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Tag: Benson Henderson

The ‘FOX Boost’ Is a Myth: There’s No Formula to Create New UFC Stars


(Benson Henderson peers warily at the buyrate for UFC 164. / Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

By Matt Saccaro

Congratulations are in order for FOX and the UFC. They took a terrible draw in Benson Henderson and made him into merely a bad draw.

Henderson was partially responsible for one of the worst pay-per-view buyrates in recent UFC history — an estimated 190,000 buys for UFC 150 against fellow failure-to-move-the-needle Frankie Edgar. Henderson was so bad that the UFC kept him off PPV for an entire year after UFC 150, instead preferring to use their shows on FOX to build him up. After these shows, the UFC decided to put Henderson back in a PPV main event at UFC 164, presumably in order to see if FOX turned the ho-hum fighter into a star.

I noted the importance of UFC 164’s PPV performance in a previous article:

If UFC 164 can boast a decent buyrate, then the theory that the UFC can use FOX to create the next generation of stars will be proven true, and the UFC’s future will be a little more secure. But if UFC 164 fails as hard as UFC 150 did — if promoting a fighter TWO TIMES on one of the biggest networks on television failed to make that fighter a draw — then the UFC is in trouble. That would mean one champion who would be dead weight on a card, in addition to the champions from the lighter men’s weight classes who have all yet to establish themselves as major PPV draws.

UFC 164 didn’t perform as poorly as UFC 150. It drew an estimated 270,000 buys.

“That’s great! It’s about a 42% increase over last time,” you say? Yeah, that’s true, but let’s look at it another way.

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CagePotato Roundtable #26: What Is the Greatest Comeuppance in MMA History?


(Bro, you need a male nurse.)

After spending last week’s roundtable discussion paying tribute to the most foul people associated with our sport, this week we’ll be focusing on great comeuppances — cases when a fighter got too cocky and karma caught up with him mid-match. Some of our picks are knockouts, some are submissions, and all are extremely satisfying to relive. Read on for our picks, and please continue to send your ideas for future CagePotato Roundtable topics to tips@cagepotato.com.

Ben Goldstein


(Props: Esther Lin/MMAFighting.com)

It’s one of the most well-known (and feared) unwritten rules in baseball: You never jinx a no-no. When a pitcher has gone a few innings without giving up a hit, you shut the fuck up about it. Teammates aren’t supposed to acknowledge it in the dugout, broadcasters aren’t supposed to mention it on air. These days, you’re not even supposed to tweet about it. If you even so much as whisper the words “no hitter” into your sleeve from the bleachers, the baseball gods will smite you for your hubris and it’ll all come crashing down.

MMA offers all kinds of painful penalties for celebrating early, and you’d think that everyone would have learned the lesson by now. But every once in a while, some asshole comes along and claims that he’ll achieve some lofty feat way before he has any right to. Call it a jinx, call it karmic retribution, but those fighters tend to fall on their face, while the rest of us revel in their defeat. You shouldn’t have tempted fate, buddy. You should have stayed humble. You shouldn’t have jinxed the no-no.

If you’ve been following the UFC for a long time, you might remember a former lightweight champion by the name of Benson Henderson. (He was the guy who held the belt between Frankie Edgar and Anthony Pettis? Long, curly hair? He could do all things through Christ who strengthened him? Does any of that ring a bell?) Anyway, this Benson Henderson guy was known for edging out very close decision wins in title fights — the kind of fights that could have gone either way, but kept falling in his favor. He got a reputation as a point-fighter who never went in for the kill, who only took risks involving toothpicks.

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On Rank, Resumes, and Arm Bars — The Simple Reason Why Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Still Matters in MMA


(The Gracies proved that BJJ is indispensable — not that it’s invincible. / Photo via Getty)

By Elias Cepeda

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in mixed martial arts has been on my mind a bit more than usual lately. A few weeks ago Benson Henderson walked to the ring wearing a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu gi with his brand new black belt tied around it at the waist.

Minutes later he walked out, his black belt still in tow but without his UFC lightweight title belt after getting submitted by an arm bar from inside the full guard of Anthony Pettis. At the time, Pettis was ranked as a blue belt — the belt just above white in BJJ.

Not many weeks prior to that, Roger Gracie, the most dominant submission grappling competitor in decades, lost his UFC debut and then was promptly dropped from the organization. This past Saturday, Roger’s cousin Rolles – son of legendary Rolls Gracie – got knocked out in the second round of his WSOF 5 fight with Derrick Mehmen in tragically comic fashion.

Rolles got hit, the punch put him out on his feet and he spun around slowly before falling to the ground. It looked like the slapstick “Flair Flop” move that pro wrestler Ric Flair used to pull off after getting hit to put over his opponent. Three and a half years ago, of course, Rolles humiliated himself against Joey Beltran in his lone UFC fight after appearing to exhaust himself almost immediately.

