Benson Henderson Narrowly Defeats Donald CerroneCapped off by an incredible WEC Interim Lightweight Championship bout between Ben “Smooth” Henderson and Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone, WEC 43 featured solid action from start to finish and concluded with a razor-thin decision that went Henderson’s way.

In other action on the card, “The Angel of Death” Damacio Page moved one step closer to title contention with a one-minute submission win, while undefeated newcomer Mackens “Mack da Menace” Semerzier shocked the world by submitting jiu-jitsu ace Wagnney Fabiano.


WEC Interim Lightweight Championship

Ben “Smooth” Henderson vs Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone

Round 1:
Cerrone missed with a head kick to open the fight, but countered an aggressive charge from Henderson by securing a very tight guillotine choke. Henderson eventually managed to escape, but was immediately trapped in a triangle choke. Cerrone let the choke go and evaded a guillotine from Henderson. On the feet, Henderson landed a hard leg kick and Cerrone replied with a straight right. Henderson countered a kick by slamming Cerrone to the ground. Cerrone went for submissions from his back and Henderson punched from the top. Henderson stood over Cerrone and landed punches to the head and body. He briefly took Cerrone’s back, then landed more punches. Close round. 10-9 Cerrone.

Round 2:
The second round began with a sparse exchange of strikes and Henderson shot in for a takedown. Cerrone countered and took his back, but Henderson scrambled and worked from Cerrone’s guard. Cerrone landed some surprisingly hard punches from the bottom and Henderson appeared to be unconscious briefly. He quickly recovered, but Cerrone landed upkicks and tried for an omoplata, then an armbar. Henderson escaped and scored with punches and elbows from the top. Four consecutive punches landed for Henderson from a standing position. He dodged upkicks and continued to strike while standing above Cerrone. Henderson stayed clear of a heel hook attempt and punched until the bell. 10-9 Henderson.

Round 3:
Cerrone opened round three with a three-punch flurry and Henderson scored a takedown. He took Cerrone’s back, then stacked Cerrone and looked to strike from the top. Cerrone went for a triangle choke, but Henderson took his back again. Cerrone rolled over and upkicked from the bottom. Henderson punched until Cerrone kicked him off and stood up. Cerrone threw a quick combination and Henderson took him down against the cage. Cerrone got up and Henderson slammed him down again. Once more, Cerrone worked to his feet and blocked a head kick. Henderson shot in for another takedown in the final seconds. 10-9 Henderson.

Round 4:
Cerrone tried for a takedown early in the fourth round and quickly trapped Henderson in another tight guillotine. He tried to roll into a no-arm Anaconda Choke, but Henderson somehow survived it and got to his feet. Cerrone sidestepped a takedown attempt, then spun free of another. Cerrone evaded a third takedown and drilled Henderson with an uppercut. Henderson continued to try to get Cerrone to the mat, but Cerrone stayed on his feet. Again, Cerrone defended a takedown and scored with an uppercut to the face of a kneeling Henderson. More punches landed for Cerrone and he tripped Henderson with a leg kick. 10-9 Cerrone.

Round 5:
Henderson clinched and tried to take Cerrone down, but Cerrone had none of it. The fighters exchanged kicks and Cerrone connected with a big left hook, then two more punches. Henderson scored a brief takedown, but wound up on his back. Cerrone allowed him to stand and knocked him down with a lunging right. Henderson reversed position on the ground, but Cerrone locked on an omoplata. He transitioned into a triangle armbar, then moved back to the omoplata. Cerrone twisted Henderson’s arm into a modified Kimura, but Henderson spun free and the fight returned to the feet. Cerrone fell to his back and blasted Henderson with an upkick. He secured another omoplata Kimura combination, but Henderson survived until the bell. 10-9 Cerrone.

All three judges scored the close first round for Henderson, which was just enough for him to take a razor-thin decision win.

Winner: Ben Henderson by Unanimous Decision (48-47, 48-47, 48-47) after five rounds. He improves to 10-1-0 and becomes the new WEC Interim Lightweight Champion.



Dave “The Fugitive” Jansen vs Rich “Cleat” Crunkilton

Round 1:
Crunkilton opened up with a leg kick and stiff jabs, but a takedown attempt was unsuccessful. Jansen countered with punches and clinched against the cage. Crunkilton threw him to the mat briefly, then got him down a second time. Jansen scrambled and took Crunkilton’s back, then slammed him down. From half-guard, Jansen landed short elbows, then spun out of a kneebar. Crunkilton moved into a heel hook, but Jansen evaded. Crunkilton attempted an Anaconda Choke from the bottom and Jansen answered with a North-South Choke from the top. Jansen took Crunkilton’s back and looked for a rear naked choke and the fight returned to the feet. Both swung for the fences late in the round and Crunkilton dropped Jansen briefly. Good round. 10-9 Jansen.

Round 2:
Jansen threw haymakers early on, but was met with two counterpunches and a head kick. Jansen scored a takedown and looked to move to mount, but Crunkilton regained guard. Time was called after an accidental low knee from Jansen. The fight resumed and both fighters threw hard strikes. Jansen staggered Crunkilton with a left hook, but Crunkilton recovered and drilled him with two knees from a Thai clinch. Jansen, bleeding from the nose, scrambled and took Crunkilton’s back. Crunkilton stood up, but Jansen took him down again and landed punches. Referee Jon Schorle stood the fighters up and replaced Jansen’s mouthpiece. Crunkilton landed a pair of liver kicks and Jansen answered with knees. Jansen scored a takedown before the bell. 10-9 Jansen.

Round 3:
Crunkilton turned up the pace in the final round and connected with kicks and punches to the liver. He followed with more punches that rocked Jansen, but Jansen scored a takedown. Crunkilton got back to his feet and stuffed takedowns from Jansen, then secured a D’Arce Choke. Jansen broke free and stood up, but Crunkilton punished him with knees, punches and head kicks. Jansen managed to score a desperation takedown and moved to mount. Crunkilton regained half-guard and Jon Schorle stood the fighters up almost immediately. Terrible call. The fighters traded punches and Jansen scored another takedown. He moved to side-control and locked on a Kimura. Crunkilton escaped, but Jansen punched from the top for the final 30 seconds. Very close round. 10-9 Crunkilton, just barely.

All three judges awarded the fight to Jansen, who took the hard-fought victory.

Winner: Dave Jansen by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28) after three rounds. He improves to 13-0-0.