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Henderson defeats Thomson by disputed decision at UFC on FOX

 
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Ben Henders(right) lands right hbody Josh Thomsduring maevent ‘‘UFC FOX 10’’ United Center. | AP

Ben Henderson (right) lands a right hand to the body of Josh Thomson during the main event of ‘‘UFC on FOX 10’’ at the United Center. | AP

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Updated: January 26, 2014 3:38PM



Josh Thomson left the Octagon stunned, staring straight ahead, mouth agape and shaking his head.

Despite fighting the final four rounds of his five-round bout with a broken right hand, he thought he had pulled off an upset. A stunned crowd of 10,895 at the United Center agreed and booed as the decision was revealed.

Thomson, 35, found himself on the wrong end of a split decision against former lightweight champion Benson Henderson in the main event of ‘‘UFC on FOX 10.’’ Judge Gabriel Sabaitis scored the fight 48-47 for Thomson, and judge Brian Puccillo had it 48-47 for Henderson. The deciding judge, Sal Damato, scored the fight 49-46 for Henderson, whom he gave the final four rounds.

Afterward, an emotional Thomson reflected on the close loss and speculated about whether this might be the end of his career.

‘‘This fight, I felt I won — with one hand,’’ Thomson said. ‘‘That’s what I can’t stomach. This might be it.’’

Thomson (20-6 with one no-contest, 3-2 UFC) set the tone early, stunning Henderson — who entered the fight as a 3-to-1 favorite — with a takedown and controlling the first two rounds.

After the first round, though, Thomson noticed he could push his thumb back to his wrist. But he pushed on, never thinking about quitting.

‘‘I think fighters are like hockey players,’’ he said. ‘‘We don’t get carried off if we have cramps. We just keep fighting.’’

Henderson (20-3, 8-1) came out more aggressively in the third round. He used a clinch to pin Thomson against the cage frequently during the later rounds.

Henderson has his eyes on another title shot. But lightweight champion Anthony Pettis, who has beaten him twice, is injured, and summer is the earliest he might be healthy.

‘‘Whoever they match me up with is fine with me,’’ he said.

In the co-main event, promising heavyweight Stipe Miocic earned a solid victory, outlasting Gabriel Gonzaga by unanimous decision. Miocic (11-1, 5-1) applied pressure throughout the bout and successfully avoided numerous takedown attempts by Gonzaga (16-8, 11-7).

Lightweight Donald Cerrone (22-6 with one no-contest, 9-3) earned knockout of the night when he landed a devastating right head kick that stopped Adriano Martins (25-7, 1-1) at 4:40 of the first round.

In the fight of the night, bantamweight Alex Caceres (10-5 with one no-contest, 5-3 with one no-contest) handed Sergio Pettis his first career loss. Pettis (10-1, 1-1), the younger brother of Anthony Pettis, was forced to tap out from a rear-naked choke at 4:39 of the third round.

In other results of note, bantamweight Eddie Wineland (21-9-1, 3-3) of Chesterton, Ind., stopped Yves Jabouin (19-9, 4-3) at 4:16 of the second round, and featherweight Darren Elkins
(18-4, 7-3) of Portage, Ind., dropped a unanimous decision to Jeremy Stephens (23-9, 10-8).

Email: jsilver@suntimes.com

Twitter: @juandeplata



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