Usman Nurmagomedov defends Bellator lightweight championship against Benson Henderson

March 13, 2023
From: Spartacus

Usman Nurmagomedov, the lightweight champion, faced Benson Henderson in the main event of Bellator 292 to make his first championship defence. With 16 victories, Nurmagomedov had a perfect record entering this battle. Even though Henderson was a past UFC and WEC Lightweight Champion, Henderson had the MMA skills that could have caused problems for Nurmagomedov although he appeared to be dominant.

One of the two Bellator Lightweight Grand Prix semifinal fights that took place at the event was the main event. Tofiq Musayev and Alexander Shabliy squared off in a different semifinal matchup. Michael “Venom” Page made his comeback in Bellator 292 and faced Goiti Yamauchi.

Benson Henderson knew his matchup with lightweight champion Usman Nurmagomedov would likely be his final chance to compete for a significant world championship when they met in the Bellator 292 main event. Henderson was also hoping to advance to the semifinals of the Bellator Lightweight World Grand Prix. Unluckily for the former UFC and WEC king, Nurmagomedov was much stronger than him, winning via submission in the opening frame.

Moments later, Henderson’s situation quickly deteriorated. Following a successful body kick, Nurmagomedov launched a question-mark kick at Henderson’s chin, which knocked him to the ground and into the cage.

Henderson was tackled to the ground by Nurmagomedov, who then applied crushing ground and pound before holding Henderson’s back and applying a rear-naked choke, which caused Henderson to submit.

Following his victory over Patricio Pitbull in November 2022, Nurmagomedov successfully made his first defence of the lightweight championship. His official record now stands at 17-0 after the victory. The Lightweight World Grand Prix quarterfinals are his next stop.

Henderson put down his gloves in the ring after the battle and announced his retirement from competitive mixed martial arts.

Henderson, post-fight said, “I always told myself the last four fights I signed with Bellator, if I lose any of those four fights, it’s about that time.” 

With a score of 30-12, Henderson retires. After defeating Jamie Varner in January 2010, he won the WEC lightweight championship and once effectively defended it. After defeating Frankie Edgar to win the UFC lightweight championship in February 2012, he would retain the title for another two months before losing it to Anthony Pettis in August 2013.

Additional Main Card Results

  • Alexandr Shabliy defeats Tofiq Musyaev 

By way of TKO in Round 3, Aleksandr Shabliy defeats Tofiq Musyaev. Both guys made very few offensive moves during the strange fight. Shabliy struck Musyaev’s midsection with a front kick in the third round. Shabliy kicked, and as he landed, his foot brushed Musyaev’s cup. Referee Jason Herzog decided that the body kick, not the unintentional low blow, was the source of the majority of the damage. He, therefore, insisted on Musyaevactn without taking the entire five minutes of rest. Musyaev failed to comply, and Shabliy won via technical knockout and moved on to the quarterfinals of the Lightweight World Grand Prix.

  • Linton Vassell defeats Valentin Moldavsky

Valentin Moldavsky loses to Linton Vassell in Round 1 by TKO — After being taken down twice by Moldavsky early in the round, Vassell recovered brilliantly. Vassell showed to be much more dangerous than Moldavsky when fighting on the ground, dropping him with a big hook. Moldavsky was soon knocked out by a powerful elbow from Vassell after following him to the ground. Vassell’s victory suggests that he will challenge Ryan Bader for the heavyweight title.

  • Michael Page def. Goiti Yamauchi

Goiti Yamauchi was defeated by Michael Page in the first round by TKO. The battle was quickly ended by Page with just two leg kicks. Yamauchi’s patella was damaged when Page’s second leg kick made direct contact with it, stopping the fight. The victory helped Page bounce back from a rocky 2022 in which he lost to Mike Perry in the Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship and a Bellator fight for the interim welterweight championship.

Preliminary Card Results-

  • Erik Perez is defeated by Enrique Barzola in a majority decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
  • Cass Bell loses to Josh Hill in a split vote (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
  • Tony Johnson is defeated by Khalid Murtazaliev in a majority decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
  • Julius Anglickas is defeated by Dovletdzhan Yagshimuradov in a majority decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
  • At 2:41 in the first round, Laird Anderson defeated Rogelio Luna through technical submit (rear-naked choke).
  • At 3:01 in the first round, Theo Haig submitted (guillotine strangulation) to defeat Adam Wamsley.
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