UFC 144: Henderson causes upset to win lightweight title

Benson Henderson is the lightweight world champion after beating Frankie Edgar at UFC 144 in Japan on Sunday

By Rob Nash

Henderson captures lightweight title

Benson Henderson caused a shock upset on Sunday when he ended the reign of Frankie Edgar, defeating ‘The Answer’ via a unanimous decision to become the new lightweight champion of the world. It was a thrilling action-packed fight that will certainly be remembered as a classic lightweight championship battle.

Henderson used his size and thundering kicks to dominate his smaller opponent for five rounds to claim the victory. Edgar had taken the 28-year-old down late in the second round, but while standing over his opponent, he was struck by an up-kick which broke the nose of the New Jersey native and almost knocked him unconscious.

The vicious kick was a confidence booster for Henderson as he had a chance to finish the fight again in the third round when he caught Edgar in a deep guillotine choke and came very close to pulling off his signature move – but Edgar managed to pop his head out and escape.

Despite Edgar’s left eye being completely swollen, he was not going to give up his title and tried to use his boxing and constant movement to defeat his opponent.

But the tactic was unsuccessful against the bigger lightweight, who delivered powerful blows in response, which was sufficient for the three judges to grant him the victory with the scorecards reading: 49-46, 48-47 and 49-46.

Rampage unable to stop hungry lions of the game

Quinton Jackson was yet again unsuccessful in taking on a younger opponent on Sunday, losing every round to rising star Ryan Bader. Jackson, nicknamed Rampage, was the huge favourite going into this fight but failed to deliver a winning performance.

When the A-Team star had missed weight, questions were raised about his desire to fight, and to everyone’s surprise he looked slow and under motivated in the cage despite the Japanese crowd’s excitement to see the 33-year-old in action.

The former champion was outscored throughout the fight, but to his credit did show signs of his old self, picking Bader up and he delivering his famous slam, dropping the 28-year-old awkwardly on his neck and continuing with some powerful shots before being taken down.

The third round saw Bader take Jackson to the ground yet again, delivering some ground and pound, controlling him for the rest of the fight.

In a post-fight interview, Bader said: “Beating Rampage here in Japan is an amazing experience, an amazing feeling”.

Bader’s unanimous decision victory is the biggest win of his career and will solidify him as a true contender amongst the other fighters in the 205 division. For Jackson, questions remain over whether he really wants to fight any more.

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