For the first time since 2019, Benson Henderson has won back-to-back fights. Henderson outplayed and surpassed Peter Qualley in the main event of Bellator 285 on Friday night. Henderson made a clear unanimous decision after five rounds at lightweight, disappointing fans from Qualley’s hometown of Dublin.
Qualley opened the fight looking to put significant pressure on his legs. Despite Qualley’s aggression, Henderson dodged most of the incoming fire and took over the fight with heavy kicks and cage control established with a body lock. Qualley was left with a small cut on the right side of his head as Henderson worked him along the side of the cage.
The kicks that had been so effective for Henderson in the first round backfired early in the second frame when he hit Qualley hard in the groin. After Qualley’s recovery period, the referee deducted a point from Henderson, telling Henderson that Qualley is now “not the fighter he was” prior to the foul.
Henderson maintained control by dictating the space and location of the fight, repeatedly closing the distance to initiate clinches and force Quili to fight back to the cage or on one knee while Henderson dropped his knees to his hamstring.
Henderson nearly closed the show in the 4th round by making Quiley cage again before landing a hard right elbow under Quiley’s eye that sent the Irishman crashing to the canvas. While Quali was able to weather the flurry, it was another round in the pot for Henderson after another five minutes of dominance.
By the time the fight came to an end, Qualley had found no answer to a choke attack from Henderson, who ended the fight with another moment of flair, landing a kick while lying on the canvas that hit Quiley’s side accurately. chapter.
At the conclusion of the fight, all three judges had identical scorecards 49–45, with Henderson’s only downside being a point deduction in the second round.
Speaking after the fight, Henderson made it clear he still has one more title shot to go when he named the winner of the upcoming lightweight title fight between champion Patricka Pitbull and top contender Usman Nurmagomedov at Bellator 288 on November 18.
“Hey Pitbull, with all due respect, with all due respect,” Henderson said. “Let’s make a football stadium in Brazil if you win. Hey Usman, let’s make a football stadium in Russia if you win.”
In the co-main event, Yoel Romero won his second fight in a row by knocking out Melvin Manhoef in the third round. The fight was slow, with Manhoef achieving little offensively before Romero managed to land a late takedown and unload him with punches and elbows that put Manhoef to sleep. As he stated before the fight, Manhoef retired from the sport after the fight, symbolically leaving his gloves in the middle of the cage.
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