Chandler Retains Against Henderson

Michael Chandler successfully defended the Bellator lightweight championship against former WEC and UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson at Bellator 165 in San Jose, California.

Chandler picked up the win by decision, though it looked possible the fight may not have gone past the first round at first. Chandler hurt Henderson and sent him to the ground with punches during the opening round. Chandler followed that up with multiple attempts at a guillotine, and though he was unsuccessful, it could be argued the opening round of the title bout could have gone to Chandler 10-8.

Chandler attempted to come out firing again in the second, but after an accidental slip on the canvas, forcing a reset, it turned out the second round would be even on both ends. Both got their shots in during the first half of the third round, but Chandler caught Henderson coming in for a takedown and again nearly got another guillotine. Henderson fought out of it, but Chandler was still in control of the grappling for just about the rest of the third.

Chandler got a huge slam in on Henderson during the early going in the fourth round, and Chandler got Henderson right back down on the mat as soon as he got back up. Chandler went to town on Henderson with elbows, and he trapped Henderson back down again as Henderson attempted to escape. During the fourth, Henderson attempted a number of submissions, but all were quickly shot down by the performance of Chandler on the ground.

Between the final two rounds, Chandler could be seen bleeding from his ear and heading to his stool slowly — it was clear he was exhausted, and Henderson took full advantage of that. Henderson managed to get Chandler on the ground this time around, and he had hooks in, looking to get a choke. Suddenly, Henderson attempted to get an armbar in, and then tried to get Chandler’s back as the champion was desperately looking for a way out. As Henderson looked to get back up, he was brought back down and could only land body shots. The final round was Henderson’s best, but it was too little, too late. The judges awarded Chandler the bout via split decision.

Bellator 165 Main Card Results:
Bellator lightweight championship: (c.) Michael Chandler def. Benson Henderson via split decision (48-46, 46-48, 48-47)
Michael Page def. Fernando Gonzalez via split decision (28-29, 27-30, 29-28)
Adam Piccolotti def. Brandon Girtz via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Keri Anne Melendez def. Sheila Padilla via KO (R1, 0:47)
Linton Vassell def. Francis Carmont via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-25)

Bellator 165 Undercard Results:
Aaron Hamilton def. Kevin Ferguson Jr via submission (R2, 3:00)
Carrington Banks def. Jake Roberts via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
James Terry def. Justin Baesman via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-26, 30-26)
Dominic Sumner def. Justin Roswell via first-round TKO (2:09)
Dwight Grant def. Danasabe Mohammed via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-26)

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