Henderson defeats Freire

As many expected, welterweight Benson Henderson used his size advantage to defeat the smaller Patricio Freire by a 2nd round injury stoppage in the main event on Friday at Bellator 160 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California. There were a lot of disappointed looking faces from the MMA fans that had paid to see this fight, because they expected fireworks, not a boring match that ended on an injury stoppage.

It was a given that the bigger Henderson would have too much size for Freire, who came up in weight from the featherweight division to take the fight. Freire suffered a leg injury in the second round that hobbled him, forcing the fight to be stopped. The official time of the stoppage was at 2:26 of round two. For Freire, this was his second defeat in his last three matches. He was beaten last year by Daniel Mason-Straus by a decision at Bellator 145.

Henderson pressured the bulked up Freire from the start, backing him up against the fence with kicks. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much action to speak of, as both guys looked cautious and unwilling to engage the way they needed to in order to entertain the crowd, who clearly wanted to see blood. It looked like a classical example of two fighters – Henderson and Freire – not wanting to get their feet wet by mixing it up the way they should have. Luckily for them, the crowd was patient and didn’t boo them out of the cage, because they could have and probably should have. I was booing at home, because I thought it was dreadfully boring to see these two dancers going at it.

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In the second round, Freire looked good initially after grabbing a leg kick attempt from Henderson and then nailing him with some nice shots. However, in the process of doing this, Freire suffered a leg injury somehow. He then leg referee Big John McCarthy know about the injury and the fight was subsequently halted at that point at 2:26 of round two. Talk about a buzz-kill. It was a real disappointment for me.

They’re saying that Freire suffered a broken shin earlier in the match in round one from one of Henderson’s kicks. It’s interesting that Freire was able to make it to the second round with the injury.

It was a good win for Henderson, but the injury to “Pitbull” Freire kind of taints the victory. When you see an injury stoppage like that, it takes away from the win, because it doesn’t tell you who the better fighter was of the two. Further, Henderson needs to fight guys his own size rather than pooling from the featherweight division to fight smaller guys like Freire. There are a lot of top MMA fighters that Henderson can be facing. Getting these smaller guys to help him get good results is a negative.