Smooth move: Henderson wins via split decision

Read on for UFC Fight Night main event results...
Former UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson picked up his second win as a welterweight Saturday at the Olympic Gymnastics Arena in Seoul, South Korea, gutting out a five-round split decision over late replacement Jorge Masvidal in their UFC Fight Night main event.

Scores were 49-46, 48-47 and 47-48 for the 32-year-old Henderson, who ups his record to 23-5. Miami’s Masvidal, who moved up from the co-main event slot to fight a five-rounder against Henderson in place of his American Top Team squad mate Thiago Alves, falls to 29-10.

Masvidal pressured Henderson to start the bout, but it was the former lightweight champion doing the bulk of the scoring behind sharp counters from his fists and feet. As the bout hit the three-minute mark, Henderson landed a punch that produced a flash knockdown, but Masvidal jumped back to his feet, unhurt, and he began teeing off with hard kicks to the body and head. Henderson tried to finish the round with a takedown, but Masvidal fought it off, capping off an interesting first five minutes.

Showing off his veteran experience, Masvidal mixed his attacks up nicely in Round 2 while also keeping Henderson from getting a takedown. In the final 30 seconds, Masvidal pulled guard in order to work a guillotine choke, but Henderson easily slipped free, with some subsequent knees against the fence opening a cut over the left eye of “Gamebred.”

Henderson opened Round 3 with a front kick to the face, prompting a smile from Masvidal. The scowling Henderson wasn’t deterred, with his volume of strikes keeping him a step ahead. The middle portion of the round saw the two welterweights grapple against the fence, but Henderson was unable to put his foe on the mat. His striking was his bread and butter as the two headed into the championship rounds.

The Arizonan’s swarming clinch work dominated the first three minutes of Round 4, and as the two broke, “Smooth” got a takedown, but only for a second, as Masvidal rose instantly. The two locked up again, Masvidal able to secure a takedown, but it didn’t take long for the fighters to rise once more.

Fighting in the fifth round for the first time since his bout against Gilbert Melendez in 2011, Masvidal kept moving forward as the final frame commenced, landing a couple knees as Henderson shot in. As the two locked up once more, Masvidal stayed busy with this strikes and nearly sunk in a guillotine, prompting Henderson to go to the mat to get free. As the two rose, it was Masvidal in control against the fence, Henderson reversing as the last two minutes arrived. Some back-and-forth scrambles ensued, Henderson eventually putting Masvidal on the canvas. Masvidal kept getting up, but Henderson’s pressure was relentless, leaving that as the fight’s lasting impression.
Saturday, March 17
London, United Kingdom


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