UFC on Fox 7 Results: ‘Henderson vs. Melendez’ Play-by-Play & Updates



Sherdog.com will report from HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif., at approximately 4 p.m. ET/1 p.m. PT with play-by-play and live results of UFC on Fox 7, which is headlined by a lightweight title fight pitting champion Benson Henderson against challenger Gilbert Melendez.

Check out the MMA Forums to discuss the card or enter your comments and predictions below. Have a question for Sherdog.com's medical expert? Tweet The Fight Doctor via @FightMedicine.

Round 1
Mike Beltran is the referee for tonight’s opening bout. Romero moves around the outside in a wide southpaw stance, stepping back, out of the way of Starks’ punches. The middleweights trade leg kicks and Romero goes up high with a side kick before faking a shot. Romero jumps just as his opponent leans forward and cracks Starks’ jaw with a perfectly placed flying knee. Starks crashes to the ground and is powerless to defends as Romero turns out his lights with thunderous left hands. Yoel Romero Palacio gets the win via knockout at 1:32 of round one. Round 1
Herb Dean is the referee for this lightweight bout. The shorter Bowling picks at Njokuani with a quick left hook and an inside leg kick. Another left connects for Bowling, clipping the backpedaling Njokuani on the jaw. Njokuani ducks a punch and socks Bowling in the ribs before backing out again. Uppercut lands for Njokuani but Bowling answers right back with a hook, then chases down the “Assassin” with a leg kick. Njokuani snaps off a couple jabs and counters a Bowling straight with a body kick. The next kick from Bowling is caught, and the lightweights exchange glancing blows before splitting. With 90 seconds left in the round, Bowling plows Njokuani down with a high double-leg in the middle of the cage. They scoot over toward the fence, Bowling working to free up some space in Njokuani’s closed guard. Njokuani posts and stands, still held on the fence. Njokuani spins Bowling around and zaps him with a knee and a speedy punch. Another pair of straight right hands close out the round for Njokuani.

Tristen Critchfield scores the round 10-9 Njokuani
Chris Nelson scores the round 10-9 Njokuani
Mike Whitman scores the round 10-9 Njokuani

Round 2
Njokuani digs a couple shots to Bowling’s ribs as he moves around the outside, mixing in a couple leg and body kicks. Bowling answers with a chopping leg kick of his own and swipes with a right hand. Bowling comes in to jab and gets popped with a counter. He keeps moving forward on Njokuani, who feints a couple knees to get Bowling to think twice. Bowling charges in to strike again, and this time Njokuani is waiting with a clean left hook. Bowling collapses to the ground and Njokuani strides off, allowing Herb Dean to wave off the bout at 2:52 of round two.

Round 1
After 40 seconds of feeling out, Tillashaw steps inside and gets caught behind the ear by a Viana left hook. Dillashaw drives forward on a single-leg, takes Viana down and secures back control in a scramble. Viana stands up with Dillashaw’s arms still wrapped around him and Dillashaw stands to clinch him against the cage. Nice elbow strike gets through for Viana in the clinch, and “Wolverine” is warned for grabbing the fence as Dillashaw works to take him down. Viana breaks free with just over three minutes left; he comes forward on Dillashaw with wild punches and gets tagged with a stinging counter. The pace slows midway through the round with Dillashaw trying a couple high kicks that Viana goes underneath. Dillashaw tries another single and gets shoved off this time. Dillashaw misses a head kick, resets and slugs Viana with a heavy straight right down the middle. Viana pops back up, but he’s wobbly, and Dillashaw is all over him. The next right hook on Viana’s temple nearly takes the legs out from under him again. The Brazilian staggers backwards with Dillashaw throwing bombs. Most of Dillashaw’s punches are being deflected until Viana falls down at the foot of the cage. Dillashaw is able to unload on his prone opponent there, forcing referee John McCarthy to wave this one off at 4:22 of round one. Round 1
Masvidal takes the outside, bouncing around out of the reach of the rangier Means, who connects with a body kick toward the end of a slow opening minute. Means sends half a dozen straight lefts down the middle, eating a hook or two in return but also snapping back Masvidal’s head. The lightweights square off in the middle now, and Means clips Masvidal with a spinning elbow which Masvidal shrugs off. Masvidal finishes a three-punch combo with a good right hand and kicks Means in the gut. With just under 1:40 remaining, Masvidal takes Means down with a single in the middle of the cage. Means gets back up and moves onto the fence, where Masvidal tries to secure the back. Means turns out of it and eats a left as they get off the cage. Means is denied on a takedown attempt with 30 seconds left. He makes Masvidal pay with a body shot, but a leaping knee proves ill-advised, as Masvidal tags him coming in with a bunch of punches.

