UFC on Fox 7: Benson Henderson retains title
UFC on Fox 7 in San Jose, California, had a plethora of KOs, eight in total, tying the record for a UFC event.
Benson 'Smooth' Henderson successfully defended his belt against a game and worthy Gilbert 'El Nino' Melendez. Former Strikeforce champion Melendez gave Henderson fits in the first round, but the champ regained his composure in the second to outscore Melendez easily despite the judges awarding a split decision.
It wasn’t the only idiotic decision made by the judges on this night---Francis Carmont was awarded a unanimous decision over Lorenz Larkin after displaying nothing---so it was a good thing most fights ended in KO.
Melendez moved forward relentlessly and scored often with his hands, but was brutalized with kicks and Bendo’s lead elbows, which regularly connected. Despite outscoring Melendez by far, the fight was closer than that: unlike Bendo’s other fights in the UFC, Melendez looked capable of taking it to him and taking him out.
After his victory, Henderson proposed to his girlfriend, now fiancé, and hugged his mother, cementing him as a fan fave.
Frank Mir welcomed the Strikeforce grand prix champion to the Octagon but failed to make him pay. Daniel Cormier’s fast hands kept Mir on alert, but chose to clinch and grind Mir against the fence, working him with dirty boxing.
Mir was either unwilling or unable to get off the fence, even when it was obvious it was a dangerous spot for him to be. Toward the end of the fight, Mir began to land some powerful kicks that took their toll. But then, perhaps because he was tired, he would initiate clinches. It was too little, too late.
Even with the win over an upper echelon UFC heavyweight, Cormier---who trains with current champion Cain Velasquez--- failed to impress. While his game plan and physical gifts made Mir look like he was fighting under water, he didn’t wow like so many fans thought. Mir certainly was never in any trouble.
Josh Thomson, fighting in the UFC for the first time since 2004, TKOed Stockton tough guy Nate Diaz at 3:44 of round two. Thomson has had three fights with Melendez, winning and losing one by decision, losing the last via split decision.
Thomson’s tactic was to use movement and mostly kicks, so as not to be overwhelmed with Diaz’s stellar boxing and gift of gab. Against the fence Thomson landed elbow after elbow, stunning and cutting Diaz.
In the second round, Thomson caught Diaz on the head with a high kick. Diaz was out before he hit the mat. The ref called a stop to the match just as Diaz’s corner threw in the towel.
This is Diaz’s first loss by T/KO, which says something about Thomson because Diaz has recent wins over Dan Miller, Donald Cerrone and Takanori Gomi, and in losses was unable to be stopped by Benson Henderson or Rory MacDonald.
There can be no excuses from Diaz though.
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