UFC Fight Night 42 Recap: Horrible Sanchez Decision Outshines Bendo’s First UFC Finish

MMA: UFC 166-Melendez vs SanchezUltimate Fighting Championship (UFC) was back in action last night with 11 bouts for UFC Fight Night 42, which took place in Albuquerque, New Mexico and featured former UFC Lightweight Champion Benson Henderson in the main event against top Dagestani grappler Rustam Khabilov. Both men showed up in the main event, as Henderson was quickly put on the defensive by Khabilov, who is known for his powerful takedowns, suplexes and slams. Khabilov put the pressure on Henderson early, putting the ex-champ on his back multiple times, but Henderson was able to utilize his high level scrambling ability to avoid danger and either sweep or get back to his feet on nearly every occasion. As the fight wore on, Khabilov began having more difficulty taking The MMA Lab fighter down and eventually was forced to stand and trade with the Arizona-based lightweight, and things didn’t end well for him. Henderson cracked Khabilov with a huge uppercut early in the fourth round to hurt the Russian and he followed up with a big left hand before pouncing on his dazed foe to latch on a rear naked choke and force a tapout. It was Henderson’s first stoppage victory in his UFC career, answering his critics in devastating fashion. The win also helped him bounce back from a controversial decision scored over Josh Thomson in his last bout.

Henderson vs Khabilov highlights

Speaking of controversial decisions, the judges last night were in rare form in the co-main event between lightweights Ross Pearson and Diego Sanchez. Sanchez has won his fair share of close calls in his UFC career thus far, but last night took the cake. “The Nightmare” entered the bout saying all the right things about bringing back the old Diego Sanchez, but he didn’t fight like it. Instead, Sanchez fought conservatively and repeatedly was countered by the significantly more technical Pearson. Both former Ultimate Fighter winners landed strikes, but it was Pearson who clearly got the better of nearly every exchange, outlanding Sanchez in every single round including dropping Sanchez with a crisp right hand in the second. Pearson’s defense was solid and he mixed up his attack with punches, kicks and occasional knees whenever Sanchez got too close. Despite “The Real Deal” putting on a solid technical showcase and almost every member of the media scoring the bout 30-27 for Pearson, the judges inexplicably awarded Sanchez the decision, with one actually scoring the bout 30-27 for Sanchez. They’ll hopefully have a lot of explaining to do here in the future.

Diego Sanchez vs Ross Pearson highlights

In high level flyweight action, John Dodson battled John Moraga in a bout that had serious title implications. Both men were a bit overly cautious in the first 9 1/2 minutes, with Dodson landing the better occasional shots while utilizing his speed and athleticism. It wasn’t until the last 30 seconds of the second round until this fight got particularly interesting when Dodson threw a head kick as Moraga ducked down, smashing his knee directly into the former title challenger’s nose. Dodson tried to finish the fight then and there, but was unable to put Moraga away. In between rounds, the fight doctor had seen enough as Moraga’s clearly broken nose was leaking like a faucet and he ruled the bout could not continue.  This allowed Dodson to score a doctor stoppage victory and cement himself as the next contender for the 125 pound title. In other ranked action, top 10 lightweight Rafael dos Anjos outlasted Jason High’s early aggression and utilized a cardio advantage to score a second round technical knockout victory as High’s conditioning betrayed him. High looked strong enough, scoring several takedowns and matching dos Anjos on the feet, but his pace noticeably slowed in the second round and he was unable to properly defend himself. Top 15 bantamweights Bryan Caraway and Erik Perez put on a show for the fans as Perez looked to outwork Caraway on the feet with his superior striking, but “Goyito” made a blunder in the second round, shooting for a takedown against Caraway’s superior ground game. Caraway eventually took his back and sunk in a rear naked choke to force the tap and elevate his standing in the 135-pound division. Last but not least, Scott Jorgensen survived a scare in his flyweight battle against Danny Martinez. “Young Guns” looked strong early with multiple takedowns and top control, but he allowed Martinez back into the fight when both men were trading on the feet. Martinez wasn’t a technical stand-up artist, but he threw with conviction, landing a few heavy blows that dropped Jorgensen in the second round to make the fight much more interesting than many initially expected. In the final round, Jorgensen got back on track with his takedowns and control on the canvas, but he still had to survive a few more scares on the feet before the judges were able to render their decision in his favor. Martinez shouldn’t be too disheartened, however, as both men took home the “Fight of the Night” bonus for a smooth $50,000. This all but guarantees Martinez will get one more shot to compete inside the Octagon. Next up for UFC is the UFC 174 pay-per-view headlined by Demetrious Johnson’s flyweight title defense against Ali Bagautinov and co-main evented by a top welterweight contest between Rory MacDonald and Tyron Woodley.  As always, stay tuned to MMAOddsBreaker.com for odds, picks, and analysis for every UFC event.  

Written by Brian Hemminger

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