Michael Chandler Outlasts Benson Henderson, Retains Title at Bellator 165
Lightweight champion Michael Chandler rebuffed Benson Henderson’s second attempt at a Bellator belt on Saturday at the SAP Center in San Jose, Calif.
In the Bellator 165 headliner, Chandler nearly made it a quick fight, rocking Henderson with several right hands and landing a suplex that would have left most men unconscious. He continued attacking with various submission attempts and staggering uppercuts, but Henderson displayed an otherworldly heart, and chin, to survive the round.
There were some good exchanges in the second round, but it was close. Chandler appeared to edge it out, particularly late in the round when he was most effective.
Rounds three and four were close with Henderson trying to get things going more to his favor, but having to battle Chandler’s wrestling, which he was using to control position. Henderson, however, kept fighting, not allowing Chandler to simply out-wrestle him. Both rounds were close.
Chandler remained on his knees for several moments between rounds four and five, his gas tank visibly on the lower end of the scale.
He dug deep in the final round, again relying upon his wrestling. This time, Henderson did a much better job working into better positions on the canvas, doing a lot of damage with his punches and elbows, and consistently attacking.
At the end of the day, the judges fell to Chandler’s favor, issuing a split decision that kept the belt around his waist.
“I think it came down to that first round. Benson’s a heck of a competitor,” Chandler said after the fight, exhausted and somewhat disappointed in his performance.
“This isn’t all about brains, you gotta fight with your balls out here. That’s what I had to do. I lived to be a champion again tomorrow. Not happy with my performance, but you will see the best Michael Chandler next fight.”
He then took aim at hometown fighter Josh Thomson.
“San Jose, if your boy Josh Thomson steps back into this cage and does not stand across the cage from me, he is an absolute coward.”
Often drawing comparisons to Anderson Silva, unfortunately for fans on Saturday night, Michael “Venom” Page was channeling the Anderson Silva that danced around Demian Maia, not the Anderson Silva that knocked out Vitor Belfort.
Page danced, feinted, and taunted his way through three rounds with Fernando Gonzalez, offering little offense. Though it was frustrating for fans and Gonzalez alike, Page made for a hard target to hit, giving his opponent little opportunity to score.
TRENDING > Fedor Signs Multi-Fight Deal with Bellator
Although he didn’t provide the fireworks that we've have come to expect, Page connected more frequently than Gonzalez, walking away with a split-decision victory.
Adam Piccolotti got the better of Bellator veteran Brandon Girtz in a battle that went all three rounds.
As Girtz swung for the fences for the majority of the fight with little success, Piccolotti used a varied attack that bewildered Girtz, outscoring him heavily throughout the first two rounds.
Girtz turned the tables in the final round, getting Piccolotti to the canvas and dropping bombs, but it was too little, too late. The judges awarded Piccolotti a unanimous decision.
Keri Melendez was more than impressive in her mixed martial arts debut, dropping Sheila Padilla with one punch, putting a halt to the fight in 47 seconds.
Linton Vassell swarmed Francis Carmont in the main card opener, consistently getting the fight to the canvas and taking the French fighter’s back. Vassell attacked every time, softening Carmont with strikes. He couldn’t find a finish, but Vassell took a unanimous decision from the judges.
Aaron Hamilton gave Kevin Ferguson Jr. (aka Baby Slice) a rude welcome to the professional ranks, submitting him with a guillotine choke three minutes into the second round of their preliminary bout.
Bellator 165: Chandler vs. Henderson Results
Michael Chandler def. Benson Henderson by split decision (48-46, 46-48, 48-47), R5
Michael Page vs. Fernando Gonzalez split decision (29-28, 27-30, 29-28), R3
Adam Piccolotti def. Brandon Girtz by unanimous decision, R3
Keri Melendez def. Sheila Padilla by knockout at 0:47, R1
Linton Vassell def. Francis Carmont by unanimous decision, R3
Aaron Hamilton def. Kevin Ferguson Jr. by submission (guillotine choke) at 3:00, R2