Tristen Critchfield scores the round 10-9 Masvidal
Chris Nelson scores the round 10-9 Masvidal
Mike Whitman scores the round 10-9 Masvidal

Round 2
Means catches Masvidal with a nice left straight early on. Masvidal gets in on a single, puts Means on the cage and then takes him to the floor. Means is active from his back, attacking with elbows as he swings his legs around for a submission attempt. Masvidal stands and gets popped with an upkick which affords Means time to stand. Masvidal connects with a body shot and puts Means on the cage again. Another takedown and now Masvidal is stacking up, landing shots from on top and avoiding upkicks. Means throws up his legs, maybe thinking armbar, but Masvidal slips them, forcing Means to turtle. Masvidal stays on Means’ back as he stands; Means twists around, only to be taken down again. Again, Means is busy from his back with elbows, but now Masvidal is giving him some hard elbows in return. Down to the last minute of the round, Means is stinging Masvidal with elbows that have “Gamebred” cut open. Masvidal postures up in the last 20 seconds and unloads with ground-and-pound to close out the round.

Tristen Critchfield scores the round 10-9 Masvidal
Chris Nelson scores the round 10-9 Masvidal
Mike Whitman scores the round 10-9 Masvidal

Round 3
Means clips Masvidal with a left as they move around the outside, then goes to the body, slaps with a right and dings Masvidal’s chin again with the left. He catches the shooting Masvidal with a knee, but Masvidal stays after the takedown and hits it against the fence. Means drills him with a couple elbows before Masvidal turns to take the back. Means is back on his feet and shoves Masvidal away with just under three minutes to go. Means hits a standing elbow, but Masvidal comes forward to hit a takedown. More elbows from Means on the bottom, giving way to Masvidal’s postured-up ground-and-pound. Means is going wild on the bottom, throwing elbows with vicious intent as Masvidal holds him on the ground. Masvidal stands and comes back down to Means’ open guard, allowing Means to put off the fence and hit a sweep. Means briefly mounts Masvidal with 10 seconds left, gets pushed off but still finishes the fight throwing heavy elbows on top.

Tristen Critchfield scores the round 10-9 Means (29-28 Masvidal)
Chris Nelson scores the round 10-9 Means (29-28 Masvidal)
Mike Whitman scores the round 10-9 Means (29-28 Masvidal)

Official result: All three judges -- Derek Cleary, Edward Collantes and Steven Davis -- score the bout 29-28 for the winner by unanimous decision, Jorge Masvidal.

Round 1
Benavidez looks to chase down Uyenoyama, who backpedals for 45 seconds until Benavidez traps him on the fence. Uyenoyama shoots and misses, escapes and throws a body kick. The kick is caught and Benavidez trips him to the ground, slugging with punches at the same time. Benavidez holds the leg and stands over Uyenoyama kicking for a moment before letting the Shooto vet back to his feet. A low kick catches Uyenoyama on the cup, but he takes only a few seconds to recover. Ref Herb Dean restarts them and Benavidez catches a kicking Uyenoyama with a right hand. Uyenoyama drops to the ground, gets back up and takes another left. Uyenoyama lands a couple body kicks but has to cover up as Benavidez marches forward throwing combinations. A right high kick behind the ear drops Uyenoyama along the fence. He recovers quickly and pummels with Benavidez on the fence as they stand back up. Benavidez hits a takedown with 70 seconds to go. Uyenoyama is allowed back up by Benavidez, who is bleeding from the corner of his right eye. Benavidez stays on the aggressive to finish the round without landing anything significant.

