In the main event of Bellator 183 on Saturday night in San Jose, CA, former WEC and UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson looked to get back in the win column against Patricky Freire. Freire, the elder Pitbull brother (little brother Patricio Pitbull currently reigns as Bellator’s featherweight champ), was looking to add another impressive notch to his belt after a recent win against Josh Thompson.
Henderson? Well, Smooth was coming in off ACL surgery, and looking to get back in the win column after a lightweight title fight loss to Michael Chandler. To date, his only victory in Bellator MMA had been to Patricky Pitbull’s younger brother, and that was due to a leg injury sustained by Patricio in a fight most had him winning.
It was a key battle for both fighters, crucial to their hopes of getting back in the title hunt. Henderson immediately took the center of the cage and pressed forward Saturday night, forcing Pitbull, who countered with a leg kick, back. Pitbull sidestepped the next volley by Smooth, then connected with a right hand. Henderson stumbled, but quickly got back to his feet. Pitbull landed a leg kick, while Benson Henderson put the pressure on with a superman punch. A spinning back kick by Patricky Pitbull missed, but just past the two minute mark, an eye poke off a Henderson kick caused Pitbull to need a moment. A right hook was countered with a left by Pitbull, and Bendo flashed a flying knee that he pulled up on, before the end of the round.
In the second, Benson Henderson shot low early, looking for a takedown. Pitbull fended that off, but moments later Bendo was right back at it, this time powering forward and forcing Pitbull back against the fence. He switched to a high single, but Pitbull displayed solid takedown defense. Henderson refused to let go, adding some foot stomps and switching grips. Patricky Pitbull pulled off a jumping knee, but still Henderson refused to release his grip. Pitbill snaked his arm around Henderson’s neck, but there was really no chance for a guillotine. Surprisingly, this went on for the better part of the round, with Henderson pressing Pitbull against the cage, but unable to finish the takedown. Then, at the very end of the round, it was Pitbull who got the bout to the ground, though it was too little, too late.
Round three saw Henderson miss a spinning back kick then land a body kick on Patricky Pitbull. Henderson would change levels to shoot for a takedown, but Pitbull escaped. Pitbull landed a hard leg kick, while both men traded and slipped some shots. A sloppy takedown attempt by Henderson saw Pitbull escape again, and moments later, the shoulder of Pitbull caught Henderson in the head, wobbling him, though he would continue. Henderson was then tagged off a kick, but connected himself with a left hand shortly after! Pitbull would later charge forward with a body kick, while Henderson tried once more for the takedown. As he pressed Pitbull against the fence, he added in an elbow from the bottom that caught Pitbull. The Brazilian added some elbows as he defended the takedown, and landed a right off the break. A knee for Pitbull landed, and Henderson was on his heels; Pitbull launched a flying knee but came up short.
Pitbull would mount the cage and celebrate after the action finished, and in the end take the split decision on the judge’s scorecards. After the victory, he called out lightweight champion Brent Primus, saying he “ate former champions for breakfast.”
Patricky Pitbull def. Benson Henderson by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)