Bellator 243: Michael Chandler Enters Free Agency By Going 2-0 Against Benson Henderson

There was plenty of unknown heading into Bellator 237. With this being the last fight of Michael Chandler’s current Bellator contract, he could have either entered free agency on top of the world or in the worst spot possible. Fortunately for him, the former occurred.

Inside the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT, Chandler (21-5) knocked out Benson Henderson (28-9) in the first round. It was the second time he has beaten Henderson and the first time in six years that Henderson lost via a true knockout. Unknown what the future holds for him, Chandler made sure to call everyone, including Scott Coker, out.

“Every single lightweight on the entire planet, you’re on notice,” Chandler stated. “Scott Coker, you’re on the clock.”

While tense, there appeared to be some mutual respect between the two to start the fight. Right when the light turned green, however, everything changed. Both jumped into action, with Henderson going for a swift kick. Chandler went for punches but a small Henderson kick had Chandler off-balanced. Henderson would attempt combination phantom shots, while Chandler would use his defense to grab the legs of Henderson and land shots of his own.

Momentum shifted towards the side of Chandler thanks to his power. He would land a kick, a punch, and would follow it up with a key kick. Forcing Henderson’s arms down following the force of the kick, Chandler was able to land a small right and a huge left that had Henderson down to the floor. He would then land a shot that grazed Henderson before hammering away. The referee had no choice but to stop the action.

The loss ends Henderson’s four-fight win streak dating back to 2018. He is currently on a new deal with Bellator. Henderson previously lost to Chandler at Bellator 165 in 2016. Chandler successfully defended the Bellator Lightweight Title in a bout some deemed controversial in scoring. There was no controversy this time around.

If he were to leave Bellator, the promotion he has been with since 2010, Chandler leaves behind a legacy with wins over the likes of Patricky Freire (2x), Eddie Alvarez, David Rickels, Derek Campos, Brent Primus, and Henderson.

Chandler is now on a two-fight win streak and is 5-1 in his last six fights. The three-time Bellator Lightweight Champion is now tied with Patricio Freire for the most wins (18) in Bellator history.

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