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Tag: Ben Henderson

Breaking Down All Eight ‘UFC vs. Strikeforce’ Bouts on This Saturday’s Henderson vs. Melendez Card

As we pointed out on Facebook earlier today, the entire main card of this Saturday’s UFC on FOX: Henderson vs. Melendez event features a UFC veteran taking on a former Strikeforce standout. What’s more, there are four fights on the prelims that fit this same pattern. While the UFC has set up cards along national lines in the past — see UFC 58: USA vs. Canada and UFC 117: USA vs. Brazil, Pretty Much they’ve never been this overt with their UFC vs. Strikeforce matchmaking. Will the UFC vets fight harder in an attempt to defend their turf? Will the Strikeforce crossovers band together to continue their invasion of the Octagon? Take a look at all eight matchups below and let us know which side you think will emerge victorious.

Headshot images via Card/The UG.


BENSON HENDERSON vs. GILBERT MELENDEZ (for UFC lightweight title)
The odds say: Bendo is a strong favorite to defend his belt at -250.
We say:
When you put this much talent into the cage at the same time, anything can happen. But while we think this fight will be closer than the betting line reflects, there’s been an unbreakable, unstoppable quality to Henderson’s performances during his 6-0 UFC run. Until we see how Melendez actually performs in the Octagon, we’re picking the champ.


FRANK MIR vs. DANIEL CORMIER (HW)
The odds say: Cormier is a virtual lock at -375.
We say:
That sounds about right. Cormier has all the skills to be a future UFC champ, and barring any freakish leglocks, Frank Mir is just a stop along the way.

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[VIDEO] UFC on Fox 7: Melendez vs. Henderson — ‘Road to the Octagon’ Preview Show


(Props: YouTube.com/UFC)

It’s as simple as this — Saturday’s UFC on Fox 7: Henderson vs. Melendez card features top-ranked fighters and heavy stakes. As such, we love getting a lil’ something extra in anticipation of it. This UFC on Fox 7: Road to the Octagon documentary gives us just that, including behind-the-scenes footage with Benson Henderson (competing at a Jiu Jitsu tournament with his mom, working out with the NFL’s Larry Fitzgerald), Gilbert Melendez (at home and at work with his ex-fighter fiance and business partner, chilling with his tight-knit ‘Skrap Pack’), Frank Mir (crying, and on a flight to New Mexico to conduct the first training camp of his career away from his wife and twenty kids) and more pre-fight action from Josh Thomson, Nate Diaz, and Daniel Cormier.

It’s a good way to waste your lunch hour today — better, at least, than talking to that weird guy at the office who always just eats a can of soup for lunch, like, every day. (Seriously? Get some protein in there, you’re a grown ass man.) Anyway, watch it and tune in Saturday. It’s free, so you’ve got no excuse not to, fight fans.

-Elias Cepeda

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Photo of the Day: Ben Henderson’s Mom Earns First BJJ Medal, Officially a BAMF


(Great job, Mom! Now all I have to teach you is how to get your arm bent 90 degrees in the opposite direction without breaking a sweat and you’ll be unstoppable!) 

It is a scientific fact that UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson has one of the most supportive/adorable MMA moms in the bidness. According to Bendo’s Wikipedia page, his Korean-born mother, Song, was not only responsible for introducing Benson to martial arts through Tae Kwon Do, but is apparently so supportive of her son’s career that she has begun to take some martial arts classes (specifically, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu) of her own despite being 50+ years of age.

And if the above picture is any indication, it appears that Song was born to be a fighter as well. Henderson tweeted the above photo this morning with the following words of wisdom:

My mama’s 1st ever #BJJ (any kind of) competition, from this past weekend…this 4’9″, 50+ year old Korean lady inspires the crap outta me everyday…earned herself a standing ovation and bronze medal too…she was nervous as crap but pulled thru like a #Champ

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Ben Henderson to Defend Lightweight Title Against Gilbert Melendez at UFC on FOX 7 in April


(Photo via Esther Lin for Strikeforce)

Update: The booking has been confirmed.

