Edgar And Henderson Headline UFC 144 Betting

By: Matty Simo | Thursday, February 23, 2012

Lightweight champion Frankie Edgar avenged the only loss of his career in his last fight and will defend his title for the fourth time on Saturday against Ben Henderson at UFC 144.  Edgar’s last four bouts have come against the same two fighters, Gray Maynard and BJ Penn, while Henderson will try to earn his second different championship belt in the main event from Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.

Seven fights comprise the main card, which will be broadcast live on Pay-Per-View starting at 10:00 p.m. (ET).  Four more preliminary card bouts will be televised on FX while a featherweight fight between China’s Tiequan Zhang (18-2) and Japan’s Issei Tamura (6-2) will kick off the organization’s first event in Japan in more than 11 years (UFC 29, Dec. 2000).  Zhang is a big 325 favorite against Tamura (+245).

Edgar (14-1-1) is a small 125 favorite against Henderson (-105) and coming off a fourth-round TKO victory against Maynard last October 8 at UFC 136.  The champ faced Maynard for the third time and finally beat him after going 0-1-1 in the previous two matchups.  Edgar had earned a draw in the last meeting with Maynard and defeated Penn twice before that in winning the championship and defending it for the first time.

Henderson (15-2) is 3-0 in the UFC since losing the WEC lightweight title to Anthony Pettis on December 16, 2010 and earned the opportunity to fight Edgar after edging Clay Guida in a close unanimous decision at the first UFC on FOX event last November 12.  All three of Henderson’s UFC wins since coming over from the WEC have been via unanimous decisions.

Pettis (12-2) looked to be in line for a title shot against Edgar but lost to Guida in his UFC debut last June 4.  He will take on Joe Lauzon (20-6) in another main card fight that could determine who is next for the winner between Edgar and Henderson.  Pettis is a solid 220 favorite against Lauzon (+175), who has won two in a row since losing to George Sotiropoulos and earned Submission of the Night both times.  In fact, Lauzon’s last four wins all resulted in the same honor.

The four other bouts on the main card include Quinton “Rampage” Jackson (32-9) against Ryan “Darth” Bader (14-2) at light heavyweight in a battle of the best nicknames while Mark Hunt (7-7) takes on Cheick Kongo (27-6-2) at heavyweight, Yoshihiro Akiyama (13-4, 2 No-Contests) faces Jake Shields (26-6-1) at welterweight and Yushin Okami (17-6) meets Tim Boetsch (14-4) at middleweight.

Jackson previously fought in Japan as a member of the Pride organization and hopes to bounce back from a loss to light heavyweight champion Jon “Bones” Jones at UFC 135.  He is a 240 favorite against Bader (+190), who also lost to Jones and ended a two-fight losing skid against Jason Brilz at UFC 139 with a first-round KO at the 1:17 mark.

Kongo and Shields are both heavy 350 favorites against their opponents, who are each listed at +250.  Shields has lost his last two bouts, falling to Jake Ellenberger and welterweight champ Georges St. Pierre, and Kongo is 3-0-1 in his past four fights since dropping two in a row to former heavyweight title holders Frank Mir and Cain Velasquez.

Okami is the biggest favorite on the card at 375 over Boetsch (+275) and looks to rebound from a second-round TKO loss to middleweight champ Anderson Silva at UFC 134.  Boetsch is 6-1 in his last seven bouts, including 3-1 in the UFC.  He is 2-0 at middleweight since dropping down from light heavyweight, where he suffered the lone loss during that stretch to Phil Davis at UFC 123.

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