Benson Henderson and Peter Qualley could be shortlisted for lightweight title after win at Bellator 285. Henderson enters enemy territory against the Irishman at Bellator 285 inside Dublin’s 3Arena on Friday.
Henderson’s experience (29-11) has been mixed under the Bellator MMA banner. The former UFC lightweight champion is 6-6 since jumping into the promotion thanks to victories over Brandon Thatch and Jorge Masvidal. A decisive win over Islam Mammadov (21-2-1) in January put Gladky on the right track and landed him third in the division. Usman Nurmagomedov is the only clear contender ahead of Henderson, and a victory over Qualley, who has a doctor-stop win over champion Patricky Pitbull, puts him well into what is likely the last run of his career.
“These are the last four fights of my career,” Henderson said at the Bellator 285 press day. “Give everything I have, the best I have. After that I finished and now it’s my wife’s turn. Give her a chance to become a world champion. I will pick up the kids from school. , take them to chess practice, cook food, I’ll do it all. It puts a lot more pressure: I have four left for the rest of my life. I think it adds more pressure, but I always put more pressure on myself to get the most out of myself.”
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A win by any means necessary if Quelly (13-6-1) wants to stay at lightweight. A doctor’s stoppage in the second round due to Patricky got him up on the main event stage. A second-round technical knockout loss in a rematch for the lightweight title extinguished all the fanned flames. Some were under the impression that Qualley won the first fight on a technicality and Patricki was the better fighter in the rematch. Defeating an aging and inconsistent Henderson is paramount if Qualley is to fight this criticism.
“I was sad for a week, just moping around the house,” Qualley told CBS Sports of Patrick’s second fight. “I was so sad because – a loss is a loss, I lost many times in my life, like everyone else – why I was so sad because of this, because I defeated him. All the odds were in my favor before this next one. I defeated him. Now there were five rounds instead of three, which suited me. Everything that has changed has been in my favor. I felt like I was really ready to beat him. Even the fight itself was going great, I thought, until… I guess I got overconfident. I thought he was disappearing before he was and I dove with my right hand and he made me pay for it and that was it.
“I think if dominoes fall in my path, it will be an immediate rematch. Or, at worst, I have one more fight, and then everything is obvious. I think if I’m lucky and everything goes my way, I might fight. Patricks right after that.”
Another featured fight on Friday night could be its own main event. The light heavyweight sluggers are ready to fight when Yoel Romero takes on Melvin Manhoef. Romero bounced back from his promotional debut defeat against Phil Davis and scored a landslide TKO victory over Alex Polizzi in May. The 45-year-old boxer has 14-6 victories in professional fights, 12 of which he won by knockout. Manhoef, 46, is a similarly devastating puncher. He has an astonishing 29 knockouts in his 31 wins, the highest percentage of any professional fighter with at least 15 fights. He countsafter Friday’s crash.
Here is the Bellator 285 battle card with the latest odds from Caesar’s bookmaker.
Bellator 285 map odds
|Benson Henderson -200||Peter Qualley +170||Light|
|Yoel Romero -650||Melvin Manhoef +475||light heavyweight|
|Mads Burnell -500||Pedro Carvalho +380||A light weight|
|Dayana Silva -140||Leah McCourt +120||Women’s Featherweight|
|Kiaran Clark -700||George Sasu +500||A light weight|
Viewing information Bellator 285
Date: September 23 | Start time: 4:00 pm ET
Location: 3 Arena — Dublin, Ireland
TV channel: Show time
Benson Henderson vs Peter Quiley: The game has caught up with Henderson, but his style still makes fights challenging. Henderson fights from a distance with long strikes and avoids damage. His longevity in the sport is credited to his ability to avoid clean punches – he has only been stopped from punches twice in 40 professional fights. This point-based fighting style has its drawbacks. A third of Henderson’s fights in Bellator ended in a split decision, and only one of them benefited him. Queally blooms very late in the sport. It took him six years to find his knockout power, but he’s managed to find it several times since then. Despite the top 10 ranking next to his name, it’s still too early to feel just how high Qualley’s ceiling is. He’s only 2-2 in Bellator and lacks real determination in his first fight with Patricky Pitbull. Former UFC champion Rafael dos Anjos is the only person to have correctly knocked out Henderson. I don’t suspect Qualley has the consistency to stop Henderson, or the style to beat him by decision. Henderson via UD