A pair of former champions collided on the main card of Bellator 268 in Phoenix, Arizona on Saturday night.
Benson Henderson, who once ruled the roost in the UFC’s 155lb division, was up against Brent Primus, former Bellator lightweight champ. With both men looking to bounce back from losses, it was a key fight — especially with the logjam caused by Patricio Pitbull holding the belt without defending it resolved.
It was also a considerably entertaining fight, with the Phoenix crowd firmly in the corner of MMA Lab fighter Henderson.
Early in the fight, both men looked lose. Henderson fired a high kick; a bit later, Primus fired a spinning back kick. Primus then bullied Henderson up against the cage; he hurt Henderson with a flurry, but “Bendo” escaped. In another engagement, Primus momentarily had the upper hand, before Henderson dropped for a takedown. Primus defended with a guillotine and was quickly back to his feet.
Undeterred, Henderson landed a single leg takedown moments later. But Primus went right after an arm, working on a kimura. Primus nearly used the kimura grip to take the back, but Henderson survived. In a scramble, Henderson escaped, then went after the takedown once again.
Round two saw the pair trading shots on the feet, in a back-and-forth battle where both had their moments. Henderson continued to fire kicks upstairs; Primus attempted to close the distance, but was pushed off. Primus then landed some heavy shots to the body. He shot for a takedown, and Henderson stuffed it. “Smooth” then landed a knee to the chest of Primus as they came together, but Primus clinched Henderson against the cage. Primus then took Henderson’s back standing.
Henderson sat Primus down with a punch in the opening seconds of round three. While Primus was immediately back up, the knockdown no doubt fired Henderson up. When Primus changed levels, Henderson jumped into a guillotine. Primus survived, and moments later, he had the guillotine on Henderson. Henderson, in turn, gutted it out, but Primus was on top, then took the back. Henderson, having started the round with a knockdown, was flattened out with half the round remaining.
Big shot from @BensonHenderson to kick off round 3️⃣!
Catch this 3rd and final round LIVE on @SHOSports!
— BellatorMMA (@BellatorMMA) October 17, 2021
Primus would eventually lock on with a body triangle, and work to soften up Henderson with punches. Henderson appeared to be waiting for a standup despite Primus punching him in the face repeatedly. Henderson finally just stood up, Primus still on his back. He attempted to drive Primus into the canvas, but the impact wasn’t enough to knock Primus off.
Official Result: Brent Primus def. Benson Henderson by unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)