UFC 150 returns to the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado with the
lightweight championship on the line when Frankie Edgar and Ben Henderson meet in
a rematch to their February fight at UFC 143. Which fighter should UFC bettors back?
Over a month since their first encounter,
Lightweight champion Ben Henderson has gone from a +120 underdog to a clearly
established -160 betting favorite in his upcoming rematch against Frankie
Edgar. Which fighter stands to capture the second fight, and where would
another potential loss leave Frankie Edgar standing in the division?
UFC 150: Henderson vs. Edgar II
After refusing to
drop down to featherweight to challenge champion Jose Aldo, Edgar was
ultimately granted what many feel is an undeserving rematch against Ben Henderson.
Most fans out there feel Henderson clearly won, at minimum, 3 of the 5 rounds
in their first meeting.
To get a better feel
for how increasingly outmatched many fight fans expect Edgar to be in the
second fight, look no further than the line shift from the first meeting to the
upcoming rematch. In those 6 months since the fight, there’s been almost a 60
cent shift in Henderson’s price, going from a +120 underdog to a clearly
established -160 favorite as he is now the sharp choice to add to your UFC picks.
Since making the
commute over from the WEC to the UFC in 2011, Henderson’s size and unorthodox
striking power have proven to fluster and wear out his opponents. Allowing the
man from Arizona to take 4 consecutive decision victories, including the latest
5 round decision over Frankie Edgar, earning him the lightweight strap.
Edgar next month would open up a potential frenzy of blockbuster match-ups for
Ben Henderson. The chance to see Henderson defend his belt against either
Anthony Pettis or Nate Diaz is almost guaranteed to generate increased PPV
sales. With both fights seemingly so competitive that you could easily make the
case for Henderson being the slight underdog in both matches.
If Frankie does
indeed lose to Henderson on Aug 11, he’ll have the choice of either dropping
down to featherweight to immediately become a top 5 contender, or as a
remaining lightweight, he’ll be forced to the back of the line of possibly the
most talent stacked division in the UFC. With the current jam of contenders at the
top of the lightweight division, at minimum, Edgar would be looking at another
year before even being considered for another title shot.
In that sense it’s
a win-win for Edgar as he’s probably looking at back to back title fights
whether he wins or not on the 11th. The prospects of a potential
fight with Jose Aldo would still garner enough interest considering many feel that
featherweight is Edgar’s natural weight class.
The UFC 150 co-feature will include Jake Shields as he makes his middleweight debut as a -170
favorite over Ed Herman.
respectable 2-2 record during his tenure as a UFC welterweight, both of those
victories were uninspiring decisions where many felt the decision could easily
have gone to the other fighter on both occasions.
This will be
Jake’s first return since upsetting Dan Henderson as a +300 UFC odds dog back in
2010 for the Strikeforce middleweight championship.
On that note, it
may prove to be the weight class in which Jake’s body is simply more responsive
and productive inside the octagon. On the other hand, Ed Herman has repeatedly
proven his worth within the division, and would arguably make his first jump
towards a top ten ranking with a decisive victory over Shields on the night.
And in the
middleweight division, we have both Rousimar Palhares and Yushin Okami looking
to rebound from their respective losses in hopes of recapturing their former
top ten rankings at 185 pounds.
Rousimar’s repeated mental lapses and Yushin’s clear size advantage in the
match-up, it was hardly a surprise to see Okami open at nearly -220 over the
Brazilian. At least with Okami’s latest defeat you can make a strong case he
was dominating his opponent until getting defensively careless in the third
Meanwhile, Palhares has shown
us that he freezes up when he gets hard enough and tends to mentally break down
if he isn’t able to completely dominate the grappling exchanges. We were all
willing to forgive him to an extent for what happened in his loss against
Marquardt, but seeing the almost exact scenario play out in his latest fight
against Alan Belcher was troubling to say the least.