Making a statement in New Mexico (UFC Fight Night 42 Review)

MMA: UFC Fight Night 42-Henderson vs. KhabilovBenson Henderson was on top of the UFC world in 2012 when he beat Frankie Edgar to win the lightweight title. He would go on to defend the belt three more times and seemed like a fighter that could clean out a division. Many would consider him the next great champion in the likes of Georges St. Pierre and Anderson Silva, who both fought at such a high level that the UFC struggled to find true competitors for them for years. Henderson was considered the next great champion and everyone wondered how and when would his reign end at the top of what is the toughest division in the UFC. With an amazing amount of talent in the division it seemed that there were no challengers that could beat Henderson as he began a goal to clean out the great amount of talent that was in the division. That would change when he would take on Anthony Pettis in a rematch of their WEC title fight, a fight that Pettis would win becoming only the second fighter to ever beat Henderson. The rematch would prove to be a disappointing turnout for Henderson as he would lose the belt to Pettis and would end is reign as the champion shorter than when most expected it. Henderson remained one of the top fighters and although he was looking for a rematch the lineup of fighters, injuries to Pettis, and a new responsibility to coach The Ultimate Fighter 20 opposite Gilbert Melendez would keep that from happening. Instead Henderson was left to continue his time of eliminating the top contenders in the division although this time a belt was not on the line. He would take on one-time WEC champion Josh Thomson in a tight battle that would end with a split decision win for the former champion. Henderson may have lost the title but he is on a mission to get it back and is looking to take on all challengers until he can get that one win that will give him a title shot. Clearly Gilbert Melendez has the next shot after TUF 20 but there is a lot of time and a lot of room to move before that fight for many in the division. The lightweight division is clearly the most talent loaded division in the UFC and there are a lot of fighters looking for their chance to meet Pettis or Melendez for the belt when those two fight for the title. Henderson is sitting right on the edge of a rematch as the #2 fighter in the division, behind Melendez, and is almost acting a champion right now. He is looking to take on all challengers to keep his spot that will likely become the #1 contender spot after the next title fight. In that sense Henderson is defending his spot in the rankings and he would travel to New Mexico for his next defence against a rising star in Rustam Khabilov. Khabilov was simply looking to get the win near his home camp at Jackson’s MMA and move further up the rankings as he was looking to enter the title conversation. The Dagestani native would look to put a big name and former champion like Henderson on his win list to move up and would try to do it in impressive fashion in the main event. The matchup would see two wrestlers face off although with similar styles in that they both can fight on the feet but are great at taking the fight to the ground. The fight would see Khabilov get out to a great start as he would start winning the stand-up battle in the first two rounds. Khabilov would also take the fight to the ground in what looked like a one-sided battle in the first two rounds. Henderson would begin to climb back into the fight though as he would get stronger as the fight moved on. In the fourth round Henderson would end the fight taking the fight to the ground himself and locking in a Rear-Naked Choke. The choke would end the fight and give Henderson a very important win as he is on the cusp of another title shot. Khabilov would take the loss but will be back looking to take another run at the title as he will try to take a lesson from the loss. Henderson now becomes the gatekeeper to the title as the lightweight division waits for Pettis and Melendez to fight for the title as Henderson will be next in line for the title.

