Former lightweight champion Ben Henderson ended Josh Thomson’s hope of a title shot tonight by edging him out on the scorecards in the main event of UFC On FOX 10 in Chicago.
Henderson flicking out the jab to begin. Then he throws up a head kick that’s blocked. Right hook lands for Henderson and then Thomson makes his move, getting hold of him and taking him for a ride to the mat.
Then Thomson immediately takes his back and locks in a body triangle to keep him there. Henderson turns to his front with Thomson still attached. He turns to his back again with Thomson now working to get a rear-naked choke attempt.
Henderson defending so far and Thomson softens up his midsection with punches. Henderson moves to his front again and then stands up with Thomson still clinging to him.
Thomson stays there for a while longer then decides to let go and Henderson immediately clinches him up against the cage.
They grapple for position and then it’s Henderson’s turn to take Thomson down. Thomson is quicker to get back to his feet, but Henderson has him caught up in a standing arm triangle. He’s got it locked in and opts to drop down to the mat with it, but Thomson is able to escape and get back to his feet.
Thomson attempts one last takedown as the round comes to a close.
Henderson throws a punch to the body to begin the second round. He then rushes in with another punch and Thomson backs away.
Henderson tries a takedown, but it doesn’t bear fruit. He gets the cliinch up against the cage. Thomson lands a couple of knees to the midsection. Then another goes upstairs to the chin.
Henderson with a couple of kicks to the legs from the clinich and another knee from Thomson before they are separated.
Body kick from Henderson who takes the middle of the Octagon. He then wades in with strikes, but Thomson spins around to his back and then drags him down to the mat again and is on his back again as he was in the first round.
He’s got the body triangle again and Henderson stands up. As with last round Thomson opts to let the position go and after he’s on another takedown attempt the two men separate.
Henderson flicks out the jab then rushes in with a shot to the body before clinching again against the cage. Not for long though as Thomson shoves him away and they trade low leg kicks.
Henderson attempts to fire off a combination of strikes, but Thomson responds in kind and backs him up.
Henderson tries a body kick, but Thomson catches it and tries to use that to disrupt his balance and get him to the mat. Henderson does a good job of maintaining his balance and stays upright to end the round.
In-between rounds Thomson says his right thumb is broken.
Henderson starts off with a good superman punch that lands, then moves straight into a takedown and gets Thomson to the mat.
Thomson does very well to get back up quickly, but then Henderson gets his back and puts him back down. Thomson again gets back up and attempts to clinch up against the cage, but they break apart.
Henderson manages to work them back into the clinch over on the other side of the cage, but not a lot comes of it.
Back in the middle of the Octagon Henderson throws an elbow. Henderson attempts a kick and Thomson tries to catch it, but can’t hold him.
Thomson tries a takedown, but Henderson stuffs it and goes right back into the clinch. Thomson throws an elbow, but Henderson responds with a better one as they break apart.
Henderson lands to the body then just gets out of the way in time as Thomson tries to respond with a punch of his own.
Thomson now working hard for a takedown, but Henderson does really well to defend it and stay on his feet. Now it’s Thomson clinching against the cage and almost gets a takedown, but Henderson barely touches the mat before getting back up and now he’s got a hold of his opponents leg and uses it to take him down.
As has been the case throughout the fight so far Thomson is up quickly and the round ends with both men looking to get back into the striking battle.
Hard kicks from Henderson to start the round, but then Thomson manages to score a takedown. He’s in Henderson’s half guard and is looking to pass, but the former champ gets him back to full guard.
Henderson throws a leg up to secure mission control and starts to land a few elbows from his back. Thomson slips out of the position and they scramble with Henderson now on his knees. Thomson still over him though and as they roll he maintains on top.
However, Henderson is then able to get upright and he secures a takedown. Thomson back up and Henderson’s still attached to his back against the cage landing a few knees to the back of his thighs before they break apart.
Henderson lands a clipping punch and Thomson responds with one of his own with more power. Into the final minute and Thomson gets a nice takedown. He gets Henderson’s back and then as we’ve seen before Henderson stands up with him still attached.
This time Thomson stays on his back and even motions to the crowd who cheer in response. Then he pulls Henderson back to the mat trying for a choke as the bell sounds.
Onto the final round we go then. Henderson taking the center of the Octagon and misses with a hook. He then works in a nice right hook to the body. Henderson rushes forward and lands a knee to the mid-section.
Henderson with a kick and Thomson attempts to check it. Thomson lands a low kick of his own. Thomson flicks out a front kick and another low one to the lead leg.
Nice right hand lands for Thomson and Henderson scores with a one-two of his own. Another low one from Thomson then a combination that finishes with a trip kick that knocks Henderson off-balance to the mat for a brief moment.
Big low kick for Henderson. Thomson fakes a takedown, then tries to get the body lock before opting to unleash a flurry of strikes instead and Henderson has to back away.
Henderson tries a kick and Thomson catches it. Henderson is trying his balancing act, but this time Thomson is able to shove him to the mat and gets on top. Henderson immediately back up though and after a brief power struggle it’s he clinches his opponent against the cage.
They jockey for position against the cage in the final minute before breaking apart with 20 seconds left. Henderson lands nicely to the body with a hook and that’s the final action of the fight.
The judges don’t all see this one the same way and so it’s a split decision verdict with Ben Henderson emerging the victor (48-47, 47-48, 49-46).
So, Henderson gets back to winning ways while Thomson misses out on a title shot, meaning that Gilbert Melendez is now in pole position to get the next shot at Anthony Pettis.