Tristen Critchfield scores the round 10-9 Benavidez
Chris Nelson scores the round 10-9 Benavidez
Mike Whitman scores the round 10-9 Benavidez

Round 2
Benavidez tags his man with a pair of right hands in the opening moments of round two. One minute in, another overhand right sends Uyenoyama stumbling backwards, but he comes back for more. A flurry of punches and kicks from Benavidez allows Uyenoyama to grab a leg and spin to take the back. Benavidez uses the cage to defend, then turns and puts Uyenoyama on the ground. Benavidez wants Uyenoyama back up, and they go back to striking with 2:30 remaining. The Team Alpha Male fighter misses with a head kick, but his left hand is still getting through. Benavidez is just picking apart Uyenoyama, continually moving forward and catching him with speedy punches and body kicks. One liver kick has Uyenoyama covering up and trying to circle away. Benavidez keeps chasing him and adds a scorching left hook to the liver that makes Uyenoyama collapse.

Round 1
Jury lands a right, countered by a Nijem left in the center of the cage. Jury hits a takedown, but Nijem drives on a leg, allowing Jury to sprawl and isolate Nijem’s right arm. They’re in a stalemate, with Nijem in side control, but Jury controlling his arm and body. Jury ditches the arm and stands to reverse Nijem against the cage before changing levels for a double-leg. He takes Nijem to the ground, where Jury jumps on his kneeling opponent’s back. Jury tries a body triangle, but his angle is awkward and Nijem dumps him to the ground to take top position. Jury swings his legs for an armbar, so Nijem stacks up against the fence to wait out the attempt. Nijem gets his arm loose with 1:40 left on the clock, and now he’s taken Jury’s back. Nijem pulls him to the ground and tries to get hooks in; he can’t, and Jury is able to twist around and take top position again. Nijem tries to single-leg Jury down, but Jury spins out and almost catches Nijem with an inverted triangle near the end of a back-and-forth opening round.

Tristen Critchfield scores the round 10-9 Jury
Chris Nelson scores the round 10-9 Jury
Mike Whitman scores the round 10-9 Jury

Round 2
Nijem catches a finger in his left eye and turns his back. Ref McCarthy doesn’t step in right away, so Jury comes forward and throws a kick to the body, drawing boos from the crowd. Nijem takes a few seconds to recoup and the lightweights are quickly back to work. Nijem is trying to work his jab while Jury swings power punches, neither man landing clean. Charging in to throw an overhand left, Nijem runs straight into a counter overhand right from Jury. The punch has Nijem unconscious on impact, falling flat on his back in the middle of the cage. Jury crashes down with one additional right hand before McCarthy can intervene. It’s a one-punch knockout for Myles Jury at 1:02 of the second round.

Round 1
The taller Carmont is pushing forward on Larkin, who lands hard leg kicks despite being on his back foot. Carmont’s body kicks are mostly being deflected, while Larkin keeps adding on leg kicks as the middleweights find their range. Two minute in, Carmont gets inside on a high double-leg on the fence, switches to a single-leg and has to defend against a guillotine. Carmont momentarily takes down Larkin, who pops back up and keeps defending. Carmont has Larkin’s foot on his shoulder, while Larkin hops on one leg and taps Carmont with punches. Carmont keeps after the single, eventually relenting after catching some elbows from the defending Larkin. They split and resume striking with about a minute to go, nothing big landing for either man down the stretch.

