Despite being taken down numerous times, Henderson managed to earn the judges’ nod with scores of 47-48, 48-47 and 49-46.
“Another close win, but I’ll take them any way I can get them,” Henderson said after the win. “I thought it was a pretty controlling fight for myself. I made a few mistakes, but I don’t think he did any damage and I didn’t lose control. I made some mistakes and ended on my back a few times, but I thought the “W” was clear.”
Thomson got the early takedown and secured Henderson’s back, working for a rear-naked choke thereafter. Henderson worked to get back to his feet, where he escaped the choke. Henderson later locked on a standing-arm triangle and took the fight to the ground, where Thomson was able to persevere escape the hold. The first round ended just after a near takedown by Thomson.
In the second round, the two clinched for an extended period of time, trading short strikes in few moments before being separated by the referee. Thomson once again brought the fight to the ground and secured Henderson’s back, but the former UFC lightweight champion returned to the feet soon after. The two engaged in a number of exchanges through the end of the round, ending the time period in a clinch against the cage.
Henderson began the third round with a Superman punch, swarming in and controlling Thomson’s back. After separating, Henderson began landing more and more strikes, dictating the pace of the fight with punches and later controlling Thomson on the ground when the former Strikeforce champion slipped. The round ended on the feet with Henderson landing a straight right hand.
Thomson opened up the fourth round with a takedown, working in guard after that point and landing short strikes. Unable to advance position, Thomson stood and threw strikes from top position, but Henderson was able to reverse out and secure Thomson’s back while standing. Thomson scored a takedown in the final minute and once again secured Henderson’s back, but was unable to finish a rear-naked choke attempt before time expired.
The final round showed Thomson applying leg kicks, while Henderson threw consecutive head kicks. Thomson caught a kick and lifted Henderson’s leg, pushing him down for another takedown, but the fight returned to the feet where the two exchanged strikes in clinches through the end of time allowed.
Thomson said he won’t look at the UFC on Fox 10 loss as a failure.
“The plan was simple: win. I could not, but that doesn’t mean I failed,” Thomson said. “We know that’s the risk when you leave to the judges’ decision. But I’m satisfied with my performance. It was a great fight. The fans know it. They will remember this night for a long time.”
The win improves Henderson’s record to 20-3 overall, and is his third split decision in his last four wins. The victory over Thomson likely puts Henderson in serious consideration for the lightweight title.
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