On Saturday, Jan. 24, the UFC returned to the Windy City for UFC on Fox 10: Henderson vs. Thomson from the United Center in Chicago.

In the night’s main event, former UFC lightweight kingpin Benson Henderson clashed with former Strikeforce title holder Josh Thomson. Henderson looked to bounce back from a first-round submission loss to current champion Anthony Pettis at UFC 164 in August of last year, while Thomson sought to build off a stoppage win over Nate Diaz and prove that he’s the real No. 1 contender at 155 pounds.

Also on the main card heavyweights Stipe Miocic and Gabriel Gonzaga locked horns to move closer to title contention, featherweights Darren Elkins and Jeremy Stephens faced off with a top-10 ranking at stake, and lightweights Donald Cerrone and Adriano Martins went to battle.

The 11-fight event kicked off at 4:30 p.m. ET with a single fight streaming live on the promotion’s digital network, Fight Pass. Six additional preliminary card bouts followed on Fox Sports 1 at 5 p.m. ET, with the four-fight Fox main card beginning at 8 p.m. ET.

Henderson ekes past Thomson

Benson Henderson rebounded from his title loss and edged Josh Thomson with a controversial split decision victory.

Henderson threw a head kick early that was blocked by Thomson. Henderson landed a good right hand, but Thomson got a hold of his opponent and took him down to the ground. Thomson instantly was able to take the former champion’s back, lock in a body triangle, and started looking for a rear-naked choke. Henderson stayed composed and eventually stood up, but Thomson still had his back a the two stood up against the cage. Henderson was finally able to shake Thomson off with less than two minutes remaining in the round. Henderson stayed clinched with Thomson and looked to press him up against the fence and look for a takedown. Henderson got Thomson to the ground. “The Punk” scrambled back to his feet, but found himself in some trouble when “Smooth” went for a standing arm-triangle choke. Thomson escaped after the two went back down to the ground to end the round.

Henderson threw an uppercut to begin round two, but Thomson just smiled at him. Henderson threw the next big strike with a knee to the body. It landed, but Thomson caught the leg and tried to secure a takedown. Henderson used some good balance and escaped. Henderson went right back to his smothering style and pressed Thomson up against the cage. Henderson couldn’t complete the takedown and the referee brought the fighters back to the center of the cage. The two clinched again and Thomson was able to take Henderson down and take his back just as in the first round. Henderson used the same defense and got back to his feet, so Thomson would let go. Henderson landed a good combination in the final minute of the round where he started with a lead right hook and finished with a knee to the body.

Henderson was extremely aggressive to start the third frame. He threw a Superman punch to begin the round and followed it up with a takedown. Henderson briefly took Thomson’s back, but it was short lived. Thomson started to throw some kicks after telling his corner in between rounds that he had broken his right hand. The two fighters clinched against the cage again and Henderson broke the clinch by landing a short elbow. Thomson still threw the right hand despite it being broken. It just didn’t have much effect on Henderson. Thomson got a hold of Henderson as the former champ as he jumped up for a guillotine choke. Thomson slipped on a body kick attempt late in the round, but Henderson could only do minimal damage when he pounced.

Henderson threw the first strike of the round again as we started the fourth. It was a body kick that was caught by Thomson. Henderson balanced on one leg once again and avoided the takedown. Henderson landed a very hard leg kick, but was then taken down. Thomson started to go for some strikes, but Henderson used his flexibility to get to mission control. Thomson decided to posture up and Henderson used it as an opportunity to scramble and reverse the position. Thomson stood up against the cage quickly after the take down. Henderson was on his back and started to throw some odd front kicks to the calf of Thomson. The two broke apart and went back to the center of the cage in the final minute. Thomson got another body lock takedown and took Henderson’s back once again! Henderson did as he did the first two times and stood up with Thomson on his back to finish the round.

Henderson stalked Thomson as the final round began in a very close fight. Henderson moved forward and landed a very hard knee to the body. Thomson threw a leg kick out there to get his offense rolling. Thomson landed a stiff punch with the injured right hand then tripped Henderson with a low kick. Henderson fired back with three straight kicks to the upper torso of Thomson. Henderson land a good uppercut to the body, but Thomson fired right back with a combination of hooks. Henderson threw another kick that was caught by Thomson this time. Thomson pushed Henderson to the ground and looked to get take his back as he was standing back up. Henderson was able to turn it around on Thomson before the two went back to the center of the octagon for the final twenty seconds.

Miocic outworks Gonzaga

Stipe Miocic got better as the fight went on and earned a decision victory over an exhausted Gabriel Gonzaga.

Gonzaga threw a big leg kick to kick off the heavyweight co-main event. Miocic caught Gonzaga with a hard right hand as both men threw bombs early on. Gonzaga kept going with this leg kicks as the slapping sound of Gonzaga’s shin on Miocic’s thigh reverberated through the United Center. Gonzag looked to add an overhand right to those leg kicks and stuck Miocic good one time. Gonzaga looked to get Miocic on the ground, but Stipe was able to bounce right back up. Stipe stalked the Brazilian and landed multiple jabs. Gonzaga tried for a high kick, but Miocic was ready and blocked it. Gonzaga went for the takedown in the final minute. He got it, but Miocic was able to get right back up.

