UFC Fight Night: Henderson vs. Khabilov took place on Saturday in Albuquerque. 8,775 spectators filled Tingley Coliseum to witness the UFC’s first event in New Mexico garnering $697,901 in gate receipts.
Former lightweight champion Benson Henderson finished Russian Rustam Khabilov by submission in the event’s featured attraction. Khabilov was able to use his wrestling ability to take the former champion down in the early going. Early in the fourth round, Henderson stepped in with a combination that hurt Khabilov. Henderson wasted no time pouncing on him, taking his back and locking in a rear-naked choke.
Controversy surrounded the co-main event when Albuquerque’s own Diego Sanchez defeated Ross Pearson by split decision. Pearson appeared to be in complete control throughout the fight. He knocked Sanchez down in the second round, but two of the three judges scored the fight for Sanchez. UFC broadcaster Kenny Florian declared on air that the judges should be ashamed of themselves.
Flyweight contender John Dodson strengthened his argument for another title shot by finishing John Moraga by technical knockout following the second frame. Dodson perfectly timed a knee as Moraga ducked in, knocking Moraga to the canvas and breaking his nose. Moraga survived the round, but the cage-side doctor stopped the fight between rounds.
Five of the six main card fights ended in finishes.