Tristen Critchfield scores the round 10-9 Larkin
Chris Nelson scores the round 10-9 Larkin
Mike Whitman scores the round 10-9 Larkin

Round 2
Larkin is buzzing Carmont’s head with high kicks, still moving backward as the Tristar Gym representative lurches forward. Carmont lands an inside leg kick, countered by a spinning oblique kick from Larkin, then another. Larkin catches Carmont coming in with a straight left, backs up and tags him with an uppercut as Carmont shoots in. Keeping after the takedown, Carmont puts Larkin on the cage with a single-leg. Larkin elbows Carmont in the head until three minute in, when the Frenchman relents and they break. Larkin keeps punishing Carmont with leg kicks, eats a jab, and leg-kicks some more. Another takedown attempt from Carmont is denied by a Larkin sprawl, but the second effort allows Carmont to finish the double-leg and close the round on top.

Tristen Critchfield scores the round 10-9 Larkin
Chris Nelson scores the round 10-9 Larkin
Mike Whitman scores the round 10-9 Larkin

Round 3
Carmont trips his opponent to the ground briefly, but long enough to try and take the back as Larkin stands. Larkin scrapes him off against the cage, gets tossed to the ground and hops up again to resume striking. Carmont ducks a wide punch to hit another takedown in the middle of the cage. Larkin throws up his legs immediately, but he loses the omoplata as Carmont turns to set in Larkin’s full guard. Larkin pulls rubber guard and the action slows. Carmont is in half-guard now, and Larkin grabs his arm from underneath to crank a kimura. Larkin can’t get the tap, but does use the armlock to sweep and escape to his feet. Forty seconds left now and Larkin picks at Carmont with kicks, finishing with a flashy attempted cartwheel kick that misses.

Tristen Critchfield scores the round 10-9 Carmont (29-28 Larkin)
Chris Nelson scores the round 10-9 Larkin (30-27 Larkin)
Mike Whitman scores the round 10-9 Carmont (29-28 Larkin)

Official result: All three judges -- Michael Bell, Derek Cleary and Edward Collantes -- score the bout 29-28 for the winner by unanimous decision, Francis Carmont.

Round 1
Mendes strikes first with an outside leg kick that gets Elkins twisted up. Elkins is throwing heat over the top, looking to counter the shorter man when Mendes comes inside. A Mendes right hand catches Elkins, who stumbles backwards toward the fence. Mendes has to rush across the cage to cash in on the opportunity, but when he reaches his opponent, he makes it count. A huge right hand goes off Elkins’ temple, sending him diving toward the fence. Elkins is still struggling to get to his feet when ref Herb Dean comes to save him, giving Mendes the win at 1:08 of round one. Round 1
Mein takes the center of the cage and decks Brown with a standing elbow as he steps to the outside. He backs Brown away with a pair of rangy punches, but Brown comes back to sting him with a hard left. Brown is aggressive now, cracking Mein with another left and chasing him around the outside. Mein is on the retreat, dodging punishment from Brown, until he slows Brown with a right off the cage. A left hook stops Brown for a moment, but he catches a low kick from Mein and shoves him off. Mein loses his mouthpiece and the action is paused. They resume with about 3:20 remaining and Brown closes in on his man with a left hook. Both men swing and miss, then Brown -- who is bleeding from the corner of his right eye -- tags Mein with a left. Brown has Mein in trouble on the fence with more punches, then he grabs the Thai plum and works knees up the middle. They break and meet in the middle, where Mein unleashes a combo which finishes with a brutal left hand to Brown’s liver. Mein is on top with 90 seconds left, slamming Brown with left hands. Brown grabs hold of the Canadian’s wrists and slows the offense, then throws up his legs for a triangle. Brown has it in deep, but Mein goes to his knees and slips loose with 40 seconds left. Brown stands to attack Mein with nasty knees to the body and elbows in close quarters at the end of a thrilling opening round.

Tristen Critchfield scores the round 10-9 Brown
Chris Nelson scores the round 10-9 Brown
Mike Whitman scores the round 10-9 Brown

Round 2
Brown sticks Mein with a stiff right straight as they move to the outside quickly. Brown swarms with knees which mostly go off Mein’s forearms; one gets through, however, and it seems to have busted up Mein’s nose. Mein is on his knees, spraying blood on the canvas while Brown unloads with punches. Ref John McCarthy calls for Mein to fight back; he doesn’t, and Brown finishes off the youngster with thumping elbows to the body. Matt Brown scores an impressive TKO win at the 60-second mark of round two.