Miocic went back to the jab and found a home for it early in the second round. Gonzaga shot for a double leg, but Miocic sprawled and the fight was standing again before you could say “takedown”. Miocic’s lead leg started to show some redness near the knee from the low kicks by Gonzaga. Miocic wasn’t deterred however and kept being the fighter that moved forward as Gonzaga began to breathe heavily a bit. Miocic certainly became more active than Gonzaga and combined the jab with some straight right hands for some solid combos. Gonzaga looked to go to the ground again in the final minute, but Miocic had his sprawl ready once again.

Gonzaga landed another stiff leg kick followed by a right hand to kick off the final round. Gonzaga continued to throw a right hand to the body that Miocic did a solid job of getting out of the way of throughout the entire bout. Gonzaga went for his sixth takedown of the fight, but was stuffed for the fifth time. Miocic just looked like he was much faster on those grappling exchanges. Gonzaga went for a Superman punch that didn’t quite connect. Miocic pushed Gonzaga down to the ground in an exchange, but was weary of jumping into the guard of the Brazilian jiujitsu black belt. Miocic finally went down into Gonzaga’s half guard and started opening up with ground-and-pound. Gonzaga couldn’t get a solid enough guard to attempt any submissions and the most offense he could muster was some hammer fists off of his back.

Stephens cruises past Elkins

Jeremy Stephens used the sprawl and brawl strategy en-route to a decision victory over Darren Elkins.

Elkins started off by showing some good head movement and started pawing out a jab. Stephens looked very composed and looked for one of his signature power strikes. The first one of the night he landed was a kick to the mid-section of Elkins. Elkins attempted a body kick of his own, but it was caught by Stephens and he took Elkins to the ground. Stephens landed one solid elbow before letting Elkins back up. Elkins looked to go to his signature style and got his hands on Stephens and pressed him up against the cage. Stephens did a good job of defending the takedown and pushed Elkins off of him rather easily. Stephens started winging those power hooks out there late in the round. He landed some decent punches, but none of the true power shots landed cleanly.

Elkins landed a solid punch to kick off the second round, but Stephens landed with superior power. Elkins looked like he was on rubber legs, but his durability showed and he recovered quickly. Elkins shot for a wild takedown, but Stephens shrugged it off easily. Elkins maintained his pressure though. He grabbed Stephens’ leg and pressed him up against the cage again. Stephens just seemed to be a bit stronger than “The Damage” and defended the takedown once again. Stephens took Elkins’ legs out from under him with a very hard leg kick. Elkins just continued to move forward and threw a front kick to the face that just barely grazed Stephens. Stephens continued with the low kicks and tried to chop down Elkins. Stephens landed a solid uppercut as he was stalking Elkins in the final minute of the round.

Elkins face certainly showed the punches that he had taken earlier in the fight as we started the third round. Elkins was taken down again as Stephens caught another body kick. It looked like it might have been a bad decision as Elkins attempted a guillotine choke. Stephens stayed composed and spun out of the danger. Stephens looked for a big kick when the fight returned to the feet, but it didn’t land with full impact because Elkins caught it at the same time it connected to his body. Stephens landed a strong left hook in the middle of an exchange, but Elkins stayed upright. Elkins knew he needed to finish the fight in the final minute and started throwing wild punches at Stephens. Stephens wanted no part of that and tried to take the fight to the ground. Elkins last ditch effort was a guillotine choke, but time expired on the home crowd favorite.

Cerrone waxes Martins

Donald Cerrone mixed up his kicks and caught Adriano Martins with a high one for a vicious, first-round knockout.

Martins landed a stiff kick to the liver of Cerrone to kick this lightweight contest off. Cerrone started off in his usual fashion by landing some very stiff leg kicks. Martins ate those leg kicks and looked to counter Cerrone. Martins landed some a nice left hook and right hook combo as Cerrone moved forward.  The outside leg kick continued to be the weapon of choice for Cerrone as the round wore on. Cerrone briefly took the Brazilian down and advanced to full mount, but Martins used his grappling strength to get back to his feet. Cerrone just kept throwing more low kicks, then surprised Martins with a lead leg head kick that knocked out Martins on impact.

Preliminary Card Summary

Bantamweight Alex Caceres didn’t let a close fight go to the judges scorecards and submitted Sergio Pettis with less than a minute left in the fight. Pettis had the early advantage in this exciting fight. Pettis stayed in the pocket more and was able to land the better strikes against the more unorthodox Caceres. Pettis landed multiple head kicks and looked close to finishing Caceres late in the round, but the chin of Caceres held up and the fight went on to round two. Early in the second round was the turning point of the fight. Pettis was stuck with a straight left hand that dropped him. Caceres pounced and tried to finish the fight, but Pettis survived and got back to his feet. The fight was clearly up for grabs going into the third and final round. Both fighters landed their fair share of clean strikes. The fight was still up for grabs in the final minute as both guys went for takedowns. Caceres was able to take Pettis back and sink in a sneaky rear-naked choke that ended the fight with less than thirty seconds remaining.

