The UFC returns to Pay-Per-View just one week after a spectacular UFC on FOX 4 card to bring fans a lightweight title rematch between reigning kingpin “Smooth” Ben Henderson (16-2) and the man he just took the title from, “The Answer” Frankie Edgar (14-2-1). Taking the co-main slot is WEC stand-out “Cowboy” Donald Cerrone (18-4) as he faces off against “The Young Assassin” Melvin Guillard (30-10-2). Jake Shields (27-6-1) will anchor the card as he returns once again to 185lbs. to face “Short Fuse” Ed Herman (20-8). The middleweights will also take on the duties of filling the card’s sophomore slot as “Thunder” Yushin Okami (26-7) meets Buddy Roberts (12-2). The opening bout of the night features a pair of burgeoning young strikers who are sure to light up the airwaves. IKF National and Pan-American Kickboxing Champion “The American Kid” Justin Lawrence (4-0) looks for a second UFC win as he makes his featherweight debut against “Blessed” Max Holloway (5-1).
At First Glance: This is a match for the fans. Like any good card, UFC 150 has a high profile main event backed by a divisionally significant co-main, a solid anchor between two staple names, and an opening bout that may not make any waves in the participants’ division, but is almost guaranteed to set a tone of excitement and action for the night. Both Lawrence and Holloway are young, green horn fighters with exceptionally fast paced and exciting stand-up backgrounds. The TUF alum, Lawrence, is moving to a lighter weight, possibly in an attempt to escape a lightweight division rife with high-powered wrestlers. Holloway is simply looking to put more distance between himself and his UFC debut loss.
In Depth: This type of bout is a normally cut and dry case of a high energy, high volume striker taking on a classically trained kickboxer that is made a bit more interesting due to the fact that Lawrence is cutting down to a new weight. He was already a lean fighter at 155, so the effect of the weight cut and the loss of muscle mass at 145 will prove a pointed X factor. He does have two clearly defined advantages over Holloway, however. First, Lawrence is an accomplished kickboxer and boxer with six national kickboxing titles and two Golden Gloves titles. This is just evidence to the fact that while Holloway built his name on flashy, acrobatic kicks and aggressive striking, Lawrence has the tools to easily beat him at his own game. The second is his amateur wrestling background. Though he was by no means an accomplished high school wrestler, he has been wrestling since his freshman year and should have an edge over Holloway who has proven all but useless on the mat. Lawrence could use this to slow down Holloway’s offense and allow himself an opportunity to set up his counter-striking.
The Wild Card: Though Lawrence is the man making the cut from lightweight, the lanky Hawaiian has a whopping three inches of height and reach on him. While Lawrence’s classical training will certainly have included dealing with rangy fighters, especially ones who are more or less lacking in the technical striking department, it is still a major issue especially when coupled with the fact that he is making his first cut to 145 and may be slower and weaker for the experience.
The Verdict: It isn’t often that the smart money is on the flashy, rookie striker against the veteran but this is just such a case. Lawrence is a better kickboxer than Holloway, that is beyond any credible doubt. Unfortunately he will be giving up too much in his first move to featherweight and will not likely be able to make the needed adjustments in time to avoid losing at the hands of the judges. Holloway via Unanimous Decision