Both recent Gracie losses brought about public questions of whether or not the Gracie family and Jiu Jitsu itself have become outdated in modern MMA. Henderson’s submission loss to Pettis could have been seen as a triumph of Jiu Jitsu technique but instead, some critics chose to question the validity and use of BJJ belt ranks.

What did Henderson’s black belt mean, exactly, if he could go out and get submitted by someone with a lower BJJ rank, who was more known for high-flying kicks than anything, and with such a basic move? The notions that Gracies losing fights and Henderson getting submitted somehow reflect negatively on Jiu Jitsu itself are, of course, silly.

MMA isn’t about magical styles and secrets solely in the possession of those with certain-colored pieces of clothing or particular surnames. It never has been.

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[VIDEO] Inside Anthony Pettis’ Last Training Camp – Capoeira, Soccer, Jiu Jitsu & Brazil


(Video via TeamMoraesMMA Youtube)

Prior to their title rematch last week, conventional may have held that Benson Henderson had improved more than challenger Anthony Pettis had in the several years since their last meeting. Henderson had faced the tougher competition, gone unbeaten in the UFC and was riding high on confidence and accomplishment.

Pettis was coming off of a knee injury, fighting on relatively short notice and, well, he was flashy but would likely get out wrestled and out pointed. Of course, Pettis went on to submit Henderson in short and shocking order and is now the new UFC lightweight champion.

The video above, which chronicles a bit of his training camp for the Henderson bout, reveals some of Showtime’s success secrets. Jiu Jitsu training in Brazil? Check. Capoeira dance fighting? Check. Attend rowdy soccer matches? Check.

No wonder Pettis came out golden. Take five and enjoy the above inside look at Pettis’ training camp and learn some funky new dance moves.

-Elias Cepeda

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UFC 164 Aftermath: Milwaukee’s Best


(Photo by Ed Mulholland/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

By George Shunick

The year’s not over, but when it’s said and done, don’t be surprised to see UFC 164 stand atop as the crown jewel of the promotion’s endeavors in 2013. The main card delivered in spades, with four finishes – albeit one controversial one – and one fight of the night which somehow didn’t manage to win the actual Fight of the Night bonus. But the big story last night was the ascension of Anthony Pettis to the lightweight throne. There has not been a dominant champion in the most talented division in MMA since the downfall of BJ Penn at UFC 112. If last night was any indication, Anthony Pettis is going to the answer to the series of frustrating draws and questionable decisions that have plagued the top of the division in Penn’s absence.

In the fight itself, Benson Henderson’s strategy became immediately clear – clinch, clinch, clinch. The majority of the round saw Henderson use his strength to drive Pettis into the fence and keep him there while working short strikes to Pettis’ legs. Henderson also attempted a number of takedowns, all of which were stuffed. When the two finally separated for a period of time, it became evident just why Henderson was so eager to keep the fighting in close. Pettis, fighting out of orthodox stance as a means of opening up the body kicks that come when two fighters square off in opposite stances, proceeded to capitalize on that particular strategy, landing four kicks to the body which clearly discomforted Henderson. Pettis, perhaps a little too pleased with his work, then attempted a cartwheel kick, only to be taken down by Henderson. Working in Pettis’ open guard, Henderson planted his right arm on the mat. Pettis immediately grabbed an overhook and soon after went for the armbar.

Henderson defended well at first, but as Pettis rotated on his back, the pressure increased on Henderson’s elbow to the point where it popped and the champion verbally submitted. Pettis became the second man to submit a champion since BJ Penn did it to Matt Hughes in 2004, and he did it against a man who is exceptionally difficult to finish in under a round. Considering that it was previously believed that his standup was his main weapon, it should go without saying at this point that Pettis is not only one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the world, he could possibly be the best. A fight with Jose Aldo would go a long way to determine that, but a fight with T.J. Grant wouldn’t hurt either. Now the bad news; Pettis claims his knee popped during the fight. Hopefully it’s minor, but it would be a shame to lose Pettis so soon after such an impressive performance. Meanwhile, once his elbow heals, Henderson will be back. He’s insanely tough, well-rounded, athletic, technical… he’s just a level or two below Anthony Pettis. Maybe everyone else is too.

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[VIDEO] UFC 164 Post Event Press Conference


(Dana White & the stars of UFC 164 hold court last night after the fights in Milwaukee | Video via UFC Youtube)

Watch the video above to see what UFC President Dana White, and some of UFC 164′s top fighters had to say about all the action from last night’s pay per view event. New champion Anthony Pettis talked about his dramatic first round submission of Benson Henderson, Frank Mir and Josh Barnett talk about their controversial heavyweight clash and Chad Mendes discusses his fourth straight knockout win.

Per usual, the “…of the night” bonuses were announced by White at the post presser. Mendes won KO of the night, Pettis won submission of the night and Hyun Gyu Lim and Pascal Krauss won fight of the night. All fighters involved took home an extra $50,000 for the honors.

