MILWAUKEE, WI, August 14 – Ben Henderson has had more than his share of memorable fights over the course of his career, and his UFC Live co-main event against Jim Miller Sunday night at Bradley Center was no exception. But none had the weight on it that this one did, and “Smooth” stepped up in style, pounding out a three round unanimous decision win over Miller that halted the lightweight contender’s seven fight winning streak and pushed Henderson into the 155-pound title picture. Watch post-fight interview
“Waves pound, the ocean goes, I beat people up, that’s what I do,” smiled Henderson.
Scores were 30-27, 30-26 and 29-28.
From the opening bell, Miller was intent on taking every opportunity he could to finish, even if it included leaping onto Henderson while trying to lock up a choke. Henderson was “Smooth” in his escape as he used it to score a takedown, but Miller’s relentless attack wasn’t slowing, as he tried for a submission from his back and then a guillotine as he sat up. All the while, Henderson kept his hands moving, and he kept himself in the scoring column with his strikes, making it an interesting round to score.
Some toe-to-toe slugging took place as the second round commenced, with Henderson holding a slight edge. The former WEC champ then secured a takedown and fired away from the ground as Miller searched for any limb he could secure. Midway through the round, Miller caught Henderson’s leg briefly, but as Henderson escaped, Miller got back to the feet. After a quick exchange moments later, Henderson took Miller down again, with the bloodied New Jersey native trying for a kimura. Like Houdini, Henderson found an escape hatch, and he ended the round with another series of ground strikes as the crowd erupted.
With Henderson leading the cheers before the final round began, the two lightweight standouts got right back to work, with Miller now sporting a cut on his left cheek as he marched forward. A left dropped Henderson, but it was a flash knockdown, as the Arizonan ended Miller’s follow-up with a takedown. By the midway point of the round, Henderson took Miller’s back, and as Miller tried to slam his way out of trouble, Henderson almost locked in a rear naked choke. Now it was Miller’s turn to show his magic, and though he escaped, it was into a barrage of crushing strikes from Henderson. The courageous Miller took every shot, but his odds of pulling off a miracle comeback late were dwindling, and it was Henderson almost finishing things with a guillotine as the bout entered the final 30 seconds. After pulling loose, Miller engaged with Henderson in some more toe-to-toe action as the Bradley Center rocked, and rightfully so.
With the win, Henderson ups his record to 14-2; Miller falls to 20-3.
CERRONE vs. OLIVEIRA
After a 2-0 start to his UFC career, Brazilian lightweight Charles Oliveira is now 0-2 with 1 NC in his last three bouts after Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone scored a dominating first round TKO win over “Do Bronx.” Watch post-fight interview
Cerrone went on the attack at the opening bell, landing a series of hard kicks before an inadvertent low kick brought a momentary stop to the action. Undeterred, Cerrone continued to walk down his foe with kicks to the body and legs, but Oliveira willingly stood in the pocket with him. That was a mistake, as a hard body shot was followed by a knee as Oliveira tried to pull guard to recover. Cerrone wasn’t having it, and he unleashed a ferocious series of strikes on his grounded opponent, forcing referee Mario Yamasaki to halt the bout at 3:01 of the opening stanza.
With the win, Cerrone improves to 16-3 with 1 NC; Oliveira falls to 14-2 with 1 NC.
LUDWIG vs. SADOLLAH
Veteran lightweight Duane “Bang” Ludwig got a willing foil to show off his world-renowned kickboxing skills in the main card opener, and he delivered, but so did opponent Amir Sadollah, as the two put on an exciting three rounder won via decision by Ludwig. Watch post-fight interview
All three judges scored it 29-28 for Ludwig, who ups his record to 29-11; Sadollah falls to 6-3.
As expected, there was some quality striking from both fighters, with Sadollah working well with his punches and kicks from long range, and Ludwig doing his best work from the clinch. But after the two broke after an extended clinching session, Ludwig found his rhythm and began tagging Sadollah with hard long-distance kicks to the head and body which were mixed in with solid strikes as well. With 90 seconds left, Ludwig staggered Sadollah with a punch to the head, prompting a tie up by Sadollah. After breaking, Ludwig continued to punish Sadollah, this time directing his attack to the body and head, capping off a big round.
The gutsy Sadollah didn’t stray from his gameplan in round two, and he eagerly met Ludwig in the center of the Octagon for more standup action. After the 60 second between rounds break, Sadollah seemed to have his bearings back and he battled Ludwig on even terms when it came to workrate. When it came to power though, Ludwig had a decided edge, rocking his foe with a left to the head with under two minutes left. In the final minute, Ludwig surprisingly shot for a takedown, but was turned away. He didn’t get rattled though, as he simply went back to his standup attack until the bell.
Sadollah finally got his takedown early in the third round, but Ludwig shot back up immediately. The Ultimate Fighter season seven winner kept pressing, landing a hard kick to the head, but just when he would land a few solid shots, Ludwig would fire back with his own combinations. Sadollah would not stop throwing though, despite fatigue and the dangerous opponent across from him, and he looked to briefly jar “Bang” with a punch in the final minute. Ludwig got a takedown in the final minute to add to his score total, but this was a fight that will be remembered by the standup turned in by both men, not any groundwork.
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