Round 1
There’s no touch of gloves as the lightweights meet in the middle and Nate Diaz immediately begins jawing at Thomson. The former Strikeforce champ is feeding Diaz a steady stream of leg kicks early as they circle. Diaz walks down Thomson, eating another leg kick for the chance to clinch up. Thomson won’t be clinched and shoves off to continue circling and leg-kicking. Thomson catches Diaz with a right high kick, foot on face, but Diaz walks through it and keeps taunting his slippery opponent. The next high kick from Thomson lands on Diaz’s neck, and Diaz catches the leg to take Thomson down. Thomson is right back up, grinning and backpedaling as he evades Diaz’s boxing. Diaz sticks a jab, follows through with a left and Thomson is stumbling, though he may have caught his foot on the cage. Diaz catches up and clinches Thomson on the fence briefly before being reversed and shoved off. Thomson catches Diaz with a couple right hands before dipping away. Diaz is winding up his fist, but not letting it go when he has Thomson backed into a corner. Now it’s Diaz with a ripping shot to the body and a clinch on the fence. Thomson reverses and trips Diaz down with 30 seconds remaining. Heavy elbows from Thomson on top have Diaz rolling through and back to his feet. Thomson looks like he wants to ride out the last few seconds, but Diaz has other ideas; the Stockton native is still trying to have a word with Thomson when the round ends.

Tristen Critchfield scores the round 10-9 Thomson
Chris Nelson scores the round 10-9 Thomson
Mike Whitman scores the round 10-9 Thomson

Round 2
Diaz moves in to clinch up and catches Thomson on the cup with a low knee. Thomson grimaces and ref Mike Beltran pauses the action; Diaz does not agree with the decision and walks off shaking his head. When they resume, Diaz is clowning on Thomson with some exaggerated high kicks. Thomson ties him up on the cage, now one minute into the round, and bashes Diaz with a short elbow on the exit. Diaz answers with a right hand, walks Thomson down and hits a takedown of his own. Diaz stands and slugs Thomson with a left before grabbing a guillotine, which is quickly slipped by Thomson. They break and Diaz is streaming blood from his right eye now, though he’s still the one moving forward. Thomson clinches up again, lands more elbows inside before breaking off and taking a short left from Diaz. Ninety seconds left now and Diaz wipes blood away from his left eye. Thomson catches him leaning left and smashes Diaz with a clean right high kick to the head. Diaz is out on his feet, stumbling backwards and then falling down as Thomson batters him with a flurry of punches. More and more punches land for Thomson on the ground as Diaz just rolls around, trying to stay in the fight. Diaz gets to his knees, but he’s not offering anything in return, and ref Mike Beltran has seen enough. The ref halts the bout at 3:44 of round two, just as Diaz’s corner was throwing in the towel.

Round 1
Mir uses kicks to back Cormier toward the cage, then Cormier comes off the cage to close the distance. He eats a knee in the process, but Cormier clinches up and blasts Mir with an uppercut on the fence. Cormier drags Mir by the neck for a few feet, then just misses with a knee. Mir’s face is reddened already, and another punch from Cormier doesn’t help. Now it’s the clinch from Cormier again, and a hard knee to Mir’s body. Mir is covering up as Cormier rips a pair of hooks to the former champ’s ribs. Cormier is just mugging Mir in the clinch, working the body with knees before switching to hard uppercuts to Mir’s left side. Mir finally gets off the fence with 1:40 remaining, but Cormier has him back on there 20 seconds later. Cormier slips on a high kick and defends a guillotine from Mir as he stands back up.