- Elias Cepeda

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UFC 164 Results & Video Highlights: Pettis Wins Title, Barnett Stops Mir


(Anthony Pettis becomes the new UFC lightweight champion by submitting Benson Henderson in the first round at UFC 164 Saturday night | All videos via FoxSports Youtube)

Full UFC 164 Quick Results:

Anthony Pettis submits Benson Henderson with an arm bar from the bottom in the first round.

Josh Barnett TKO’s Frank Mir in the first round.

Chad Mendes wins with a third round TKO over Clay Guida.

Ben Rothwell beats Brandon Vera in the third via TKO.

Dustin Poirier defeats Erik Koch with a unanimous decision.

Gleison Tibau wins a split decision over Jamie Varner.

Tim Elliott beats Louis Gaudinot with a unanimous decision.

Hyun Gyu Lim defeats Pascal Krauss via first round TKO.

Chico Camus wins a unanimous decision over Kyung Ho Kang.

Soa Palelei defeats Nikita Krylov via TKO in the third round.

Al Iaquinta wins a unanimous decision over Ryan Couture.

Magnus Cedenblad defeats Jared Hamman via guillotine choke submission.

Video highlights of Barnett vs. Mir, Mendes vs. Guida and Poirier vs. Koch after the jump

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[VIDEOS] Countdown to UFC 164

The countdown to UFC 164 has begun and so we feel it is fitting to watch UFC’s signature Countdown mini documentary show before tonight’s championship pay per view event. This episode features two of the night’s biggest fights.

First, the lightweight title main event rematch between champion Benson Henderson and challenger Anthony Pettis is looked at through the eyes of both fighters. Learn more about Pettis’ rough child hood and adolescence and hear why Henderson is confident he’ll avenge his 2010 defeat to “Showtime.”

In the second part of the Countdown to UFC 164, heavyweight submission wizards and former champions Frank Mir and Josh Barnett finally lock horns in a fight that makes us want to party like it’s 2005. Some fans want to see who will get the better of grappling exchanges between Mir and Barnett but you should watch and listen to some of their pretty hilarious insults of one another and decide who will has the trash talk advantage. Spoiler alert, Mir is allegedly “a dick” and Barnett is an insecure fat kid who never grew up.

Henderson vs. Pettis is above and Mir vs. Barnett is after the jump.

Enjoy the Countdown to UFC 164 and enjoy tonight’s fights.

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Non-Expert MMA Picks: UFC 164 Edition


(We had no idea what picture to use for this post, but this one seems to work nicely. Be sure to check out Meerkatsu’s shop for plenty of other awesome jiu-jitsu artwork.)

Are “the experts” really more knowledgeable than anyone else in terms of predicting who will win a fight? That’s debatable, to say the least. Today we’re bringing in Adam Touchet – a college football blogger and the most casual of casual MMA fans – to see how his predictions hold up against what will actually happen on Saturday night. Read on for his picks, follow him on Twitter, and check out more of his work at what is possibly the least pretentious college football blog on the Internet, BattleOfTheSun.com.

I’ve spent my tiny broadcasting and show-business career trying to prove that just because you’re on television with a microphone it doesn’t make you an expert. What makes a guy who doesn’t even play a sport an “expert” at it, and what makes the “predictions” of the broadcasters presenting a sporting event to the masses any more valid than its rabid fan base?

Spoiler Alert: Nothing.

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Gambling Addiction Enabler: ‘UFC 164: Henderson vs. Pettis II’ Edition


(The UFC 164 marketing strategy summed up in less than 30 seconds.)

By Dan “Get Off Me” George

This Saturday night, Zuffa brings us perhaps the most anticipated title rematch in lightweight history when Benson Henderson attempts to remove a stain from his soul against the man responsible for leaving said stain, new/interim #1 contender Anthony Pettis. The preliminary portion of the card may not boast many recognizable names (which is a nice way of saying it’s garbage-ass) but the PPV lineup is a veritable potpourri of grizzled veterans and surging prospects, with a little bit of something for everyone both new and old to MMA.

So come along as we head to Milwaukee, Wisconsin and highlight the undercard bout you stand the best chance of banking on as well as all of the main card bouts for UFC 164: Henderson vs Pettis II. All lines courtesy of BestFightOdds, per usual.

Undercard bout:

Soa Palelei (+175) vs. Nikita Krylov (-210)

The heavy-handed Australian comes in as the +180ish underdog against Ukrainian (is game to you?) submission specialist and -200 favorite Nikita Krylov. Palelei has a chance to payout early in this fight if he is able to use his striking effectively, but the 16 year age gap between the fighters may prove the difference if Krylov’s is able to sustain the early onslaught from Soa. With this in mind, Palelei has been submitted once in his career and 7 out of his last 8 wins (Well, 6 out of 8. Bob Sapp no longer counts.) have come in the first round. +180 for Palelei is an underdog worth taking.

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