Benson Henderson went the distance with Nate Diaz, successfully defending his title, and earning the unanimous decision at UFC on FOX 5 in Seattle’s Key Arena on Saturday night.
Henderson kept Diaz’s boxing a non-factor by constantly pressuring the challenger with clinches, and scoring several takedowns. Judges saw it in the defending champion’s favor with scores of 50-43, 50-45 and 50-45.
“It’s just a matter of being well-prepared,” Henderson said in his post-fight interview following the win.
The champ landed several kicks to Diaz’s legs in the first round, and put the challenger on his back on more than one occasion. While there, “Bendo” stayed in top position, landing hammer fists. As time expired, Henderson walked to his corner winning the round.
Bendo continued landing leg kicks in the second round, as Diaz looked to land punches. Henderson even began to jab Diaz’s leg, all in an effort to land a big punch that put the challenger on his back. After the fight returned to the feet, Henderson initiated a clinch and landed several short shots. Diaz executed a hip toss, but was unable to keep his opponent on the ground. The second round ended on the feet with Henderson ahead on the scorecard.
The fight continued in Henderson’s favor in the third frame. The champion secured yet another takedown, but Diaz did well on the ground and scrambled to nearly getting a kneebar at one point and an ankle lock at another. After returning to the feet, a right hand by Henderson landed cleanly, sending Diaz falling back and on the ground. The round ended with Henderson in top position.
Henderson scored his fifth takedown in the first minute of the fourth round, and secured his sixth shortly after. The champ stayed in an advantageous position on the ground, never allowing Diaz to mount an offense through the final minute of the time frame. The round ended just after Henderson allowed Diaz to stand back on his feet.
The final round began with Diaz owning a swollen right eye, and Henderson raising his hands to the cheers of the crowd. Henderson stifled his opponent on the feet, slamming him back to the ground 90 seconds into round. Diaz attempted a kimura, but wasn’t able to hold onto it and the fight returned to the feet. After a scramble, Henderson landed a strong right hand that put the finishing touches on the unanimous decision.
With the win, Henderson retains his lightweight title and remains undefeated in the UFC with an 18-2 overall record. In defeat, Diaz drops to 16-8.
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