UFC on Fox 7 Results: Benson Henderson Ekes Out Split Decision Then Pops the Question

April 20, 2013
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Benson HendersonGilbert Melendez has long been considered one of the top light fighters on the planet. Fighting outside the UFC, however, he never had the opportunity to try and prove he was thee best lightweight.

The outgoing Strikeforce champion, Melendez was granted that opportunity at UFC on Fox 7 on Saturday night at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif., when he challenged UFC champion Benson Henderson.

Unfortunately for Melendez, he came about as close as a fighter could get to the title without taking it.

Neither man dominated the fight, but Melendez started off strong early, often dictating the pace, fending off Henderson’s kicks, and frequently beating the champ to the punch.

Melendez kept pressing into round two, Henderson seemingly unable to ratchet his tempo up to its usual frenetic pace.

Once he caught on that Melendez was catching many of his body kicks, Henderson shifted gears midway through the fight, starting to go Melendez’s legs more frequently, and kicking them out from under the challenger on a couple of occasions.

While Melendez kept pressing, trying to move the fight where he wanted it, and firing off his punch combinations, Henderson varied his tactics as the fight wore on. In particular, he started employing some harsh elbows that kept Melendez from going inside the champ’s punching range as much.

Midway through the fourth round, the fight seemed to shift quite a bit. Henderson looked much more in command, while Melendez seemed to slow if ever so slightly.

Benson Henderson vs. Gilbert Melendez scorecard

(Click to enlarge)

In the end, the fight couldn’t have been much closer, Henderson eking out a split decision victory, two judges scoring it 48-47 in his favor, one with the same score in Melendez’s favor.

Henderson took advantage of his good fortune and looked to add to it after the fight, calling his girlfriend into the Octagon and dropping to one knee.

“I’m not perfect, I never have been, but you make me happier every single day, more than any man has the right to be,” said Henderson before taking one last swing. “I love you. Will you marry me?”

This decision didn’t sound near as razor-thin as the fight’s decision, as his girlfriend immediately answered, “Yes, I will.”

“It was a tough fight. We all know how tough Gilbert Melendez is,” said Henderson in his post-fight interview following his post-fight proposal, but added, “There’s a lot bigger things than fighting. I had to take care of one of those things just now to make sure she’s in my life for the rest of my life.”

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  • I want to like Bendo…but he really needs to have more decisive title fights (except the diaz fight) ….having close decisions like this, will only hinder his credibility as a champ

    • Advance*

      I’m sure he’s trying. He can hang with anybody in the world but he’s just not a finisher. Even the Showtime fight was super close until the big kick. I think it’s his confidence and cardio that wins over the judges in the close fights. He just never looks phased or hurt. Compare that to someone like Frankie who is in a lot of close fights but almost always looks beat up

      • it is true…or there are just tooo much talented fighter in lw….sooo at the championship level no one can look really dominate

        • Supaman

          it is a deep division, but wtf… why is Gray Maynard vs TJ Grant next??

          plus shouldn’t they be reserving a spot for Aldo, in case he defeats Pettis and wants that LW shot that will be offered if he wins?

          • shakejunt

            simple, timing. aldo-pettis is all the way in august, grant vs maynard is next month.

      • Supaman

        people saying Bendo isn’t a finisher are wrong. before he came to UFC, he only went to decision a couple times in his entire career.

        the guys he’s faced in the UFC have all been tough guys and NOTORIOUSLY difficult to finish.

        1) Nate Diaz- when Bendo fought Diaz, Diaz had never been finished in the UFC

        2) Clay Guida- has only been subbed x2 out of 17 UFC fights (never KO/TKO in entire career)

        3) Jim Miller- when fought Bendo, Miller had never been finished in entire career

        4) Mark Bocek- only been TKO’d once out of 16 fights in career.

        it’s true, he hasn’t really flashed that huge one strike KO power, but he goes for a finish every fight, every rd. and has gotten TKOs and alot of subs.

        • Supaman

          Bendo also choked out Cowboy Cerrone in the 1st rd in WEC and Cowboy is an awesome grappler.

          Not to mention finishing Jamie Varner, Shane Roller, and Anthony Njoukuani.

  • Tim

    Get a Hair cut ……that crap looks terrible!

    • I now think his hair is somewhat tactically….with him waving his hair you cannot really tell if he is hurt or not…very sneaky..

      • shakejunt

        it’s like the opposite of guida where every shot looks like he died

  • Neither fighter lost this fight. Fights like this should be called draws, but I gave round 1,3 and 5 to Melendez.

