Bellator 165- Chandler vs. Henderson


After the main event of Bellator 165, their home-grown talent and lightweight champion “Iron” Michael Chandler either looks strong or their big name signee in former UFC lightweight champion “Smooth” Benson Henderson now looks very weak at 1-2 in Bellator since that signing, going 0-2 in title fights.

While Chandler admittedly wasn’t happy with his performance after the fact (only two of his victories before Bellator 165 had been by points) he will live to see another day as the top man in his division as he improved tonight to 16-3 with 13 stoppages.

Henderson has his back against the wall early as Chandler crowds him, using minor shots to set up a high kick. He unleashes another before a straight right hand. Henderson slips on his own head kick attempt and Chandler again mimics the kick while using his left hand to keep the challenger at bay. A pair of rights seem to buckle Henderson, an uppercut follows, and then he gets the better of Henderson when they clinch.

Chandler can’t fire off a kick with his man on the canvas but an opening is there for an attack–insert ground ‘n’ pound. He takes the back and lands the move of the fight in a massive overhead suplex. Henderson stays grounded for the rest of the round, narrowly avoiding being finished with a guillotine choke.

“Smooth” seems largely tentative but does catch the Power MMA Team product with a foot to the body the next time he shoots for a takedown. Henderson drops him for a brief moment thereafter. They appear even going into the third but Henderson looks to have been dropped late in the same way as the titleholder.

Body kicks are the story of the early third for Henderson as Chandler looks to box and leaves himself unprotected. Midway through and The UFC vet is evading once more and is back in the guillotine. The Mizzou Tiger loses the choke when Henderson goes into half guard. Henderson gives up his back. They squirm but Chandler moves further ahead with elbows as Henderson is wrapped around his legs. They trade the guillotine position just before the fourth round.

The frame kicks off with a Chandler power slam. He looks briefly for a rear-naked choke but winds up on his back with Henderson looking for a kimura. Chandler counters with continued ground ‘n’ pound. Henderson is up as quickly as he is put back down by the wrestler.

As for the fifth round, see Chandler’s post-fight comments.

“Sorry to everybody who’s disappointed. I will get better, I will come back, don’t be mad at me, I just bring it. This isn’t all about brains, you gotta fight with your balls out here…I’m not happy with my performance, you will see the best Michael Chandler next fight, thank you guys for all coming out.”

Michael Chandler def. Benson Henderson via Split Decision (48-48, 46-48 and 48-47)

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