As the UFC travel to New Mexico for the first time ever they would feature a number of fighters from the biggest fight gym in the sport. Jackson’s MMA has produced some of the best fighters in the UFC today, including Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones. They have become one of the gyms to go to if you want to be a fighter as they continue to produce UFC talent and wins. The state has become a somewhat mecca of the sport and so when the UFC decided to go to the state for the first time they would feature some of the best fighters from the camp. Despite where any of these fighters came from originally this was a home fight for all of them as they would come in used to the high altitude and the conditions while also having the entire crowd behind them. Even the main event would feature a Jackson fighter as Khabilov looked to end the night on a high note for the camp. Starting the Jackson fighters off though as the opening fight of the main card as Jackson product Erik Perez would take on Bryan Caraway. The fight would not go the way that Jackson wanted it as Perez would clearly have the fans behind him but he could not take Caraway in the fight. Caraway would take Perez’s back in the second round and finish the fight early with a rear-naked choke that would start the night on the wrong foot for Jackson’s MMA. Looking to get the gym on the right path would be John Dodson, also an Albuquerque native, who would take on John Moraga in a fight that would determine the next challenger in the Flyweight division. Dodson would come out on top for Jackson’s as he would force a doctor’s stoppage in the fight with a big knee in the second round. Looking to continue that theme would be the overall fan favourite, New Mexico native, and Jackson’s MMA product in Diego Sanchez. The fight would be a close one and would to be a very exciting fight until the decision was made. Sanchez would take the win in a controversial split decision. Overall the Jackson’s team would not have a great night in the first time the UFC travelled to their hometown with a 2-2 record including a main event loss.


Fight Bonuses

Performance of the Night
Benson Henderson announced that he was back when he beat Khabilov with a submission and for that big fight and the finish Henderson would earn an extra bonus as one of the Performances of the Night

Performance of the Night
The main card would once again provide a performance of the night as Piotr Hallman would earn an extra $50,000 for his win over Yves Edwards with a rear naked choke win in the second round of the fight

Fight of the Night
It was one of the closest fights on the card but in the end Scott Jorgensen would come out on top in the undercard fight beating Danny Martinez with a unanimous decision that would earn both fighters the fight of the night


Fight Results

Main Event:
“Smooth” Benson Henderson def. Rustam Khabilov
(Submission Rear-Naked Choke, Rd. 4)

Main Card:
Diego “Nightmare” Sanchez def. Ross “The Real Deal” Pearson
(Split Decision)

John “The Magician” Dodson def. John Moraga
(TKO; Doctor’s Stoppage, Rd. 2)

Rafael dos Anjos def. Jason “The Kansas City Bandit” High
(TKO; Rd. 3)

Piotr “Płetwal” Hallman def. “Thugjistu Master” Yves Edwards
(Submission; Rear-Naked Choke, Rd. 2)

Bryan “Kid Lightning” Caraway def. Erik “Goyito” Perez
(Submission; Rear Naked Choke, Rd. 2)

Sergio “The Phenom” Pettis def. Yaotzin Meza
(Unanimous Decision)

Lance Benoist def. “Vicious” Bobby Voelker
(Unanimous Decision)

Scott “Young Guns” Jorgensen def. Danny “The Gremlin” Martinez
(Unanimous Decision)

Jon “Super Saiyan” Tuck def. Jake “The Librarian” Lindsey
(TKO; Verbal Tapout, Rd. 3)

Patrick “Durkin” Cummins def. Roger Narvaez
(TKO; Rd. 2)


Upcoming Events

UFC 174: Johnson vs. Bagautinov (Saturday June 14th; 10:00 pm ET)
Vancouver, British Columbia (Rogers Arena)
Main Event: Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson vs. Ali “Puncher” Bagautinov [Featherweight Title]
Notable: Rory “Ares” MacDonald vs. Tyron “The Chosen One” Woodley
Notable: Ryan “Darth” Bader vs. Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante

UFC Fight Night 43: Te Huna vs. Marquardt (Saturday June 28th; 4:00 am ET)
Auckland, New Zealand (Vector Arena)
Main Event: James Te Huna vs. Nate “The Great” Marquardt
Notable: Hatsu Hioki vs. Charles “Do Bronx” Oliveira
Notable: Robert “The Reaper” Whittaker vs. Mike “Biggie” Rhodes

UFC Fight Night 44: Swanson vs. Stephens (Saturday June 28th; 10:00 pm ET)
San Antonio, Texas (AT&T Center)
Main Event: Cub Swanson vs. Jeremy “Lil’ Heathen” Stephens
Notable: Kelvin Gastelum vs. Nico Musoke
Notable: Cezar “Mutante” Ferreira vs. Andrew “Highlight” Craig

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