    • Ron Couden

      Yep, I thought Gil won three rounds as well. At least people can stop talking about how weak Strikeforce was.

      • shakejunt

        gil is one of those guys like frankie that fights to the level of his opponents. definitely have to give it to him for a good fight, but i disagree on scoring. i had ben everything past round 1, but i completely see how someone could score it otherwise.

  • Tim

    Hey Joe…I like you….but if you were up Henderson’s butt any farther ….we would need a 4 wheel drive to pull you out…….Chael and Brian Stann both thought melendez won the fight…..2 fights with frankie and this fight …..Henderson lost…..get a hair cut stop reading comic books….what a joke.

    • Darin

      I agree. He was making comments like ‘the champ is pulling away’ and I have no idea what he was seeing. I don’t like Gil and wanted to see him lose, but he got screwed on that decision.

      • shakejunt

        got outstruck, dropped multiple times with kicks, and was outposititioned. close fight, but the judges got it right in my opinion.

  • Madmmax

    Good decision. Bendo 3,4,5. Great fight. They’ll fight again

  • Bendo won rounds 2,3,4.Round 5 was a toss up,judge Wade Vierra is owner of an affiliate school of Cesar Gracie geez i wonder why he scored it for Gilbert.

    • Mike mckinney

      I had it the same as you. 2,3,4 for Henderson. I did however wonder if people live, including the judges, could tell that Ben was throwing the elbows. They were fast and even sitting close, it can be tough to see short fast strikes.
      Ceaser needs to start working his guys legs out. His fighters keep looking silly hitting the mat everytime they get hit with a leg kick. It can’t help on the score cards either.

      • candelario

        had rounds 1,2 gil ben 4,5 and 3rd could have gone either way

    • Maddawgmar

      I scored the second for Gil because all things being even, he was coming forward and landed the harde strikes. So I had 1,2,3 for Gil. I guess its how different ppl score fights. The funny thing is on my UFC fantasy pics I picked Henderson by split decision. But felt Gil won ever so slightly.

      I’m a Henderson fan but I am starting to not like him.

  • Supaman

    Michael Bell was the judge who got it on the head, IMO. Bendo won rounds 2,3,4. Melendez got 1,5

    • The only reason Henderson won round 3 was because of the take down in the last 10 seconds, but was that a good reason? I think not.
      What is the point of taking someone down just before the bell rings? They also both did the same amount of damage after the take down.

  • jeremy

    His names Ben NOT Bendo guys.. Bendo sounds sooo stupid lol Hendo works for Dan but Bendo doesn’t work.. its just dumb lol Ben Henderson is the mans name.

    • shakejunt

      it’s an obvious play on words of dan’s nickname and it works, there are higher profile concerns in this sport

  • dgs

    Great fight, could have gone either way. They need to fight again. Only two things really bothered me about that fight:

    1. The constant hair fiddling from Benson, cut that sh!t already bro!

    2. The morons in the crowd with the incessant booing. Reminds me why I don’t attend these kind of live MMA events any more, too many rude jackasses in the audience I have to put up with.

    • LOL! I was thinking…If Henderson lost, it was because he got popped while fixing his hair!!! At least braid it up next time!! It was annoying to watch!

  • John Bunch

    I thought Benson was going to get the decision, but I felt it should have been a draw, if not a win for Gil. I was happy to see Gil bring it big time…I was sort of amazed at all the questions about his skill level and the “Any UFC fighter beats anyone, anytime, any day” caveman talk on forums leading up to the fight. I remember when all the Pride huggers said the UFC was the inferior organization…with the inferior fighters…I think people need to get over name brands and judge fighters based on their performances…and people need to use the eyeball test every once in a while, instead of looking for a familiar name brand, and then fabricating excuses to explain why they support said fighter from said name brand. Hope we get a rematch asap, and in the meantime, I hope Gil gets a top guy and goes from there.

  • EliDeGrate

    It was a draw at best. Not an UFC/MMA fan but i didn’t see anything in this card to make me a fan. The proposal at the end made it seem staged and delegitimized the decision between Benson and Melendez

  • It was a good fight! Henderson did win. I heard the other corner tell Melendez if he won the last round he would win the fight, but I felt that Henderson had the edge all along. Still looking forward to Melendez next match also.I love the way he was catching those kicks from Henderson! I like them both as athletes. Congrats on the engagement too Henderson!


    You would think a champ would marry someone that looks like the ringcard girls? Ben got one ugly girl.Whew?

    • Rory

      Ben girl have big nose!lol