so biased it was ridiculous.
It was exactly the way I thought it would be. Frankie tried to win on speed and by outlanding his opponent with baby tag-shots, the same way he “beat” BJ Penn. Benson was doing his mad tae kwon do kicks, landing hard shots like crazy. To Frankie’s credit, he was able to catch the kicks and try to follow up with punches, but he was getting pounded. Not only was Benson flashier, more daring, and using cooler techniques, he was also bigger, stronger, and more technical.
Benson landed a hard up-kick at the end of round 2 and almost took off Edgar’s head. Joe Rogan called it a turning point in the fight, and I agree that it was the hardest shot of the fight, but Ben was controlling the Octagon and pressing the action the whole time–even before the hard up-kick.
After the fight, Frankie said that he won the fight because he supposedly landed more shots and got more takedowns. I don’t think so. The “shots” were all light touches, and the takedowns, I thought, were equal. Ben fell more because of the kicks, but Frankie wasn’t able to capitalize–they weren’t takedowns; they were just slips due to the fact that Benson was attacking more. I watched the post-conference, and Frankie kept insisting that he thought he won the fight, despite the fact that his face was all busted up and Ben was “smooth” like his nickname.
Frankie’s got lots of heart, but he clearly lost the fight (Fight Metric agrees with the decision), and he belongs at 145. I’d love for him to fight Aldo.
Anyway, they mentioned several possible next fights for Henderson, but I hope Pettis will get the next shot, not interested in seeing Frankie stick around at 155. It’ll be good–I like them both. But what I’d really like to see (but which I probably will never see) is Benson vs. BJ Penn or Pettis vs. BJ Penn. I know this will get me in trouble with some readers, but I still think of BJ Penn as being the last real UFC Lightweight Champion who got robbed in a very bad decision, even though I agree that Edgar outpointed Penn in the rematch.
Anyway, congrats again to Benson Henderson; it was a well-deserved decision victory. Oh, and Benson Henderson is half-Korean. He’s also a mama’s boy. Which is not a bad thing among Asian dudes.