Benson Henderson defeated Rustam Khabilov, submitting the Russian fighter in the second round at UFC Fight Night 42 on Saturday in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
After landing a lead uppercut, Henderson secured a rear-naked choke and earned the finish at 1:16 of the fourth frame.
“It's the same as all my other victories inside the UFC Octagon,” Henderson said. “I bust my butt.”
Khabilov secured takedowns in the opening round, but Henderson was able to return to his feet quickly. When in a standing exchange, Henderson was able to pressure his opponent with various combinations, but was also met with counterpunches for a competitive first five minutes.
Khabilov secured a takedown in the second round, but Henderson, staying with the approach of staying standing, kicked him away and the two returned to the feet. Henderson later secured a body lock, and brought Khabilov to the ground where the former champ worked for a rear-naked choke before his opponent escaped.
Henderson fended off a front choke for a large part of the third round, eventually escaping and later attempting a guillotine. Towards the end of the round, Khabilov was in top position and Henderson executed a sit-out escape to reverse position and put himself at an advantage.
In the fourth round, Henderson landed the lead uppercut that staggered Khabilov and began the ending moments of the fight. Henderson pursued to the ground and sunk in the rear-naked choke for the finish.
Following the win, Henderson was asked who he would like to fight next. The former champ offered to defend the lightweight title since the current champ, Anthony Pettis, is injured.
“I don't need talking out there, I talk in here,” he said. “The belt's not being defended right now. Anybody that wants to fight for the belt, come see me.”
With the win, Henderson improved his record to 21-3 is another step closer to returning to title contention.
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