Henderson in Controversial Win Over Edgar; Arum Talks Pacman vs. Mayweather

Lightweight Champion Benson Henderson Edges Frankie Edgar on Scorecards at UFC 150

By Brian Knapp
Check out Brian and other fine writers at the great mma website www.sherdog.com

Benson Henderson had to sweat through a narrow verdict on the scorecards to retain the Ultimate Fighting Championship lightweight crown.

Henderson (17-2, 5-0 UFC) captured a controversial split decision over former champion Frankie Edgar in the UFC 150 headliner on Saturday at the Pepsi Center in Denver. Two of the three cageside judges, Dave Hagen and Mark Van Tine, scored it 48-47 for Henderson. A third, Tony Weeks, cast a dissenting 49-46 ruling in favor of Edgar (14-3-1, 9-3-1 UFC).

“I was a little confused,” Henderson said. “The scoring on that one was a little weird, I thought — 49-46 — but the judge was up close, so it is what it is. You always have to be concerned when it goes to the judges.”

Henderson’s game plan centered on kicks to the challenger’s lower leg. The tactic was effective early, but Edgar grew wise to it as the fight deepened. He countered beautifully with right hands, one of which planted Henderson on the seat of his shorts in the second round. Rounds one, two and five were relatively clear, with the first going to Henderson and the second and fifth to Edgar. Rounds three and four appeared far more competitive and difficult to call.

“Frankie’s tough,” said Henderson, who dethroned Edgar at UFC 144. “We all know how tough he is and his team is. They always bring it in rematches. I knew he would be tougher than in the first fight. I had to come in here and lay it on the line.”

According to FightMetric figures, Edgar bested Henderson 70-65 in total strikes and 66-62 in terms of significant strikes. He also delivered four takedowns in the five-round affair and threatened Henderson more than once with the guillotine choke. Those statistics will only add fuel to the critics’ fire. Edgar did not hide his lack of satisfaction with the decision.

“It don’t matter,” he said. “I thought I brought it to him, but congrats to Ben. I’m upset, man. What are you going to do? I did [think I won]. I thought I brought it to him.”

Cerrone Dismisses Guillard in 76 Seconds

Cerrone rallied on Guillard.Jackson’s Mixed Martial Arts mainstay Donald Ceronne knocked out former teammate Melvin Guillard with a head kick and straight right hand in the lightweight co-main event. Cerrone (19-4, 6-1 UFC) wrapped it up in 76 seconds, as he recorded his sixth win in seven UFC appearances.

Guillard (30-11-2, 11-7 UFC) fired the first salvo, as he staggered Cerrone with a short left hand and swarmed him in an attempt to finish. The notoriously durable “Cowboy” recovered and went on the offensive. He delivered a glancing head kick that set a dazed Guillard on wobbly legs and sealed it with a straight right hand that sent “The Young Assassin” to the mat.

Shields Succeeds in Return to Middleweight

Former Strikeforce champion Jake Shields won for the 17th time in 19 bouts, as he captured a unanimous decision from “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 3 finalist Ed Herman in a middleweight showcase. All three cageside judges scored it for Shields (28-6-1, 3-2 UFC): 29-28, 30-27 and 30-27.

Herman (20-9, 7-6 UFC) held his own in the clinch, but Shields was relentless in his pursuit of the takedown. The Cesar Gracie protégé grounded Herman in all three rounds, moving to mount in the third. He threatened Herman briefly with a kimura and an arm-triangle choke but elected instead to rely on his trusted top game to carry him to victory.

“Fighting at middleweight I like, but the altitude definitely slowed my pace down,” Shields said. “It was a little embarrassing, but props to Ed Herman. He’s a great fighter. Hopefully next time it won’t be at altitude, and I can come here and give a lot more and show the kind of fighter I was when I fought Dan Henderson. [I only spent] seven days [at altitude]. If I could do it again, I’d spend like three weeks. I underestimated it.”

Okami Takes Out Roberts

Former middleweight title contender Yushin Okami won for the first time in nearly two years, as he stopped Jackson’s Mixed Martial Arts representative Buddy Roberts on second-round punches. Okami (27-7, 11-4 UFC), who entered the cage on a two-fight losing streak, closed it out 3:05 into round two.