Tristen Critchfield scores the round 10-9 Cormier
Chris Nelson scores the round 10-9 Cormier
Mike Whitman scores the round 10-9 Cormier

Round 2
Cormier leaps into the air with an athletic switch kick that misses but draws an impressed look from Mir. They’re back on the fence quickly, Cormier working more knees to the body in the clinch while Mir just hangs there, unable to break loose. Cormier releases with 3:15 remaining in the round and backs out. He steps in and pops Mir with a right before clinching up again. Mir tries some knees, can’t score and eats a short elbow up top. Cormier lets him go again, tries to tie up in the middle and gets the slip. Mir can’t resist the next clinch attempt, and Cormier again pushes him to the outside. Ref Herb Dean calls for action and Cormier obliges, ripping a pair of hard right hands to Mir’s face as they disengage. One minute left and Mir tries to come inside behind a long jab. Cormier isn’t having it, stepping off to hit Mir with an uppercut to the body and then putting him on the fence again. They break with 15 seconds left and time runs out.

Tristen Critchfield scores the round 10-9 Cormier
Chris Nelson scores the round 10-9 Cormier
Mike Whitman scores the round 10-9 Cormier

Round 3
Mir tries some high kicks which bounce off Cormier’s arms. They tie up, for once with Mir on the outside, but Cormier quickly rectifies that situation. Mir staggers off as “DC” releases and zaps the ex-champ with a right hand. Cormier gives him time to recover, though, and now Mir is coming forward, catching Cormier with a kick to the body and a right before being clinched again. Mir lands a knee to the body in the clinch; Cormier answers with a ripping right to the ribs. Cormier catches a body kick, turns Mir around and nearly captures his back. Mir spins out and Cormier has to settle for a body shot and a left up top before pushing Mir into the fence again. The ref calls for work again before breaking them up with half the round remaining. Mir lands a left kick to the body, tries to move in to add some more strikes and gets spun to the ground. Cormier lets him up and clips Mir with an uppercut, then clinches again. Mir’s back is still on the fence as the fight enters its last minute, and now Dean calls for work again. Cormier gets busy with right hands and uppercuts, breaking off to attack and then grabbing hold of Mir again. They’re restarted with 30 seconds left. Mir sticks a right hand and backs Cormier against the fence, his forearm across the wrestler’s throat just before time runs out.

Tristen Critchfield scores the round 10-9 Cormier (30-27 Cormier)
Chris Nelson scores the round 10-9 Cormier (30-27 Cormier)
Mike Whitman scores the round 10-9 Cormier (30-27 Cormier)

Official result: All three judges -- Michael Bell, Derek Cleary and Steven Davis -- score the bout 30-27 for the winner by unanimous decision, Daniel Cormier.

Round 1
Referee “Big” John McCarthy is the third man in the cage for tonight’s main event. Melendez lands an inside leg kick and tries to slug over the top when Henderson answers with a low kick outside. Melendez kicks inside again but this time is staggered by a straight counter from the champ. One minute into the round, Melendez hits a takedown and goes down to Henderson’s open guard. Henderson gets to the fence, posts and stands, eating a knee from Melendez as he does. Melendez catches a kick and rushes Henderson into the fence, then leaps on the champ with a flying knee to the body. Henderson turns it around and presses Melendez against the cage with a body lock. Melendez gets free after defending a trip and socks Henderson with a left hook on the break. Henderson lands a hard leg kick inside, takes one in return from the challenger. Melendez catches a kick, tosses Henderson to the base of the cage and drills him with a knee to the body. Henderson is back up to hit Melendez with a straight left and a leg kick. Henderson tries to jab and gets countered by a Melendez left hook, then tries a low kick and is tossed to the ground by Melendez as the horn sounds.

Tristen Critchfield scores the round 10-9 Melendez
Chris Nelson scores the round 10-9 Melendez
Mike Whitman scores the round 10-9 Melendez

Round 2
Henderson swings and misses with a low kick; Melendez gives the champ one inside, followed by a right hand. Henderson lands a left straight in an exchange and has another low kick caught. Melendez backs his man off with a shot to the body and the action slows as Henderson moves around the outside. Henderson steps in with a knee and defends a takedown as Melendez grabs the leg. They trade positions and now it’s Henderson in the middle of the cage, striking out on the challenger. Melendez catches a leg kick and shoves Henderson backward, can’t capitalize as punches go off Henderson’s arm. Down to the final minute and Melendez has reset in the middle as he moves Henderson around the perimeter with leg kicks and quick punches. Both men are landing in a furious exchange in the middle, Henderson scoring with elbows and Melendez with right hands. Henderson puts a jab in Melendez’s face, answered by a right hand from Melendez to close out the round.

