Henderson claims WEC interim lightweight title

October 16, 2009

Donald Cerrone wanted a fight with Jamie Varner. But first, he had to get through Ben Henderson, an opponent he wasn't taking lightly.

Henderson spoiled Cerrone's plans by beating "Cowboy" in an exhilarating fight that many are calling the fight of the year.

It was surely the most amazing fight in WEC history — five complete rounds of back and forth action, with high level grappling, striking, transitions and submission attempts and escapes. And in the end, Ben Henderson landed a razor-thin 48-47 victory to become the WEC interim lightweight champion.

Henderson will now prepare to face Varner in a title unification bout in 2010.

Dave Jansen remained undefeated by beating Richard Crunkilton by unanimous decision. Crunkilton was the better striker, but Jansen was able to take him down at will and controlled most of the bout on the ground. Jansen remains undefeated in his mixed martial arts career.

Raphael Assuncao defeated Yves Jabouin in a strange split decision. One judge scored it 30-27 for Assuncao and another gave the same score to Jabouin. The final judge gave the bout to Assuncao, who continues to work his way up the ladder; a bout with Urijah Faber may be in his future.

"I thought he won one of the rounds, but I was able the control the second and third rounds," Assuncao said.

The opening bout of the televised card was an unusually exciting one-minute fight. Damacio Page and Will Campuzano came out swinging wildly, prompting the AT&T Center to erupt with cheers. After the initial flurry, Page took Campuzano to the mat, secured his back and submitted him with a rear naked choke.

"I went out guns blazing," Page said. "I knew all he had was a triangle and an armbar. He was the hometown guy so I knew he had the whole world on his shoulders."

In preliminary card action, Eddie Wineland displayed near-perfect head movement and footwork on the way to a dominant decision victory over Manny Tapia. Wineland, a former WEC champion, easily avoided nearly every strike thrown by Tapia and used crisp, technical strikes to pick him apart throughout the fight.

The biggest upset of the night came when Mackens Semerzier scored a triangle choke submission victory over jiu-jitsu phenom Waggney Fabiano in the first round. Semerzier, who needed two attempts to make weight on Friday, was a heavy underdog going into the bout.

Charlie Valencia defeated Coty Wheeler in a fight that electrified the sparse crowd on hand for the preliminary bouts. Wheeler used a unique and varied offense, but rarely landed any effective shots.

Deividas Taurosevicius won a controversial decision in the first bout of the night, beating veteran Javier Vazquez via split decision.