It took a while for former bantamweight title challenger Eddie Wineland to get in a groove, but once he did he finished Yves Jabouin in the second round. The first round was a tale of two technical strikers feeling each other out. Wineland looked to be a bit faster and was able to counter when the Canadian did land a few strikes. The second round was even better for the former title challenger he opened up a bit more with his strikes, especially in the counter striking game. Wineland landed one of those strikes. Jabouin was dropped with a straight right hand as he was coming forward. When Wineland first jumped on top of Jabouin he looked to go for an arm triangle choke, but he let it go in favor of strikes. Wineland didn’t let up with punches or elbows until the referee called a halt to the action.

Chico Camus dominated Yaotzin Meza in the grappling game to get a decision victory close to home. From the start of this fight Chico Camus was just the better man. Coming into the bout most expected Meza to have the grappling advantage, but Camus established control early and maintained top control for the majority of the first round. Meza came back strong and took Camus down early in the second, but the referee stood the two fighters back up after an extended period of inactivity.  Camus took Meza down again and controlled the rest of the round and even advanced to mount. Camus came closest to finishing the bout in the third with a rear naked choke. He didn’t get the finish, but he spent nearly the entire round either in full mount or on Meza’s back to secure the victory.

Brazilian Hugo Viana survived a late surge by Ramiro Hernandez to win a unanimous decision. The first two rounds of this fight were all Viana. Viana used great movement to keep Hernandez guessing and just peppered him with punches throughout the first two round. Hernandez was walking forward through the first two rounds, but was oddly inactive. Hernandez was unable to land on the Brazilian. Hernandez was a different guy in the final round. He continued to pressure Viana, but also landed some great strikes and had Viana wobbly at times, but it was too little too late to turn around a decision that was already a done deal after two rounds.

In a battle of TUF: Live alums, Daron Cruickshank put on a career-best performance in a second-round stoppage over Mike Rio. Rio held his own against Cruickshank on the feet in the first round. He landed an overhand right consistently. Cruickshank took over in the final thirty seconds though. He landed a flush head kick that looked like it would end Rio’s night, but the Floridian grabbed a hold of his opponent’s leg and survived the round. Cruickshank continued to look great on the feet in round two. He landed solid low kicks and then a spinning body kick that certainly had Rio wincing. Cruickshank made an odd decision and took Rio to the ground. Rio capitalized on the opportunity and locked up a leg lock. Cruickshank’s leg was certainly in bad shape, but he defended the submission and got back to his feet. Once the fight was back standing Cruickshank unloaded. He landed a spinning wheel kick to the face of Rio. Rio , surprisingly still ate the kick, but the barrage of punches that came after was enough for Herb Dean to stop the fight.

In a clash of debuting welterweights, George Sullivan topped Mike Rhodes in a close decision battle. Rhodes and Sullivan answered everything the other had to offer in this bout. The first round was even until the final minute when Sullivan scored a takedown and advanced to full mount after a kimura attempt from Rhodes. The second round’s story was Rhodes’ striking. Sullivan certainly got in his fair share of strikes, but Rhodes probably took the round with the more diverse striking including a jumping knee that hurt Sullivan. The final round was up for grabs and Sullivan was just the more active fighter. He landed a great left jab to overhand right combo numerous times that won him the round and ultimately the fight.

The lone UFC Fight Pass prelim did not last very long. The heavyweight finishers were in the feeling out process when Nikita Krylov unloaded a head kick on Walt Harris. He followed up with some punches and the fight was over in under thirty seconds.

FULL RESULTS
Benson Henderson def. Josh Thomson by split decision (47-48, 48-47, 49-46)
Stipe Miocic def. Gabriel Gonzaga by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Jeremy Stephens def. Darren Elkins by unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
Donald Cerrone def. Adriano Martins by knockout (headkick). Round 1, 4:40
Alex Caceres def. Sergio Pettis by submission (rear-naked choke). Round 3, 4:39
Eddie Wineland def. Yves Jabouin by TKO (strikes). Round 2, 4:16
Chico Camus def. Yaotzin Meza by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Hugo Viana def. Ramiro Hernandez by unanimous decision (29-28 x3)
Daron Cruickshank def. Mike Rio by TKO (head kick and punches). Round 2, 4:56
George Sullivan def. Mike Rhodes by unanimous decision (29-28 x3)
Nikita Krylov def. Walt Harris by TKO (head kick and punches). Round 1, 0:25

About The Author

Trey Downey
Staff Writer

A Central Florida native, Trey Downey's interest in MMA came after a trip to Blockbuster and the rental of UFC 47 on VHS. He has been blogging about the sport since 2011 and hosted a podcast called The TD Experience focusing on football and MMA (touchdowns and takedowns). Trey studied radio and television at the University of Central Florida and will soon be attending the Connecticut School of Broadcasting. Trey enjoys watching sports, pro wrestling and is an avid runner.