Ben Henderson was victorious in his Octogon debut, beating Mark Bocek by unanimous decision.
“Bendo” went the distance with Bocek, impressing all three judges and 55,000 Canadian fans with his perfomance.
Bocek and Henderson started out with Bocek pressing the action, going for the clinch. Henderson turned him around and had his opponent against the cage. They stayed in that position and the ref stepped in to separate them. Another clinch leads to another separation, this time by Henderson landing a solid elbow. Later, Bocek got the single-leg takedown with his opponent sitting up against the fence. Bocek worked from on top of Henderson for the rest of the round and showed impressive control in the opening stanza.
The second round opened with Henderson making distance with his jab. He later followed through with some combos, but Bocek got a strong single-leg takedown and slammed Henderson. The two returned to the feet a short while later. After a lengthy clinch, the ref separated them again. Henderson got a trip in and put Bocek on his back just before the halfway point of the second round. Later, Bocek made his way back up, but ate a knee in doing so. Henderson was able to get his opponent on his back, but looked in danger of being caught in an anaconda choke. The submission didn’t get put on tight enough and Henderson escaped and laid on some heavy offense with strikes, cutting open Bocek’s head in the process. The round ended with Bocek bloodied up.
The final round started with load of Vaseline sitting on Bocek’s head to cover up his cut, but he got a good takedown early. Bocek worked from guard and got some nice shots in. Henderson was able to reverse position and worked from the top, dropping punches with force. Bocek made it through the storm and the fight returned to the feet. Henderson tripped up Bocek and pressured his opponent on the ground against the cage before returning to a standing fight. Bocek had one more takedown in him and secured a double-leg in the final minute. The round ended with the two scrapping up against the fence.
The judges scored the bout unanimously for Henderson 30-27 on all three scorecards. Henderson was obviously excited after the win.
“I want five rounds, just you and I,” he joked with Joe Rogan after the win. “Lets do a two-round exhibition right now. I want to go!”
Henderson’s win comes off losing his WEC lightweight title in December to Anthony Pettis. Surely, the victory in Toronto is something Henderson will enjoy for the rest of his time in Canada.