Rustam Khabilov fought former lightweight champion Benson Henderson closely for three rounds Saturday night in Albuquerque before tapping out to a rear naked choke in the fourth stanza. Khabilov took Henderson down repeatedly in the first few rounds of the UFC Fight Night main event but Henderson managed to score well in the second and third rounds with strikes on the feet and position on the ground.
In the fourth, Henderson backed Khabilov against the cage, landed a lead uppercut, followed by a left hand that dropped the Russian to the floor. "Smooth" followed his opponent to the ground, sunk in the rear naked choke and forced the submission.
In the evening's co-main event, Diego Sanchez won a controversial split decision in his home town over Ross Pearson. Scores from the judges were all over the place after three rounds, with one judge giving the fight to Pearson, three rounds to none, another giving the same score to Sanchez and the third scoring it two rounds to one for Sanchez.
Before the fight, Sanchez said this fight was the most important of his career and, true to form, he fought hard for three rounds. The Ultimate Fighter season 1 winner pushed the pace in the final seconds of each round but Ross appeared to get the better of most exchanges throughout the fight.
In the second round, the British slugger cut and dropped Sanchez with strikes. "The Nightmare" hung tough but never seemed to be able to mount as effective offense as Pearson. Nonetheless, scores were 30-27 and 29-28 for Sanchez, with one judge scoring the fight 29-28 for Pearson.
How did you score the fight? Let us know in the comments section.