Benson HendersonGilbert Melendez has long been considered one of the top light fighters on the planet. Fighting outside the UFC, however, he never had the opportunity to try and prove he was thee best lightweight.

The outgoing Strikeforce champion, Melendez was granted that opportunity at UFC on Fox 7 on Saturday night at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif., when he challenged UFC champion Benson Henderson.

Unfortunately for Melendez, he came about as close as a fighter could get to the title without taking it.

Neither man dominated the fight, but Melendez started off strong early, often dictating the pace, fending off Henderson’s kicks, and frequently beating the champ to the punch.

Melendez kept pressing into round two, Henderson seemingly unable to ratchet his tempo up to its usual frenetic pace.

Once he caught on that Melendez was catching many of his body kicks, Henderson shifted gears midway through the fight, starting to go Melendez’s legs more frequently, and kicking them out from under the challenger on a couple of occasions.

While Melendez kept pressing, trying to move the fight where he wanted it, and firing off his punch combinations, Henderson varied his tactics as the fight wore on. In particular, he started employing some harsh elbows that kept Melendez from going inside the champ’s punching range as much.

Midway through the fourth round, the fight seemed to shift quite a bit. Henderson looked much more in command, while Melendez seemed to slow if ever so slightly.

Benson Henderson vs. Gilbert Melendez scorecard

(Click to enlarge)

In the end, the fight couldn’t have been much closer, Henderson eking out a split decision victory, two judges scoring it 48-47 in his favor, one with the same score in Melendez’s favor.

Henderson took advantage of his good fortune and looked to add to it after the fight, calling his girlfriend into the Octagon and dropping to one knee.

“I’m not perfect, I never have been, but you make me happier every single day, more than any man has the right to be,” said Henderson before taking one last swing. “I love you. Will you marry me?”

This decision didn’t sound near as razor-thin as the fight’s decision, as his girlfriend immediately answered, “Yes, I will.”

“It was a tough fight. We all know how tough Gilbert Melendez is,” said Henderson in his post-fight interview following his post-fight proposal, but added, “There’s a lot bigger things than fighting. I had to take care of one of those things just now to make sure she’s in my life for the rest of my life.”

view original article >>
Report here if this news is invalid.

Related News

Leslie Smith vs. Irene Aldana targeted for UFC on FOX 22

  • 25 days ago
  • 13 views

Invicta FC women’s bantamweight Irene Aldana is octagon bound.Filed under: News, UFC read news >>

UFC Fighter George Sullivan Accepts One-Year USADA Suspension | MMAWeekly.com

  • 25 days ago
  • 3 views

After being pulled from UFC on FOX 20 in July, welterweight fighter George Sullivan has accepted a one-year suspension from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. read news >>

The Question: If Conor McGregor Wins UFC Lightweight Title, What Happens Next?

  • 25 days ago
  • 5 views

When UFC 205 hits the bright lights of New York, the promotion’s biggest star will fittingly stand in the spotlight as both the headliner and the main attraction. The latter designation is true for b read news >>

Gilbert Melendez thinks Nate Diaz will fight UFC 205's McGregor vs. Alvarez winner

  • 23 days ago
  • 16 views

Gilbert Melendez echoes his colleagues who aren’t that upset Conor McGregor is getting a shot at Eddie Alvarez’s lightweight title.Filed under: Featured Videos, News, UFC, Videos read news >>

The Question: Are Star-Studded Events Like UFC 205 MMA's New Normal?

  • 22 days ago
  • 0 views

After an uncharacteristic three-week break and a well-regarded but low-profile cable TV event last week, the UFC begins its madcap push toward the new year in style this weekend. Actually, that quali read news >>

Bellator 165 headliners Michael Chandler and Benson Henderson open to welterweight conquests

  • 17 days ago
  • 17 views

Bellator lightweight champ Michael Chandler and title challenger Benson Henderson aren’t looking to be the Viacom-owned promotion’s Conor McGregor, but the idea of chasing another belt isn’t out of t read news >>

Stream or download MMAjunkie Radio #2328 with Henderson, McCall, Pulver, more

  • 16 days ago
  • 5 views

Stream or download Wednesday’s edition of MMAjunkie Radio with Benson Henderson, Ian McCall, Jens Pulver, Brian Butler, Keri Anne Taylor-Melendez and Adam Piccolotti.Filed under: Bellator, News, Radi read news >>

With military service planned, 2017 could be Bellator 165 headliner Benson Henderson's final year

  • 16 days ago
  • 30 views

Bellator lightweight title challenger Benson Henderson turned 33 just two days shy of the 10-year anniversary of his first professional MMA fight. This birthday is a little more significant than othe read news >>

Bellator champ Michael Chandler on Benson Henderson: 'He looks afraid to pull the trigger'

  • 15 days ago
  • 16 views

Bellator lightweight champion Michael Chandler was two months into his professional career when Benson Henderson won his first title. Still, he figured their paths would cross eventually anyway.Filed read news >>

Bellator 165 is Benson Henderson's Career-Defining Moment (video) | MMAWeekly.com

  • 15 days ago
  • 14 views

On a quest for his third MMA promotional belt, follow Benson Henderson before he meets Michael Chandler for the Bellator lightweight belt. read news >>