x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

MMA: Henderson dominates Diaz to retain UFC lightweight title

Benson Henderson looked untroubled against Nate Diaz as he swept to a points victory in Seattle to successfully defend his Ultimate Fighting Championship lightweight belt.

UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson lands a kick to Nate Diaz.
UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson lands a kick to Nate Diaz.

Benson Henderson retained his Ultimate Fighting Championship lightweight title with a comfortable performance over Nate Diaz in Seattle.

The 29-year-old, who grew up just a few miles from Seattle where the bout was staged, made his second successful defence of the belt he won in February this year.

After going the distance over five rounds, the judges scored the bout 50-43 50-45 50-45 to Henderson to underline his position at the top of the lightweight rankings.

Diaz, regarded as one of the best punchers in the UFC, landed just 30 significant strikes during the bout, compared to more than 120 from Henderson.

Afterwards Henderson admitted he was not surprised by the scale of his victory over Diaz.

"Every fight is a dogfight," he said.

"The last couple of fights were maybe a bit closer, but when you only have two or three skirmishes a round, it is hard to finish."

Diaz revealed afterwards an early shot from Henderson had left him with impared vision and, despite fighting on, that had affected his game inside the cage.

"I didn't perform," he said.  "I wish I could have.  I got punched in the eye pretty early in the fight, things went blurry and never came back.

"He landed a good shot early, I think if I had tried any harder it could have got away from me."

And he hinted at a possible head to head fight with Strikeforce opposite number Gilbert Melendez once that organisation is wound down next year.

Elsewhere on the card highly rated Swede Alexander Gustafsson defeated Brazilian former Pride grand prix and UFC title holder Mauricio Rua by unanimous points decision, while young up-and-comer Rory MacDonald also went the distance with a dominant judges win over veteran fan favourite BJ Penn in two fights dubbed by commentators as a 'changing of the guard'

Matt Brown defeated Mike Swick half way through the second round after knocking him cold with two punches, while Yves Edwards handed Jeremy Stephens his first career knockout defeat with a solid elbow at the 1m 55 second mark in the first round.



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