August 14, 2011
Jim Miller needed a resounding victory to finally get his shot at the UFC lightweight title. Ben Henderson wasn't interested in being a stepping stone.
The former WEC 155-pound champ wanted back into the mix too, so he battered and bloodied Miller on his way to a unanimous decision victory, 30-27, 29-28 and 30-26 on the scorecards, at UFC on Versus 5 in Milwaukee, Wis.
Miller, who entered the fight riding a seven-fight win streak, was a minus-160 favorite. Henderson (14-2, 2-0 UFC) was fighting for respect. He'll get a lot more than just respect with this performance. He dominated a guy who's only previous losses came against Gray Maynard and Frank Edgar, the No. 1 and 2 lightweights in world.
The lightweight division is easily the deepest in mixed martial arts and new contenders keep emerging because no one can hold on to the No. 1 contender spot.
While UFC champ Edgar and Maynard have been sidelined with injuries since their January fight at UFC 125, there's been numerous chances for folks to step up and grab the next title shot. Almost everyone has failed in their big spot. George Sotiropoulos and Anthony Pettis both fell short earlier this year and Miller (20-3, 9-2 UFC) was the latest.
Miller's gameplan backfired against Henderson. The
WEC 155-pound champ has a reputation for allowing himself to get into bad submission predicaments, but "Smooth" has always been able to escape from those dangerous situations. Miller seemed to assume that Henderson wouldn't do so against him, so he tried submission after submission in the opening eight minutes of the fight. But in doing so, he left himself open to get beat on. With both hands working for subs, there's nothing to protect you from knees, elbows and punches. Henderson took advantage and blasted away.
By the end of the second round, Miller was bleeding like a stuck pig. In the final minute of the fight, with blood stinging his eyes and wincing in pain, Miller could barely open his eyes.
According to FightMetric, over the final two rounds Henderson outlanded Miller 91-16 . Henderson was also 7-for-7 on his takedown attempts. The numbers said Miller officially attempted six submissions, it looked more like 10.
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