Benson Henderson defeated Frankie Edgar on Saturday night to win the UFC Lightweight Title. The bout served as the main event to UFC 144, which took place at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.
Henderson (15-2) used diverse striking to hurt Edgar (14-2-1) and keep the former champion off balance the entire fight, using kicks and powerful knees in the clinch.
Henderson's best strike came from his back, when he launched an up-kick to the face of Edgar at the end of the second round. Edgar's left eye swelled up during the early rounds, and his nose was bloody after round two.
In the later rounds, Henderson dominated Edgar on the ground, keeping him there for almost the entire fifth round.
In the co-main event, former Arizona State wrestler Ryan Bader (15-2) dominated Quinton "Rampage" Jackson (32-10) to earn an unanimous decision victory.
After a slow first round from both men, Bader came out in the second and did solid work in the clinch and on the ground. Bader landed knees and kicks to the body of Jackson and dominated him on the ground.
Jackson later said in the post-fight press conference that he expected to lose because of a knee injury that hindered him in training camp. Jackson said the knee injury was the reason that he missed weight.
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In the opening bout of the main card, Anthony Pettis scored a vicious knockout of Joe Lauzon. Pettis faked a jab and landed a kick to on the head of Lauzon, finishing him off with punches. UFC President Dana White hinted after the event that Pettis will get the next shot at the UFC Lightweight Title against Henderson. Pettis was the last man to defeat Henderson.
"Fight of the Night" was awarded awarded to Henderson and Edgar, "Knockout of the Night" went to Anthony Pettis, and "Submission of the Night" was given to Vaughan Lee for his armbar submission of "Kid" Yamamoto.
Full UFC 144 Results:
- Benson Henderson def. Frankie Edgar via unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 48-47) for lightweight title
- Ryan Bade def. Quinton "Rampage" Jackson via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Mark Hunt def. Cheick Kongo via TKO (punches) - Round 1, 2:11
- Jake Shields def. Yoshihiro Akiyama via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Tim Boetsch def. Yushin Okami via (TKO) punches - Round 3, 0:54
- Hatsu Hioki def. Bart Palaszewski via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
- Anthony Pettis def. Joe Lauzon via knockout (kick and punches) - Round 1, 1:21
- Takanori Gomi def. Eiji Mitsuoka via TKO (punches) - Round 2, 2:21
- Vaughan Lee def. Norifumi "Kid" Yamamoto via submission (armbar) - Round 1, 4:29
- Riki Fukuda def. Steve Cantwell via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
- Chris Cariaso def. Takeya Mizugaki via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Issei Tamura def. Tiequan Zhang via knockout (punch) - Round 2, 0:32
Photo Credit: Al Bello/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images