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By: Rich Hansen, MMATorch Columnist
I really don't have a score to give this card. There were, in order from good to bad, some nice finishes, some really good fights, some mediocre fights, a bad fight, the Shields fight, and two awful scorecards that have changed the history of the UFC's lightweight division. While the fights were generally entertaining, a couple of things left a bad taste in my mouth, and I write this feeling perplexed more than anything.
I don't want to talk about the main event any more than is absolute necessary. I thought Henderson won the first fight 49-46 in a fight I didn't think was anything special, and was closer overall than my 49-46 card represented. This time around, I thought Edgar won 49-46 in a fight I didn't think was anything special, and was closer overall than my 49-46 card represented. That said, close or not, 49-46 is pretty solid, and Edgar would have been justified in lighting up the judges when Joe Rogan interviewed him after the fight ended. I know for a fact I would still be ranting had it been me, and I would have been facing a massive suspension, or even unemployment, by the time I was done.
As a result of this sham decision, Edgar's going to be forced to drop to a weight class in which he doesn't want to participate. Whilst the thought of Edgar fighting Chan Sung Jung for a shot at Erik Koch's UFC Featherweight Title is tantalizing, it'll be tainted with the stench of tonight's robbery. And to everyone who's going to call for a rematch, due to Edgar getting hosed and the fights were both close and if they fought ten times they'd each have five wins apiece and blah blah blah: both fights were tedious. Fair or not, I'm done with seeing either of them fight one another.
Donald Cerrone, inexplicably love him or properly hate him, was resilient as all hell, and really caught Melvin Guillard with a head kick followed up by a straight right combo. I really should like Cerrone, he's always fun in the cage and a wildcard outside of it. He just doesn't do it for me, to the point where he's the reason I cheer for Nate Diaz as hard as I do now. Well, even if I loathed Nate I'd be cheering for him against Ben Henderson, who has fast replaced Tito Ortiz as my least favorite person in the UFC.
I'm done defending Jake Shields. Put him in against Yushin Okami, put it on Facebook, and don't tell anyone the date, time, or venue. PS, Jake Shields telling Ariel Helwani just now that he attributed the booing NOT to his general stylistic suckitude but rather to Ed Herman's massive popularity in Denver is really delusional of him.
Okami gave Buddy Roberts way too many opportunities to shine before eventually ending the fight with the worst 495 punch flurry in UFC history. Okami's striking game was at best equaled by that of Buddy Roberts. Damning with faint praise, eh?
Justin Lawrence was supposed to be the guy the UFC was going to groom to fight Erik Koch for the Featherweight Title two or three years from now. Unfortunately for those plans, they put him in against an intriguing 20 year old named Max Holloway. Holloway's finishing sequence was beautiful, following up a liverknee with a couple of hard body shots.
Dennis Bermudez and Tommy Hayden had a fight that followed the same template as Cerrone vs. Guillard. Sure it lasted a couple minutes longer, and ended by a standing front choke, but the winners of both fights were in trouble before finishing in violent fashion.
Also on the prelims, Michael Kuiper and Erik Perez had memorable finishes, but maybe not memorable for the right reasons. Kuiper needed about 45 minutes to finish Jared Hamman, even after Hamman was nice enough to tear a muscle in his leg that led to the muscle rolling up into a grotesque visible know. And Perez' finish was solid, but had the referee waited 2 seconds longer, Perez would have given up his back to Ken Stone (whose last name does not in fact accurately describe his chin.
Nik Lentz dropped to featherweight, dominated Eiji Mitsuoka, and announced himself a future champion. Sure, maybe after Erik Koch moves up to 155 after UFC Lightweight Champion Anthony Pettis moves up to 170.
And finally, congratulations to Duke Roufus product Chico Camus for overcoming some bad positions to defeat Dustin Pague. Camus is vastly improved from the fighter I saw lose to Jameel Massouh in November 2010. Well done, sir.
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Jamie Penick, editor-in-chief
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