Roberts (12-3, 1-1 UFC) connected repeatedly with left hands, but he was no match for the Japanese judoka on the ground. Okami grounded and mounted Roberts in both rounds. In the second, he passed to full mount and ultimately transitioned to Roberts’ back. The New Mexico-based middleweight offered no resistance, and Okami finished it with a series of unanswered punches. Roberts replaced the injured Rousimar Palhares on short notice.

Holloway Body Shot Finishes Lawrence

Max Holloway, the youngest fighter on the UFC roster, put away “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 15 alum Justin Lawrence with a wicked body shot and follow-up punches in a featured featherweight matchup. Holloway (6-1, 1-1 UFC) finished it 4:49 into round one.

Lawrence (4-1, 1-1 UFC) found a home for his overhand right and left hook in the early stages, but his inability to get the 20-year-old Hawaiian to the ground proved costly. Holloway opened a cut near his opponent’s right eye with a left hook and slowly made his reach more and more of a factor. In the second round, with Lawrence pinned along the cage, he landed a crippling left hook to the liver and trailed the stricken American to the ground, finishing it with punches.
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Arum Talks Pacquiao vs. Mayweather Jr. in 2013, TMT Promotions and Bradley II

By Vitali Shaposhnikov(Featured Columnist) www.bleacherreprort.com

Slowly but surely, boxing fans are getting used to Top Rank’s wishy-washy statements regarding the much-anticipated—and, at this point, even annoying—idea of the Mayweather Jr. vs. Pacquiao bout coming to fruition.

In a recent interview with the Manila Standard Today from the Philippines, Bob Arum once again teased boxing fans with the initiative to get the fight going sometime next year, but was unsure just how this would work. Arum said:

I want to explore with Manny the feasibility of doing a Mayweather fight sometime next year. I have to get his idea on schedules and when he is going to have to start campaigning for office. I know how to handle that with the Mayweather people and do the best deal possible and then get back to Manny. I am very optimistic we are going to get it done for next year.

This does indeed sound promising, but then again, we have all heard this before, and yet nothing has happened to move this idea forward thus far. Arum says that he knows how to deal with the Mayweather people, but has not shown this to be the case. Both camps have talked about making the fight a reality before, and more than once, there remained unfulfilled scenarios that have prevented anything from moving forward.

The good news is that Golden Boy Promotions might no longer be a part of the deal, as TMT Promotions will now do all the talking and negotiating. Even Arum feels confident that this will make all the difference needed to get the signatures closer to the contract. Arum told the Filipino paper the following about new promoter 50 Cent:

[He] appears to be a real businessman with no agenda like some of the other guys, so I think we can get a deal done.

The question is how early next year will the fight take place because Pacquiao will be running for office again and if the elections take place in May, how much lead time does he need in preparing his campaign.

Just as Freddie Roach has previously said on several occasions, politics are slowly but surely taking over Pacquiao’s life, and his boxing career seems to be sitting in the bleachers. The fight against Mayweather Jr., like it or not, would be the biggest event in Pacquiao’s professional life. He will not be remembered for anything else he has done, as much as he would be for his mega-fight against the unbeaten Mayweather.

As far as Pacquiao’s November fight goes, we should soon hear an update on his next opponent. The options seem to be: Miguel Cotto, Juan Manuel Marquez and, of course, Timothy Bradley.

Of the three, I personally think that a fight against Marquez is the most dangerous, but not necessarily the most sought after. A fight against Cotto at Miguel’s natural weight is also no tune-up and would look entirely different from their first one.

When it comes to the Bradley fight, it seems that financially this is not an optimal choice, and aside from that, there are other problems with the possibility of a rematch. Arum told the paper:

The real problem I have is that the pay-per-view networks, the cable companies and the satellite people in the United States don’t believe that Bradley will do appreciable business and that is something that really troubles me because we spent a lot of money promoting Manny’s fight, but if they don’t believe the results will be there they are not going to spend the money we need them to spend.

Apparently, nobody wants this fight; not even the networks believe that it will do well. While I understand what worries the networks, technically, I would assume that the rematch of a fight that had such a controversial ending would create enthusiasm and a demand for it take place.

Hopefully, we will know what the plan is within the next few days.

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