Tristen Critchfield scores the round 10-9 Melendez
Chris Nelson scores the round 10-9 Melendez
Mike Whitman scores the round 10-9 Henderson

Round 3
Henderson opens up with leg kicks and then backpedals to avoid Melendez’s strikes. A kick to Melendez’s lead angle sweeps the Strikeforce champ’s leg, but Melendez is right back up. Henderson scores nicely in an exchange, but he eats a huge right hand from Melendez as he comes in to strike. Henderson looks hurt briefly, taking another right from the challenger, but he seems recovered with 3:00 left as he shoots a double-leg on the fence. Melendez stands and gets pushed against the fence, where Henderson lands knees to the body and a few punches before releasing the clinch. Henderson zaps Melendez with a straight left and shoots after taking a hard combo from Melendez in return. Melendez denies the shot, so Henderson walks him down and then moves in to throw. Just as before, Melendez is quicker to the punch and picks Henderson off with a right hand. They trade in the clinch momentarily before breaking. Henderson counters a low kick with a standing elbow. Melendez lands an insde low kick, but then has leg kicked out from under him. Henderson falls down, too, and finishes the round slugging at Melendez from on top.

Tristen Critchfield scores the round 10-9 Henderson
Chris Nelson scores the round 10-9 Henderson
Mike Whitman scores the round 10-9 Melendez

Round 4
The lightweights clash heads as they step to the middle and exchange, and they’re warned to mind their heads by ref McCarthy. Henderson scores with a hard leg kick inside and turns away Melendez when he tries to tie up. Melendez lands a glancing straight and denies Henderson’s shot. Melendez catches a body kick but can’t bring down Henderson, who lands a knee to the body before exiting. Henderson lands another kick to the bruised lead leg of Melendez, then has a takedown attempt thwarted by the Cesar Gracie protégée. Henderson lands a standing elbow, answered by a snappy Melendez combo. Henderson is targeting Melendez’s thigh now, then sweeps the leg and almost secures back control. Melendez slips out and gets back to his feet, taking another slapping leg kick outside with 60 seconds left in the round. Melendez is moving the champ around the outside now, slugging Henderson with a pair of rights to the body and then clinching to strike up top. The horn sounds and this one is going to the final round.

Tristen Critchfield scores the round 10-9 Henderson
Chris Nelson scores the round 10-9 Henderson
Mike Whitman scores the round 10-9 Henderson

Round 5
Henderson almost takes the leg out from under Melendez again. The challenger stays up, dodges an uppercut but eats a left hand as he backs off. Melendez pressures Henderson on the outside, clipping with a right hook, then Henderson turns the tables and gets on the outside. Henderson lands his inside leg kick-standing elbow combination again before circling outside and forcing Melendez to give chase. Another leg kick, another elbow and Henderson blocks an uppercut from the challenger as the clock goes under two minutes remaining. Melendez leaps in with a knee to the body, backs off and allows Henderson to get off the fence. Melendez connects with an uppercut in an exchange, then hits Henderson with a right as the champ moves out. Henderson lands an elbow up top, countered by a Melendez right to the body. Melendez sticks a jab, Henderson misses with a spinning kick, and both men wait out the final few seconds so they can throw their arms up as the final horn sounds.

Tristen Critchfield scores the round 10-9 Henderson (48-47 Henderson)
Chris Nelson scores the round 10-9 Melendez (48-47 Melendez)
Mike Whitman scores the round 10-9 Henderson (48-47 Henderson)

Official result: Judge Wade Vierra scores the bout 48-47 Melendez, while Derek Cleary sees it 48-47 Henderson. The final judge, Michael Bell, scores the bout 48-47 for the winner by split decision and still UFC lightweight champion, Benson Henderson.

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