This might be the best UFC event in June — even beating out next week’s title match at UFC 174 — as former UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson (20-3) takes on Sambo champion Rustam Khabilov (17-1), in the main event at UFC Fight Night in Albuquerque, New Mexico this Saturday on Fox Sports 1.
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This fight will put “Bendo” back on track for title contention, or catapult the Russian native who has won six straight, with three of the victories coming in the UFC.
Henderson is coming off a split-decision victory over Josh Thomson; after losing his belt to newly crowned champ Anthony “Showtime” Pettis. Meanwhile, Khabilov built up his record in the Russian promotion M-1 Global, and now spends part of training with Greg Jackson’s camp in Albuquerque.
This should be an interesting matchup — Bendo hasn’t had a finish since 2010, while Khabilov has finished his opponents 9 out of 17 times. This will be a huge test for Khabilov, who could pull off the upset, but I think Henderson’s experience will be too much. Bendo by decision.
If the main event is interesting, the co-main event could steal the show. Diego “Nightmare” Sanchez (24-7) has one of the biggest fan bases in the UFC and fellow lightweight Ross Pearson (15-6, 1 NC), is probably the equivalent to the Diego Sanchez from across the pond in his country of England.
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Both men are always willing to bang, and even though Sanchez has two straight losses (his fight with #1 ranked lightweight and former Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez will go down as one of the greatest fights of all time), Sanchez was fighting in both ’til the end.
On the other hand, Pearson was unable to finish his last fight after being cut with an illegal knee by Melvin Guillard, but had two knockouts prior to that. A fight that has a feel for an early Fourth of July, look for this to be an early Fight of the Night candidate. Sanchez by TKO.
A rematch between flyweight contenders John Dodson (15-6) and John Moraga (14-2) could be Fight of the Night candidate #2. Dodson owns a victory over Moraga pre-UFC days, and recently both men have faced champion Demetrious Johnson. While neither were able to dethrone him, Dodson gave “Might Mouse” the toughest fight which went to a decision, while Moraga was submitted by Johnson.
The winner here will be the #1 contender for the belt and even though Moraga has a better win percentage, Dodson improving at a quicker rate. Dodson by decision
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Rounding out the main card, TVMix has:
Rafael dos Anjos dec. Jason High
Yves Edwards dec. Piotr Hallman
Erik Perez dec. Bryan Carway
Let’s see how it all plays out, as this is one of the best UFC Fight Night cards put together, with fights on paper that look to be action packed.
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