According to a new report from MMAFighting that cites “sources with knowledge of the situation,” reigning UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson will attempt to make his third title-defense against longtime Strikeforce champ Gilbert Melendez at UFC on FOX 7, which is slated to go down April 20th at the HP Pavilion in San Jose.

Henderson is coming off arguably the most impressive win of his career, dominating Gilbert’s homey Nate Diaz for five rounds in their meeting last month at UFC on FOX 5. It was the sixth-consecutive win for “Smooth” since he migrated to the UFC from the WEC, though Henderson has yet to score a stoppage victory in the Octagon. That’s not likely to change against Melendez, who has never been knocked out or submitted in 23 professional fights.

Melendez picked up his seventh-straight win in May 2012, winning a split-decision in a rubber match against Josh Thompson. Since then, the Cesar Gracie product has been sidelined by injury after injury. And though we were skeptical of Melendez’s latest withdrawal — the Cesar Gracie fighter had much more to lose from a fight against Pat Healy at Strikeforce’s final event than he stood to gain, and may have acted accordingly — it’s clear that his devious plan worked.

But before you go booking your travel plans, MMAFighting adds this caveat:

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Gilbert Melendez to “Probably” Receive an Immediate UFC Title Shot When Strikeforce Finally Dies


(And there was much rejoicing…)

If any of you were questioning Gilbert Melendez’s decision to remain off Strikeforce’s final card in January, maybe now you can see his motivation. In a recent interview with MMAJunkie, Dana White revealed that “El Nino” would “probably” receive an immediate title shot when he makes the trip over to the UFC, a statement that will more than likely be responsible for hundreds of conspiracy theories regarding the legitimacy of Melendez’s recent injuries. Of course, this came just before The Baldfather lamented about how bad Strikeforce fighters have had it since the UFC absorbed the promotion (presumably while mimicking Shooter McGavin), so perhaps we should take his statement with a grain of salt:

(Melendez will) probably come right in and get a title shot. Again, we’ll see.

What has happened to the fighters in Strikeforce is horrible. The way this thing went down is horrible, and they’ve been very patient. What’s happened over there has been completely s—ty.

Right, and we’re sure Hitler felt awfully bad about the living conditions at Auschwitz as well. “No veigh? Zey don’t even get a nice cot to szleep on? Zose bastards!” We’re not comparing Dana White to Hitler, we’re just saying.

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Gilbert Melendez Makes His Case for a ‘Champion vs. Champion’ Fight Against Benson Henderson


(Melendez slugs Shinya Aoki in the head, back when slugging Shinya Aoki in the head actually meant something. / Photo via Esther Lin)

Though he’s still recovering from the nagging shoulder injury that pulled him off of Strikeforce’s possibly-final event (and led to the straight-up cancellation of their previous card) Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez knows exactly what he wants to do when he’s healthy again — roll the dice against UFC champ Ben Henderson. The Cesar Gracie product, who just saw his homeboy Nate Diaz get run over by Bendo last weekend, pleaded his case in a new interview with BleacherReport, running down all the reasons why he should get the next crack at Henderson:

I think a champion versus champion fight makes absolute sense right now. I think we already know how things are going to work out between Benson Henderson and a lot of other lightweight fighters in the UFC, but I’m that mystery fighter. No one really knows how I’m going to matchup with anyone. I have been around for a long time and have been the top lightweight in the world before Benson or any of these other guys.

I think I have a lot of answers for his style. Sometimes he fights a wrestler like Guida who doesn’t have great hands, and sometimes he fights strikers who can’t really wrestle. Look at his fights against “Cowboy” Cerrone back in the day, or even Pettis. I have that wrestling pedigree where he ain’t taking me down, and I’ll be stuffing some shots. I’m not backing away, and I’ll be dropping some bombs. I’m not an easy guy to stand with. I have a lot of power, and I’m not running away from kicks. I don’t run away from anything. I hold my ground. I’ll be coming for him, and anything he dishes out I’ll be answering back twice as hard.”

