In an anti-climactic end to a boring main event at Bellator 160 live on Spike TV tonight in Los Angeles, Patricio “Pitbull” Freire called off the fight early in the second round after he couldn’t continue due to a mysterious right leg injury.
After the decision was announced, the interviewer told Henderson that it wasn’t the type of finish anyone anticipated, but he had welcome news for Henderson – he would get his Lightweight Title shot on Nov. 19 against Michael Chandler.
Henderson then went into a prepared, memorized speech about God to close out the show. No official word about the exactly injury. Even on replays, it wasn’t clear when the injury took place. Henderson looked happy to have the title shot he wanted, but not overly satisfied with how he got there.
Henderson said he sensed something went wrong when he checked a kick in the first round. He said checking kicks is now something everyone works after the Anderson Silva leg injury. He said he never thought he’d win a fight by checking a kick, “but I’ll take a win any way I can get it.”
Michael Chandler walked in and said he has looked forward to this fight for a very long time. “I’m excited,” he said. “He’s a tough dude. People have been looking forward to this for a long time. Let’s put on a show for you guys.”
Henderson went over to check on Pitbull, who was still sitting on his stool. He had tested putting his weight on it a moment earlier, but then sat down at the urging of his trainers. Henderson shook hands with Pitbull’s cornermen as the announcers signed off.
KELLER’S FIGHT NOTES…
Round One: Circling each other, with Pitbull against cage… Henderson trips backwards, Pitbull lets him up… Pitbull grabbed Henderson’s leg mid-air on a thrust kick… Fans start booing mid-way through first round, want to see something happen… Pitbull back against cage, circling for a couple more minutes… Only thing really landing are leg kicks by Pitbull, Benson can’t close gap despite reach advantage, swings and misses… Loud boos at 4:00… Pitbull sneaks in a right, no sense it hurt Henderson… “Interesting round one,” says the announcer. That’s one way of putting it…
Round Two: Swing and miss by Henderson leads to near takedown… Pitbull then waves off the fight suddenly and the ref steps in and waves his arms. Something happens to his right foot. He explains to the ref and trainer as they began touching his ankle and twisting his foot to try to figure out happened…
Final Thoughts: The only bright side is the first round was so boring, the disappointment that the fight was stopped was less than if this had been a dynamic, dramatic, hard-hitting battle up until that point. Henderson’s performance did absolutely nothing to quell questions about whether he’s missing something he once had or that he’s not aggressive enough.