Benson Henderson looked sharp in his 170-pound welterweight debut vs Brandon Thatch at UFC Fight Night 60 Saturday.
He took on the much larger and red-hot Brandon Thatch. Henderson was looking to rebound from back to back losses to Rafaal dos Anjos and Donald Cerrone. Meanwhile his opponent Thatch, was riding a 11-fight win streak in front of his hometown crowd.
Henderson landed several sharp leg kicks to the body of Thatch in the opening round. Thatch kept pushing forward and landed several hard punches of his own. It was a good first round that saw Henderson fall into the cage at one point after absorbing a hefty blow from Thatch late in the round. The first round could have went either way but I would have scored 10-9 to Thatch.
Brandon Thatch dominated the second round with a series of jabs and landed a few nice crosses. He was controlling the round and using his reach very well. He landed a few takedowns and a nice knockdown as well, the second round clearly belonged to Thatch.
Henderson’s corner advised him to take Thatch to the ground between the second and third rounds and the former champed listed and did exactly what they said.
Halfway through the round, Henderson secured a takedown and took Thatch’s back. He landed several heel strikes to Thatch’s midsection and the momentum of the fight changed in favor of Hederson heading into the fourth round. It was clear that this was Thatch’s first time heading into the fourth round of a fight, and the high altitude didn’t do him any favors as Henderson continued to push the action against the fatigued Thatch.
The savvy veteran Henderson took Thatch down with ease and landed a beautiful rear naked choke with a little over one minute left in the round to win the fight by submission. It was an impressive debut at welterweight for Henderson, and also Thatch did well for himself in his first UFC main event. Both fighters were gracious after the fight with their comments. “Sometimes you have to go out there, you have to give it your all and test yourself. I didn’t know I could win this fight. A lot of times you have to do something you don’t know,” said Henderson following the submission win.
“I knew he was going to come out like a monster in the first round. He did. I was trying to use my movement, I don’t know, run away. But the dude is a big dude, so I didn’t want to stay in there in the first five minutes. I wanted to more elusive and then in the second, third, fourth or fifth round pick it up on him”, said Henderson.
“He’s just a tough dude. He’s got the heart of a champion. I thought he was hurt in the first and second round to the body. I think I threw power a little bit more than I should have. I should have stuck with speed. But that’s just trial and error. I think I need more experience. He’s a vet, a class act,” said Thatch after his first loss in eight years.
Until next time fight fans. No Blood : No Foul!