The UFC’s return to the Mile High City will feature yet another rematch in the promotion’s lightweight division. Current champion Benson Henderson will look to make the first defense of his belt against the very man he took it from, Frankie Edgar.

Although many have argued the necessity of the UFC 150 main event, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone that has no desire to watch these two combatants go at it once again.

Can Edgar rebound and prove that their previous meeting at UFC 144 was just a fluke? Or will Henderson emphatically secure his reign on the division much like Edgar did previously with two straight wins over B.J. Penn?

Let’s take a deeper look at the fight. And as a reminder, this is a side-by-side comparison of how the fighters’ skills matchup against one another.

Striking: Henderson – 10, Edgar – 9

Henderson (R) connects with a kick (James Law/Heavy MMA)

On the feet, these fighters have very contrasting styles. This was clearly evident in their first meeting back in February.

Henderson is a naturally bigger man than Edgar. As such, he packs much more power in strikes. While the man known as “Smooth” is unlikely to outland Edgar in terms of volume, the damage he does when he connects is devastating. In addition to his power, Henderson uses a varied attack that includes kicks and knees to the body. He used these to interrupt Edgar’s flow in their previous meeting.

Edgar’s boxing technique is superior to Henderson’s. But this isn’t boxing. Although his speed and volume attack was enough against the aforementioned Penn and Gray Maynard, he left himself open a lot in his first meeting with Henderson. It resulted in the former champion taking a lot of damage on the feet over the course of five rounds. There’s no reason to believe this will change come Aug. 11.

Ground Game: Henderson – 10, Edgar – 9

Henderson (R) attacks with a guillotine choke (Esther Lin/MMA Fighting)

Both men possess the rank of brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. However, that does not make them equals in the submission department.

As evidenced by the fact that eight of his 16 wins have come by way of tapout, Henderson’s submission attack is the more dangerous of the two lightweights. Yet, at UFC 144, he was unable to finish Edgar with his patented guillotine choke—a move that earned him the WEC championship previously. Unless he is able to hurt Edgar on the feet first, it’s unlikely that he’ll become the first to submit the New Jersey native.

The effectiveness of Edgar’s ground game isn’t so much in his offensive attack, but his ability to avoid mistakes and avoid getting submitted. His calmness on the ground allowed him to escape Henderson’s choke in February. Coupled with his wrestling, “The Answer” has developed a more-than-adequate game under Renzo Gracie and Ricardo Almeida.

Wrestling: Henderson – 9, Edgar – 10

Edgar (L) lands a takedown (Esther Lin/MMA Fighting)

Despite the scorecards heavily favoring Henderson when the first fight ended, those that felt Edgar was slighted by the judges pointed toward the number of takedowns landed by Edgar.

Henderson’s size was a big factor in the first fight. Although he may not possess the same wrestling pedigree as Edgar, the former NAIA All-American has showed time and again that he does not care where the fight takes place. His striking—specifically a well-placed up kick—helped overcome the fact that he was taken down multiple times by Edgar in the first fight. At the same time, his striking also contributed to the takedowns more so than a deficiency in his wrestling technique.

Much like his fights with Gray Maynard, Edgar overcame the fact that he was dwarfed by his opponent to score takedowns. That speaks volumes about his timing and technique. The four-time national qualifier for Clarion University may not have the most decorated wrestling pedigree in the sport, but he has learned to adapt it to MMA as well as anyone.

X-Factor

Based on the first fight, it would be surprising if either fighter finish the other. In their 34 combined fights, only Henderson has been finished, and that was in his third career fight. As such, cardio will play a major factor over another five rounds. Because this fight is being contested in Denver, altitude will certainly affect both fighters’ conditioning. Will the fact that Edgar cuts much less weight give him an edge? Or will the Colorado native Henderson overcome the elevation?

Total: Henderson – 29, Edgar – 28

Verdict: On paper, there’s no reason to believe this fight will be any different from the first meeting. Edgar has shown throughout his career that he has more heart than most fighters, but eventually he will realize that the featherweight division is a better home for his smaller frame. Henderson by unanimous decision once again.

Top Photo: Frankie Edgar (R) lost his belt at UFC 144 to Benson Henderson (Esther Lin/MMA Fighting)

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