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UFC on FOX 10: Nothing controversial about Ben Henderson vs. Josh Thomson decision

Relax everyone, the Ben Henderson vs. Josh Thomson decision on UFC on FOX 10 wasn't a robbery.

Photo by Esther Lin

Another Ben Henderson fight, another "controversial" decision that the internet complains about. As the close and competitive main event of UFC on FOX 10 ended, I already knew the vocal hardcore base would surely be complaining once again, especially with Henderson's reputation when it comes to decisions.

Judges eventually scored it as 48-47 Henderson, 48-47 Thomson, and 49-46 for Henderson.

For the record, I also scored the fight the same way as the derided 49-46 score card, but with multiple close rounds, I wouldn't have minded a 48-47 score for Henderson. Emotional fans have cried "robbery", and have chided that 49-46 card as "indefensible", and while we have seen our share of truly bad decisions in the past, this is certainly not one of them.

Josh Thomson clearly took control on the opening round. He landed a takedown and took Henderson's back for an extended time, forcing the former UFC champion to defend from very disadvantageous position. He was a clear cut winner that round, unfortunately, Thomson wasn't able to repeat that for the subsequent rounds.

Sure, he did get Henderson's back a few times during the next few rounds, but he hardly spent enough time there, nor did he land enough shots or come close to any submissions for it to offset the striking difference.

According to Fight Metric, Henderson landed almost 4 times more, connecting with 114 strikes compared to Thomson's 33. Significant strikes paint the same picture with Benson holding a 46-19 advantage. Both men landed the same amount of takedowns, and while Thomson did get a few good positions during rounds 2-5, he only landed 6 strikes on the ground and didn't threaten with a single submission.

Punch counts won't be completely accurate and stats obviously don't tell the entire story, but it did back what I witnessed during the fight, with Henderson landing better, cleaner, and more consistently during the fight.

After clearly losing the first round, Henderson landed significantly more strikes during those close rounds from the 2nd-5th. While there were a few very competitive rounds, that factor should, and did, weigh more on the scorecards. Those people with claims about Thomson winning based on 'control' are forgetting that not only is that not the main criteria for judging, he also didn't spend enough time on those good positions for it to matter. When the fight is contested mostly on the feet and with striking margin that wide, the scoring system dictates that losing position for a few seconds shouldn't matter as much.

Henderson didn't dominate or come close to finishing, but he did enough to win a decision in my book. It was a close and competitive fight, and while a few rounds can be scored either way depending on what factor weighs more for a judge, it certainly wasn't as erroneous as some emotional fans have claimed. Put your pitchforks down, there's no robbery here folks.

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