Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) put on its first event in Albuquerque, N.M, last night (June 7, 2014) as UFC Fight Night 42: "Henderson vs. Khabilov" took place at Tingley Coliseum, the third card promoted by the organization in just seven days.
It's not getting any less busy, either
Still, the FOX Sports 1 main card has its fair share of submissions to boast about.
In the main event, Benson Henderson tapped Rustam Khabilov in the fourth round of their scrap, finishing off the Dagestani by rear naked choke after a tough battle.
"Smooth" had his hands full early on in the contest, and it seemed like "Tiger" was going to trouble him with his Sambo base.
Henderson was able to establish his striking, in which he was able to set up the rear-naked choke in the fourth round after nailing Khabilov with a huge uppercut, followed by a left hand.
Somehow, Diego Sanchez beat Ross Pearson in the co-main event by split decision, even though he failed to win a round on everyone's scorecard except for the two judges that gave him the fight.
It was a hometown decision if we ever saw one, with Sanchez being pummeled by Pearson's accurate striking, which also staggered "Nightmare" on several occasions (not to mention dropped him, too). Even former UFC title challenger Kenny Florian said the judges "should be ashamed of themselves" while doing broadcast duties.
Neither Sanchez nor Pearson will partake below, since the Brit didn't deserve to lose whatsoever.
John Dodson stopped John Moraga in a flyweight contest, as the ringside physician called a stop to the bout after the second round, seeing that "Chicano's" nose was destroyed after "Magician" decked him with a knee.
Also on the card, Rafael dos Anjos received a premature stoppage over Jason High, Piotr Hallman defeated Yves Edwards by submission, and opening up the main card broadcast was Bryan Caraway defeating Erik Perez by rear naked choke.
With that said, it's time to name the biggest winner and biggest loser (and their runner ups) from the event in New Mexico.
Biggest Winner -- Benson Henderson
It was tough at times, but the former UFC lightweight champion secured his first finish in over four years.
At first, it looked as if Henderson was going to be in for a wild ride against the takedown-heavy Khabilov. "Bendo" was looking for the rear-naked choke often, yet the Dagestani was doing a good job of defending, and even made it difficult for Henderson to grapple against him.
Nevertheless, "Smooth" earned the victory he needed to wash away the critics, edging closer to immediate lightweight title contention.
Maybe it's too soon to give him the winner of Anthony Pettis vs. Gilbert Melendez, so there's a number of 155-pound combatants who he could duke it out against until finding himself in a sixth UFC title bout.
The most important thing is Henderson defeated a tough opponent, and now, we don't have to think of his fight against Josh Thomson any longer.
Runner Up -- John Dodson
The Albuquerque-based fighter scored a stoppage over a durable John Moraga on the main card, kneeing his face into oblivion and dismantled his nose in the process. "Magician" busted up the Arizonian's nose so badly that the blood was pouring out of Moraga's nostrils uncontrollably.
It was pretty devastating, to be honest, and the first time "Chicano" was stopped due to strikes in his career (even though it was a doctor stoppage).
Dodson is in an interesting place right now, whether or not you follow UFC's somewhat bogus and difficult ranking system. The former flyweight title challenger makes a case to be considered as the number one contender to the championship, likely to be facing the winner of Demetrious Johnson vs. Ali Bagautinov at next week's UFC 174.
He's already faced "Mighty Mouse," and despite losing to the champion, he dropped him and put him in the danger zone early on in the fight when they first met. With devastating power matched with an exciting fighting style, all fingers point to Dodson leaping over his 125-pound counterparts for a second crack at gold.
Biggest Loser -- Yves Edwards
You can't knock on a legend, but "Thugjistu Master" may want to call it a day.
The longtime MMA veteran didn't look good against Hallmann, submitted in an uninspiring performance where he was unable to muster up anything positive. In no way is Hallmann a terrible fighter, but if Edwards can't get past him, he's better off retiring instead of facing low-level competition to earn a few more bucks.
The former PRIDE FC and Strikeforce combatant only has two victories in his past 8 fights, with a record of 0-3 and 1 "No Contest" in his last four bouts.
Not every fighter needs to go out like Ken Shamrock or Jens Pulver, so Edwards should simply leave with his head held high, thankful he was able to compete at the highest level in his late thirties.
We're also thankful we got to see him for so long, too.
Runner Up -- John Moraga
"Chicano" wasn't doing badly against Dodson; however, his night was cut short by a blistering knee that will prove costly in a division where contention is for the taking.
It's the second time Moraga has lost to Dodson, losing only to him and Johnson in his 17-fight career. The champion has submitted him, but never was he stopped because of blows or had to suffer a technical knockout loss on his record.
The doctor stoppage means Moraga won't be contending for a belt any time soon, even though the division is still growing.
He simply lost his chance to do so.
Instead, he's going to have to take care of that nose, which was pouring worse than an industrial faucet.
That just about does it.
For extensive coverage of UFC Fight Night 42: "Henderson vs. Khabilov," including post-fight recaps, video highlights and more, click here.