UFC Benson Henderson beats Josh Thomson

UFC Benson Henderson beats Josh Thomson

UFC Benson Henderson beats Josh Thomson

By Rich Mayor Via Chicago Tribune –

Benson Henderson wants his title back. Saturday, he took another step toward it.

Henderson, the UFC’s No. 1 lightweight contender, won on a split decision over Josh Thomson in the five-round main event of the UFC on Fox 10 at the United Center.

Thomson, who Henderson called “a true veteran of the sport” this week, attempted to shorten the match early. The San Jose native wrestled and grappled for much of the first two rounds. The momentum swing came in the third round, during which Henderson notched 29 total strikes to Thomson’s four, according to UFC.com.

For the match, Henderson (20-3 MMA, 8-1 UFC) was plus-66 in the total strike differential, and plus-seven on significant strikes.

Henderson lost his lightweight championship to the now-injured Anthony Pettis in August. Pettis is hoping for a July return, but the status of his knee is uncertain.

The 35-year-old Thomson (20-6 1 NC, 3-2), who entered the ring to the Chicago-friendly “Sirius” by the Alan Parsons Project, left UFC in 2004 and returned in 2013. “The Punk” had won four of his previous fights and was coming off a second-round TKO of Nate Diaz, making Thomson the first fighter in Diaz’s 25-fight career to finish him with strikes.

But Henderson’s speed and stamina were just too much Saturday.

In a UFC heavyweight match, Stipe Miocic continued his ascent up the ranks.

In a unanimous-decision victory over veteran Gabriel Gonzaga, Miocic (11-1 MMA, 5-1 UFC) had a 63-29 significant strike advantage. The result was a familiar end for Gonzaga, who has gone the distance only once as a professional.

“I was trying to hit him with everything I had,” Miocic said. “I got him to the ground in the third round. He was on the ground and I had to keep going. He was tough, but it was fun. He hits hard and can take a punch.”

Gonzaga (16-8 MMA, 11-7) said he broke his hand in the first round, which “changed everything.” Miocic’s superior stamina, length and athleticism then took center stage. The Cleveland-area native grabbed control of the bout, going plus-19 on significant strikes in the round.

“Even though he was faster than me, I couldn’t fight well because of the pain I felt in my right hand,” Gonzaga said.

Miocic, the UFC’s No. 8 heavyweight, was confident entering his matchup with Gonzaga. The 6-foot-4, 240-pounder was coming off one of the more dominant performances of his career, a unanimous decision over Roy Nelson on June 15. In that bout, his plus-83 strike differential was the third-largest in a UFC heavyweight fight.

Gonzaga had won five of his previous six bouts, including four of five in the UFC.


USA Today Results

Benson Henderson def. Josh Thomson via split decision (47-48, 48-47, 49-46)

Stipe Miocic def. Gabriel Gonzaga via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)

Donald Cerrone def. Adriano Martins via knockout (head kick) – Round 1, 4:40

Jeremy Stephens def. Darren Elkins via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)

Alex Caceres def. Sergio Pettis via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 3, 4:39

Eddie Wineland def. Yves Jabouin via TKO (punches) – Round 2, 4:16

Chico Camus def. Yaotzin Meza via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)

Hugo Viana def. Ramiro Hernandez via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Daron Cruickshank def. Mike Rio via TKO (kick, punches) – Round 2, 4:56

George Sullivan def. Mike Rhodes via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Nikita Krylov def. Walt Harris via TKO (head kick, punches) – Round 1, 0:25

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