It wasn’t exactly a smooth welterweight debut for #5-ranked Benson Henderson, but he’ll take it.
Henderson left victorious after a tough fourth round submission win over up-and-coming star Brandon Thatch in Broomfield, Colorado.
Thatch appeared to be wearing down Henderson with his trademark kicks and strikes, but a Henderson takedown in the third round, changed the momentum for the rest of the bout.
Henderson and Thatch earned Fight-of-the-Night while Neil Magny and Ray Borg earned Performances-of-the-Night. All fighters earned $50,000 USD in bonuses.
It was announced after Max Holloway’s fight that he will face Cub Swanson at the UFC on FOX 15 show April 18th in New Jersey.
Welcome back to The Crossfire.
MMA Crossfire Expert Cassie Wiseman checks in with her thoughts on the main card matchups:
RAY BORG VS CHRIS KELADES
WISEMAN PREDICTION: RAY BORG VIA SUBMISSION
WINNER: RAY BORG VIA KIMURA SUBMISSION
Wiseman: I expected Borg to run through Kelades due to the fact that Kelades had to lose twenty pounds in just a few days. However, Kelades made it a true fight. He showed so much heart and regardless of the altitude, he made it a fight for three full rounds. Ultimately Borg got the win, but he worked for it. The superior grappling of Borg allowed him to dominate for the submission win.
MICHAEL PRAZERES VS KEVIN LEE
WISEMAN PREDICTION: KEVIN PRAZERES VIA UNANIMOUS DECISION (30-27, 29-28, 30-27)
WINNER: KEVIN LEE VIA UNANIMOUS DECISION
Wiseman: I thought this fight would be close, but ultimately I thought Perazas would get the decision. The problem is that Lee is from Colorado, so his cardio was in check. Perazas was gassed and ready to sleep at sooner point in the second round. Lee only came on stronger as the fight went on. In the final round Lee scored takedowns easily, then transitioned into a choke. Crazy, but cardio needs to be in check and if that means doing your training at the actual location, then so be it.
NEIL MAGNY VS KIICHI KUNIMOTO
WISEMAN PREDICTION: NEIL MAGNY VIA UNANIMOUS DECISION
WINNER: NEIL MAGNY VIA REAR-NAKED SUBMISSION CHOKE
Wiseman: Magny came out with the superior aggression and hunger tonight. His cardio and pressure just overwhelmed Kunimoto and slowly you could see the soul of Kunimoto being sucked out. Magny kept the pressure going from the first round and Kunimoto just couldn’t keep up. Magny transitioned for a submission win in the final round. Awesome showing by Magny.
DAN KELLY VS PATRICK WALSH (CATCHWEIGHT 191.5 LBS)
WISEMAN PREDICTION: DAN KELLY VIA SUBMISSION
WINNER: DAN KELLY VIA UNANIMOUS DECISION (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
Wiseman: Surprisingly, Kelly was tense from the start of the fight. He wasn’t throwing combinations until the second round, even then, it was rare. Walsh pushed forward for the majority of the fight, but things started changing in the second round. It wasn’t eventful, but ultimately Kelly outstruck Walsh. Very non-eventful, but just a numbers game for strikes.
#13 MAX HOLLOWAY VS COLE MILLER
WISEMAN PREDICTION: MAX HOLLOWAY VIA TKO
WINNER: MAX HOLLOWAY VIA UNANIMOUS DECISION
Wiseman: The pace Holloway set from the very beginning was incredible. Miller is a beast and always fights with heart, so I knew this was going to be a battle. However, Holloway just came out on fire. His combination, level changes, and pace were just all in tune. Fantastic decision win for Holloway.
#5 BENSON “SMOOTH” HENDERSON VS BRANDON THATCH
WISEMAN PREDICTION: BENSON HENDERSON VIA UNANIMOUS DECISION
WINNER: BENSON HENDERSON VIA 4-TH ROUND REAR-NAKED SUBMISSION
Wiseman: While Thatch came out in the first two rounds and was rag-dolling Henderson, that was expected. What was questionable was the cardio of Thatch if and when things go beyond the first round. What changed in the third round was that Henderson started to use his grappling game to really wear down Thatch. Thatch realized that he could be taken down and that Henderson was better than him on the mat. The fourth round had Henderson do the same thing, transition for back control, and into a rear-naked choke for a tapout. Incredible!