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UFC On FOX 7: Benson Henderson Vs. Gilbert Melendez

Benson Henderson (c) vs. Gilbert Melendez for UFC lightweight championship

We’ve reached the main event, as UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson (18-2) puts his title on the line against former Strikeforce champion Gilbert Melendez (21-2). The referee will be John McCarthy.

Round 1: Intense staredown, but they do touch gloves. As you might have expected a feeling out process to start, as both men known what it takes to go 25 minutes inside the cage. Melendez the first to engage, throwing several inside leg kicks, but Henderson answers with a straight left jab. Melendez catches a kick and trips the champion to the canvas, moving right into the guard. Hook misses from Henderson. Again, Melendez catches a kick, but is unable to score the takedown this time. Another catch by Melendez, who dumps him over and lands a knee to the body.

FightLine scores the round 10-9 for Melendez

Round 2: Melendez starts off the aggressor again, coming in and landing multiple shots at a time. Melendez eats the knee and Hendo fights off the takedown attempt, as he switches to knee strikes instead of kicks. Neither fighter appears very sure of the range, remaining patient and waiting to attack. Henderson with a pair of elbows that get through, maybe doing enough with those two steal back the round late.

FightLine scores the round 10-9 for Henderson

Round 3: Henderson lands a stiff kick that floors Melendez, and the champion appears to have found confidence in his attack. Melendez has him against the fence, but Hendo recovers. Henderson goes combo-takedown attempt, tripping him to the canvas and taking the back before tying him up and landing knees and body punches. Melendez lands, Hendo shoots and he fends it off. Plenty of swelling on the legs of Melendez, and they brawl against the fence. Body shot for Hendo is greeted by an overhand right from Melendez and an elbow. Hendo attack as the bell sounds, throwing a few shots after. That’s been the norm through the opening three rounds of this one.

FightLine scores the round 10-9 for Henderson

Round 4: Jake Shields told Melendez he is up 3-0, and Joe Rogan remarked there is no way for anybody to feel confident in scoring at this point, as this has been a close one. Melendez straight right, and fends off a takedown attempt. Henderson throws a kick and a knee, and both get caught, but do some damage. Melendez fends off another takedown from the former college wrestler. Step-in elbow from Hendo lands and they exchange lefts. Henderson wincing from his left eye, as he may have caught an accidental poke. Henderson sweeps him with a kick and tries to take the back, but the challenger fights to his feet quickly. Change of levels and Melendez lands, but Hendo answers with a kick.

FightLine scores the round 10-9 for Henderson

Round 5: Here we go, as we’ve reached the final round of this title affair. The collarbone/shoulder area of Melendez looks weird, as Rogan believes he may have suffered an injury. Very noticeable on the shoulder, as he was out for several months after suffering a training injury to that area. Body shot by Melendez gets through, as he is throwing everything he can now at Hendo. The champion, now, changes levels and goes to the body with three minutes left. Another inside leg kick, and an elbow, as Hendo owns a plus-60 advantage in total strikes landed. Pair of step-in elbows from Hendo land, as does another, but Melendez continues to push forward. Flying knee from El Nino with just over a minute remaining. Flurry from the challenger as the crowd rises to their feet for the finish. Left from Melendez, another elbow by Hendo, and a body shot from Melendez. Another exchange, and this has been a great championship match.

FightLine scores the round 10-9 for Henderson

Benson Henderson def. Gilbert Melendez via split decision (47-48, 48-47, 48-47) to retain the UFC lightweight championship