Riding high on the momentum of his dominating win over Rustam Khabilov last June 7th, Benson Henderson will fight again on August 23rd. The former UFC Lightweight champion will face Brazilian Rafael Dos Anjos in a five round main event bout at the BOK Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA.
The fight will mark the eight time in a row that Henderson will be headlining a UFC Fight card. In his last appearance on June 7th at UFC Fight Night 42, Bendo officially proved himself as a legitimate ratings draw. Although UFC Fight Night 42 went head to head with boxings Miguel Cotto-Sergio Martinez Pay per view card, it did a 0.82 rating and drew 1.2M viewers. According to the Nielsen ratings, the UFC Fight Night shows attract an average of 817K viewers.
Overall, UFC Fight Night 42 was the third highest rating Fight Night on FS1 behind Sonnen-Shogun (1.78M) and Machida-Mousasi(1.4M). But Henderson was clearly the main attraction of the night. The viewership numbers peaked to 1.562M during the main event when he battled it out with Rustam Khabilov.
With that in mind, it was obvious for the UFC to get him back to the Octagon as soon as possible.
Reclaiming the Gold
For Henderson though, it’s not going to be just another big night at the TV ratings. It will be another step closed to reclaiming the gold that Anthony Pettis took away in August 2013.
Henderson was the alpha dog of the UFC’s lightweight division. He had won his first seven bouts in the UFC and won the title in his fourth fight. He defended the title three straight times against class A opponents Frankie Edgar, Nate Diaz and Gilbert Melendez until he ran across his WEC nemesis Antony Pettis.
Before the WEC merged with the UFC, Henderson also lost to Anthony Pettis in his swansong bout at the WEC. Pettis beat Henderson via unanimous decision in an epic five round battle which was highlighted by Pettis’ “Matrix” kick on Henderson which many experts believe was crucial in the judging for that very closely contested bout.
The two fighters met again in a rematch at UFC 164, but this time it wasn’t even close. After a couple of early exchanges, Pettis submitted Henderson via armbar at the 4:31 mark of the first round. It was by virtue of this definitive loss and his WEC defeat to Pettis that UFC President Dana White refused to give Henderson an immediate rematch despite the fact that Bendo was on top of his game.
Spurned for a rematch, the former champ found himself trying to prove himself all over again in order to climb the UFC lightweight mountain.
The Dos Anjos bout will be his third of a busy 2014. He beat Josh Thompson via split decision last January 25th, and then submitted Khabilov last June 7th. Another win will put him in a serious conversation for a title shot.
Dos Anjos is 21-7 with 3 KOs and 8 submissions. The 29 year old Brazilian has won six of his last seven bouts in the UFC. He won five straight bouts before losing to Khabib Nurmagomedov in his first fight of 2014. He rebounded with an impressive win over Jason High last June 7th.
Dos Anjos is well-known for having a titanium fused jaw after he broke his jaw at UFC 117 in his loss to Clay Guida. That jaw has broken the hands of some of his opponents who tried to punch it.
He’ll need more than a titanium jaw to stop Mr. Smooth.