Later in the interview, Melendez discussed how the reports of Strikeforce’s impending demise — and the coronation of Ronda Rousey as the UFC’s first women’s champion — actually got him excited about the future again, since Melendez could finally get the opportunity to fight some of the best lightweights in the world:

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UFC on FOX 5 Salaries: Ben Henderson Needs to Hire Mauricio Rua’s Agent, Like, Pronto


(I had to downgrade from my platinum toothpick for this shit?!) 

The UFC recently released the figures for UFC on FOX 5, and suffice it to say, it pays much better to be a fading legend than it does a rising star, or a lightweight champion for that matter (Author’s note: I guess Bisping was right after all *dials revolver*). Check out the full list of figures below, then get our thoughts on the matter after the jump.

Benson Henderson: $78,000 (includes $39,000 win bonus)
def. Nate Diaz: $50,000

Alexander Gustafsson: $60,000 (includes $30,000 win bonus)
def. Mauricio Rua: $175,000

Rory MacDonald: $42,000 (includes $21,000 win bonus)
def. B.J. Penn: $150,000

Matt Brown: $54,000 (includes $27,000 win bonus)
def. Mike Swick: $48,000

Yves Edwards: $32,000 (includes $16,000 win bonus)
def. Jeremy Stephens: $24,000

Raphael Assuncao: $38,000 (includes $19,000 win bonus)
def. Mike Easton: $14,000

Ramsey Nijem: $20,000 (includes $10,000 win bonus)
def. Joe Proctor: $8,000

Daron Cruickshank: $16,000 (includes $8,000 win bonus)
def. Henry Martinez: $8,000

Abel Trujillo: $12,000 (includes $6,000 win bonus)
def. Marcus LeVesseur: $8,000

Dennis Siver: $62,000 (includes $31,000 win bonus)
def. Nam Phan: $10,000

Scott Jorgensen: $41,000 (includes $20,500 win bonus)
def. John Albert: $10,000

Thoughts…

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‘UFC on FOX 5′ Ratings Update: Henderson vs. Diaz Was the Ninth Most Watched MMA Fight of All Time in the U.S.; Kimbo Still Reigns Supreme


(Well, you can’t say he didn’t warn you. / Photo courtesy of Getty Images. Click for full-size version.)

According to a Yahoo! Sports report, Saturday’s UFC on FOX 5 broadcast averaged 4.4 million viewers, with viewership climbing steadily through the night until it peaked at a hearty 5.7 million sets of eyeballs for the main event of Benson Henderson vs. Nate Diaz.

Although total viewership still fell short of the first two UFC on FOX offerings, the 4.4 million average for “Henderson vs. Diaz” nearly doubled the audiences of the last two FOX broadcasts, which both averaged just 2.4 million viewers apiece. More importantly, “Henderson vs. Diaz” was television’s most-watched broadcast on Saturday night among males 18-34, males 18-49, adults 18-34, and adults 18-49. As Dana White told Yahoo!: “We just killed it. We killed it in every demo.”

The ratings performance was also enough to clinch Henderson vs. Diaz as the ninth most-watched MMA fight of all time in the United States. Four years ago, the top ten list was dominated by Kimbo Slice — and not much has changed since then. Here’s Dave Meltzer with an update on MMAFighting.com (number rankings added for clarity):

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Much Ado About Not That Much: Nate Diaz’s Middle Finger Incites Overblown Criticism


(Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here, this is the War Room!” Screenshot via Deadspin/ Tim Burke)

By Elias Cepeda

If you’re anything like me, there were a couple times during Saturday’s UFC on Fox telecast where you angrily shouted at the television. I wasn’t upset at a favorite fighter getting beaten or even vainly yelling out instructions per the common ridiculous spectator custom.

