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December 8, 2012

MMA: Henderson dominates Diaz for UFC lightweight title

SEATTLE —  

Benson Henderson came home and impressively retained the UFC lightweight championship Saturday night during UFC on Fox, unanimously outpointing a flustered Nate Diaz.

Henderson controlled the main event from the start, just a few miles from where he grew up in Federal Way. With the partisan crowd chanting Henderson's name throughout the fight, he took a decisive 50-43, 50-45 and 50-45 decision, his second successful title defense.

Prior to the main event, rising Canadian star Rory MacDonald took apart former champion B.J. Penn in a decisive unanimous decision that left Penn's face blooded and his body throbbing from body shots.

In the light heavyweight division, Sweden's Alexander Gustafsson won a unanimous decision over former champion Mauricio "Shogun" Rua, likely earning himself a shot at the light heavyweight title next year.

Henderson had a shaky first defense of his lightweight title when he took a decision in a rematch with Frankie Edgar in August. Henderson was showered with boos after the split decision in his favor was announced duringUFC 150 in Denver, a fight the crowd believed Edgar had won.

There was no debate this time. Henderson left Diaz's face bruised and bloodied, while it was tough to tell if he'd even been in a fight. Henderson regularly got Diaz on the mat and retained control from the top, unloading punches and elbows at will. At one point, Henderson was on top just far enough away that Diaz's flailing punches couldn't land. Diaz got frustrated to the point of making an obscene gesture that forced Fox to cut away from its television coverage.

The only moment of concern for Henderson came in the third round when both grappled on the mat trying for ankle submission holds. Henderson eventually wiggled free and retained control.

Henderson improved to 6-0 with the UFC and 18-2 in his MMA career. Diaz fell to 16-8 after winning his last three fights.

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