Benson Henderson vs. Gilbert Melendez
Referee in charge of the action is John McCarthy. Henderson opens southpaw, Melendez is orthodox. Leg kick lands for Henderson, but Melendez lands a jab and inside kick of his own. Left hand for Henderson snaps Melendez's head back. Melendez now in Henderson's guard after a Henderson slip, but Henderson working his way toward the fence. Henderson eats a knee for his efforts, but he's back up. Another hard leg kick from Henderson, but Melendez catches it. Henderson avoids the takedown and is now pressing Melendez into the fence. The two separate. Hard, chopping inside leg kick for Henderson. Melendez responds, but his wasn't as hard. Melendez catches a kick from and throws Henderson to the mat where he then lands a knee to the body. Left hook counter from Melendez finds the mark.
Melendez charging forward and winging shots, but mostly missing. Henderson scores with a knee, but circling into Melendez's powerhand. Henderson scores another knee to the body and stuffs a takedown attempt. Henderson jabs Melendez's thigh. One-two for Henderson partially scores. Henderson and Melendez exchange leg kicks and Melendez is still stalking. Henderson attempts a double, but can't even get close. Left hand for Henderson lands to the body. Both fighters trade punches in the center, but Henderson lands a knee. Then he eats a right, but Melendez eats several hard elbows. Henderson doing a lot of the stalking now.
The fighters trade lefts to open the round and Henderson lands a hard inside leg kick. Melendez with a shot to the body. Henderson switching stances now and drops Melendez with an outside leg kick, but Melendez climbs back to his feet. Now Henderson scores with an uppercut. Melendez lands a hard right hand and another. Henderson lands a short punch and then dives for a double. He temporarily gets it, but Melendez is fighting it. Melendez stands, but Henderson scores a knee to the body. Henderson with an outside leg kick. Left hand lands for Henderson, but Melendez stuffs a subsequent takedown attempt. Body kick lands for Henderson. Henderson clinches with Melendez and the two exchange wild strikes against the fence. Body shot for Henderson. Left hand for Henderson, but Melendez lands a leg and then body kick. Henderson drops Melendez with another leg kick.
Henderson lands a body kick. Another hard inside leg kick lands for Henderson. The clinch and both whiff on punches as they separate. Melendez lands a right hand and then stuffs a takedown attempt. Middle kick again from Henderson and he stuffs Melendez's shot. HARD outside leg kick from Henderson and he lands a knee plus stuff Henderson's shot. Left elbow scores for Henderson as he steps in. Left hand grazes Melendez's chin, but El Nino scores one of his own. Side kick from Henderson lands on Melendez's thigh. Henderson lands a kick on Melendez as Melendez throws and the Strikeforce champ slips. Henderson pounces, but can't keep Melendez down. ANOTHER inside leg kick from Henderson. Melendez lands two hard hard body shots and a right upstairs.
Middle kick for Henderson lands. Jumping switch kick misses for Henderson. Hard inside leg kick scores and it partially off balances Melendez. Melendez stalking hard, but so far can't get anything off. Left hand to the body for Henderson. Hard inside leg kick for Henderson finds the mark again. Left elbow thrown by Henderson, but misses. Melendez pressuring hard but not landing much and Henderson scores another leg kick. Middle kick caught by Melendez and he scores a right hand. Melendez throws and knee and it's harder than the one Henderson fired back. Right hand now by Melendez. Melendez more aggressive with his boxing and scoring.
Ben Henderson def. Gilbert Melendez via split decision (48-47 Melendez, 48-47 Henderson, 48-47 Henderson)
It was close but I didn't think it was a split decision, I thought he took 3 rounds. That said, I also was disappointed that Benson threw that cheap shot after the bell signaled the end of round 2.
Anyway, great night of fights, all in all.