No, I, and perhaps you as well, got upset when Fox repeatedly cut away from the action to show a long overhead shot of an empty UFC Octagon. As Maggie Hendricks at Yahoo! Sports confirmed, those cut-aways were not technical goof ups. ”[Nate] Diaz threw up the middle finger at his opponent, and the network cut away instead of risking a fine from the Federal Communications Commission,” Hendricks wrote on her CageWriter blog.

One of the gestures came while Diaz was working for a heel-hook on Benson Henderson, who was sitting in a near full-split position on the canvas. The champion was unfazed by Diaz’s gestures as he had prepared for the Stockton native’s tactics, both physical and psychological.

“It’s something I actually had a little bit of a hard time with, but once my training partners got together, they all started talking crap to me in the middle of sparring and I’d get angry,” Henderson revealed on Fuel TV’s post fight show. “They helped control it and I did a pretty good job of being very focused and not letting that affect my emotional state in the middle of the fight.”

So, what’s all the fuss been about on the net since then? On Yahoo’s front page, Hendricks’s story was linked to with the headline, “Fighter’s tasteless moves rattle television broadcast.” Yes, the network that has brought us Cops, Temptation Island and The Simple Life was “rattled” and nearly brought to its sweet, innocent knees by Nate Diaz‘s tactical posturing during his fight.

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UFC on Fox 5 Aftermath: Toothpickgate, A Changing of the Guard and Glorious, Glorious Violence


Ben Henderson’s Glorious Toothpick of Absolute Victory? Props: BloodyElbow.

When it comes to UFC on Fox 5, it’s hard to know whether to start with the top or the bottom. Ben Henderson’s dismantling of Nate Diaz was a statement performance in a division where title fights have been been subjected to controversy and questionable decisions for the past two years. (Frankie Edgar’s KO of Gray Maynard notwithstanding.) And he did this with a toothpick in his mouth the entire time! No, that’s not necessarily legal, but it makes the performance even more incredible. But on the other hand, this was probably the best, most violent preliminary card in recent memory, highlighted with KOs from Yves Edwards and Daron Cruickshank. And that’s not even touching the rest of the main card. We have much to discuss, Potato Nation.

So let’s start with the top. Ben Henderson, toothpick and all, dominated Nate Diaz. He kicked the legs out from under him, tossed him into the fence at will, and when they engaged on the ground, it was on Henderson’s terms. Diaz was able to maneuver into position for leg lock attempts in the third round, but beyond that he didn’t have much to offer Henderson. (Humorously, during one of those exchanges, Diaz raised his fist to Henderson’s face, and the camera immediately cut to a crowd shot. Yeah, wonder why…) Diaz never gave up trying, to his credit, but Henderson demonstrated that he was clearly the superior fighter of the two. Henderson was able to drop Diaz on multiple occasions, and while he was able to finish the Stockton fighter, he was able to damage him to the degree that even Diaz conceded victory when the final bell sounded. Henderson came out with a smart gameplan and executed it in violent fashion. Whoever challenges for the title next will have a serious issue on their hands, because with Frankie Edgar gone, Henderson finally looks secure on his throne.

The rest of the main card undoubtedly saw a – pardon the phrase – changing of the guard last night. Alexander Gustafsson was able to bloody and batter Mauricio “Shogun” Rua en route to a clear cut decision. Shogun came out strong, and while none of the judges saw fit to give him the first round, some observers (myself included) did. He used leg kicks, connected with the heaviest shots, and even though he got taken down, was easily able to avoid damage and return to his feet. However, rounds two and three weren’t up for debate. As Shogun tired, he began to throw desperate, flailing strikes which Gustafsson easily evaded. The Swede was content peppering Shogun from outside, dominating the clinch exchanges, and taking Shogun down at will throughout the latter rounds. It wasn’t the most impressive performance, and may not land him a title shot, but it’s easily his most significant victory in the UFC. For Shogun, it’s a sad day when a once great fighter can barely fight 15 minutes. He’s got a couple of fights left in him, but not much more.

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