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Old 15-02-15, 14:49   #1
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UFC UFC Fight Night 60 Results: Henderson Rallies, Taps Thatch

BROOMFIELD, Colo. – Benson Henderson long resisted the prospect of one day moving up to the UFC welterweight division, but his first performance at 170 pounds showed his skills are formidable as a heavier fighter.

Henderson (22-5 MMA, 10-3 UFC), an ex-champ in the lightweight division, wore down a dangerous Brandon Thatch (10-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC) on the ground and secured a submission victory in the fourth round, less than one month after a disappointing decision loss to top contender Donald Cerrone at 155 pounds.

“Sometimes, guys, you’ve got to go out there and test yourself,” Henderson, who’s ranked No. 5 in USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie’s MMA lightweight rankings, said afterward. “I didn’t know I could win this fight. A lot of times, you have to do something you don’t know. Our biggest fear is not that we’re inadequate, it’s that we’re powerful beyond measure.”

The welterweight bout was the main event of today’s UFC Fight Night 60 event at 1STBANK Center in Broomfield, Colo. It aired on FOX Sports 1 following prelims on the same channel.

The fight came to an end at the 3:58 mark of the fourth round as Henderson sunk his forearm under Thatch’s neck to secure a rear-naked choke. Only moments earlier, Thatch had attempted to escape Henderson’s clutches to no avail, struggling to match the ex-champ on the canvas.

Going into the fight, Henderson, who replaced an injured Stephen Thompson, was expected to have an advantage on the ground, while Thatch came into the bout as a highly touted striker with 11 first-round stoppage wins – including two straight in the UFC’s octagon – to his credit.

Yet Henderson bucked expectations by waging a hit-and-run attack against Thompson, throwing lead body shots and kicks to keep his taller and longer opponent at bay. Thatch did damage in close, scoring bruising body shots and tripping his opponent to the mat. Several times, he showcased inventive striking, turning a spinning backfist into a trip and landing a spinning back kick. But Henderson never seemed seriously hurt.

“I knew he was going to come out like a monster in the first, and he did,” Henderson said. “I didn’t want to run away, but dude’s a big dude. So I wanted to be more elusive. And in the second, third, fourth and fifth round, pick it up on him.”

The fight began to shift into Henderson’s corner as he utilized his wrestling. In the third, he took Thatch down and secured back mount, where he threatened with a choke and closed the frame with an armbar attempt.

In the fourth, Thatch repaid Henderson’s takedown efforts with a knee to the forehead. But eventually, he was put on his back, where the ex-champ advanced position and then finished out the fight.

“He’s a tough dude; he’s got the heart of a champion,” said Thatch afterward. “I thought he was hurt in the first and second round with the body. I think I threw power more than I should have. I should have stuck with speed, but that’s just trial and error, and I think I need more experience.”

Henderson was ambitious when asked about his post-win plans, saying he’d be willing to fight top welterweight contender Rory MacDonald, who’s fight with Hector Lombard at UFC 186 was canceled when Lombard failed a drug test in connection with January’s UFC 183.

“I hear there’s a big name up in Canada who needs a fight, so if he still needs it, I’m game,” Henderson said.

UFC Fight Night 60 Results:

•Benson Henderson def. Brandon Thatch via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 4, 3:58

•Max Holloway def. Cole Miller via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)

•Neil Magny def. Kiichi Kunimoto via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 3, 1:22

•Daniel Kelly def. Patrick Walsh via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)

•Kevin Lee def. Michel Prazeres via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 30-27)

•Ray Borg def. Chris Kelades via submission (kimura) – Round 3, 2:56

•Efrain Escudero def. Rodrigo Lima via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

•Chas Skelly def. Jim Alers via TKO (strikes) – Round 2, 4:59

•Zach Makovsky def. Tim Elliott via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

•James Moontasri def. Cody Pfister via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 2, 1:49
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