UFC on Fox 10 Results: Grades for Every Main Card Fighter
Benson Henderson and Josh Thomson went the distance at UFC on Fox 10, and the former UFC champion picked up another controversial decision victory in the end.
Henderson has won three of his past five fights via split decision. On Saturday, "Smooth" gave up multiple takedowns in the early rounds, but he battled back against an injured Thomson to earn a debatable edge on two judges' scorecards.
Regardless of who won, both elite lightweights fought well. Who earned better marks on their UFC on Fox 10 report card?
Grades for all the fighters who competed on Saturday's main card follow.
Darren Elkins: D
There's little mystery to Darren Elkins' fighting approach.
Jeremy Stephens knew the grinder was going to look for takedowns early and often at UFC on Fox 10. So, when Elkins took shots from distance, it made Stephens' job that much easier. "Lil' Heathen" stuffed all 11 of Elkins' takedown attempts on Saturday.
Unable to utilize his grappling, Elkins was blasted with power punches from Stephens for the better part of three rounds.
Some late guillotine choke attempts allowed Elkins to take something positive away from the fight, but it was still one of the worst showings turned in by "The Damage" since his move to 145 pounds.
Jeremy Stephens: B
Jeremy Stephens has quickly made himself comfortable in the featherweight division as if it were his original home.
Since dropping to 145 pounds, he has been steamrolling the competition. At UFC on Fox 10, he made it three wins in a row by taking out scrappy gatekeeper Darren Elkins.
Elkins became a Top 10 featherweight by relying on his wrestling. However, Stephens was able to stay standing with relative ease against Elkins and landed several powerful shots to make his opponent pay for failing to record any takedowns.
The win should elevate Stephens to contender status.
Adriano Martins: E
Not much could be expected from Adriano Martins on Saturday.
Unproven against elite lightweights, the Brazilian was thrown to the wolves in a matchup with Donald Cerrone. Still, some felt the former Jungle Fight champion had the potential to shock the world at UFC on Fox 10.
Martins landed a few good shots on Cerrone early. However, "Cowboy" eventually found his rhythm and began picking his opponent apart before finishing things off with a head kick late in the first round.
Now, Martins will have to climb the ladder the hard way.
Donald Cerrone: A
Donald Cerrone took care of business in a mismatch at UFC on Fox 10.
Following a win over fringe contender Evan Dunham, he was curiously matched up with up-and-coming Brazilian Adriano Martins. While he ate a couple of punches, "Cowboy" quickly loosened up and took control.
To record a successful outing on Saturday, he needed a highlight-reel finish. He got one by turning the lights out on Martins with a kick to the head.
By making a statement on network television, Cerrone should now return to Top 10 lightweight competition.
Gabriel Gonzaga: D
Conditioning isn't a strong suit of many heavyweights, but Gabriel Gonzaga barely made it out of the first round before his tank hit empty on Saturday.
The Brazilian started somewhat well, taking Stipe Miocic down and landing strikes more frequently than his opponent in the first round. However, Gonzaga had nothing left once he got off the stool for the second stanza.
Miocic peppered him with punches in the second and third rounds en route to a clear decision win.
At 34 years old, "Napao" will likely never get another crack at UFC gold, at least until he improves his conditioning.
Stipe Miocic: B
It wasn't a flawless performance, but Stipe Miocic kept his momentum going at UFC on Fox 10.
He arguably lost the first round, which saw him eat several leg kicks and surrender a takedown. However, the American's conditioning was the difference, as he took advantage of a fading Gabriel Gonzaga in the later rounds.
With back-to-back wins over Gonzaga and Roy Nelson, Miocic is establishing himself as a serious contender in the heavyweight division. If he tightens up his striking defense, he could make a legitimate run at a UFC championship.
Josh Thomson: B
Despite apparently injuring his hand, Josh Thomson appeared to do enough to beat Benson Henderson.
In multiple rounds, he controlled Henderson on the ground for a majority of the action. According to MMADecisions.com, most of the MMA media saw the fight in the Strikeforce veteran's favor. However, two judges went with Henderson, and one even awarded the former UFC champion an edge in four rounds.
Displaying excellent wrestling, Thomson turned in an outstanding performance on Saturday. While the official result didn't show as much, he had a stronger showing than Henderson at UFC on Fox 10.
Benson Henderson: C
Controversy aside, Benson Henderson is back in the running for a shot at the 155-pound championship.
His takedown defense was lacking early on at UFC on Fox 10. He gave up four takedowns over the first four rounds, which arguably should have put him in a position where he needed to finish Thomson or dominate the fifth round to win.
While many felt he should have suffered a second straight loss on Saturday, Henderson was awarded a win on the scorecards. Beating a fighter like Thomson, who was coming off an impressive TKO victory over Nate Diaz, puts him near the front of the race for a fight with lightweight titleholder Anthony Pettis.
Having lost to Pettis twice already, Henderson may need to do some more work, but it will be hard to deny him for long if he keeps winning.