It was an eventful, though odd, night in Albuquerque, NM as UFC Fight Night 42 went down with a fun card. Just one of the six main card bouts went the distance, and each fight – in some respect – had a story to tell.
The main event saw lightweight contender, and former WEC and UFC 155lbs champion, Benson Henderson make a huge statement with a victory over prospect Rustam Khabilov. He handed the Russian his first UFC loss after a three fight winning streak, with Henderson going 2-0 since losing his belt to Anthony Pettis in August 2013.
What was most impressive about the win was the fact that Henderson was able to get his first finish since 2010, after winning all eight of his UFC bouts via decision going into the fight. After a questionable judges call against Josh Thomson, ‘Smooth’ left no doubt about the nature of his win over Khabilov, putting himself back in the mix for a rematch against either Anthony Pettis or Gilbert Melendez, who meet later this year.
The co main event displayed some of the worst judging in the promotion’s history, as Diego Sanchez somehow got past Ross Pearson in a three round fight. With Pearson outclassing the New Mexico native, many felt that he would cruise to a unanimous decision victory, though two of the three judges disagreed.
Marcos Rosales was the only judge to score the fight correctly, 30-27 in Pearson’s favour, while Chris Tellez scored the fight 29-28 and Jeff Collins (with perhaps the worst scorecard of the year) gave it 30-27 to Sanchez, earning him the split decision win. Judging has always been a problem in MMA, and that fight displayed just why the judging system needs to be revised.
John Dodson made it 2-0 since losing to Demetrious Johnson, and will likely get the winner of Johnson-Bagautinov, who fight at UFC 174 next Saturday. His fight with John Moraga was stopped in-between the second and third rounds after Dodson ended the second with a barrage that cut Moraga’s nose badly. The doctor stopped the contest, taking Dodson’s UFC record to 5-1. With wins over Formiga, Elliott and Montague also, Dodson has reaffirmed his place at #1 in the division.
Rafael dos Anjos was back to winning ways as he saw off lightweight debutant Jason High, who was looking for his third UFC victory. The Brazilian recently lost to Khabib Nurmagomedov in April and got back into the Octagon at his first opportunity, earning his sixth win in seven. After a questionable stoppage, High was caught shoving referee Kevin Mulhall, and will likely receive a punishment from the UFC.
Yves Edwards suffered his fourth (albeit one of which was overturned to a NC) loss in a row against Piotr Hallmann in a fight where the American veteran never really got going. Hallmann secured a rear naked choke in the third round after a dominant second round by the German, and Edwards – already exhausted – tapped shortly after the choke was sunk in. Throughout the fight there were a number of stoppages due to eye pokes, marking a less-than memorable night for Edwards, who may be cut by the promotion after just two wins in his last seven outings.
Kicking off the main card was a bantamweight fight between Bryan Caraway and Erik Perez. Albeit impressive in his second round submission victory, Caraway certainly didn’t earn any fans with his conduct during the fight. Whilst in back mount and trying to sink in the choke, Caraway was caught (though not by officials) fishhooking Perez, a move that is – if caught - punishable via point deduction or disqualification.
Overall, the card was one of the more memorable of the year, but for all of the wrong reasons. Of course, there were exceptions, with Henderson getting a finish, dos Anjos getting back on track and Dodson putting himself back in title contention. However, with an array of eye pokes, groin kicks and a rare fishhook, as well as an appalling judging display in the co-main, the main card reaffirmed the sheer number of issues that need to be ironed out in the sport.
Here are the results of the card in its entirety.
Benson Henderson def. Rustam Khabilov via submission (rear naked choke) at 1:16 in fourth round.
Diego Sanchez def. Ross Pearson via split decision (27-30, 30-27, 29-28).
John Dodson def. John Moraga via TKO (doctor’s stoppage) at 5:00 in second round.
Rafael dos Anjos def. Jason High via TKO (punches) at 3:36 in second round.
Piotr Hallmann def. Yves Edwards via submission (rear naked choke) at 2:32 in third round.
Bryan Caraway def. Erik Perez via submission (rear naked choke) at 1:52 in second round.
Sergio Pettis def. Yaotzin Meza via unanimous decision (29-28 x3).
Lance Benoist def. Bobby Voelker via unanimous decision (29-28 x2, 30-27).
Scott Jorgensen def. Danny Martinez via unanimous decision (29-28 x2, 30-27).
Jon Tuck def. Jake Lindsey via submission (heel kicks to body) at 2:47 in third round.
Patrick Cummins def. Roger Narvaez via TKO (strikes) at 2:28 in second round.