Benson Henderson and Peter Queally could find themselves on the shortlist of lightweight title challengers with a victory at Bellator 285. Henderson enters enemy territory against the Irishman at Bellator 285 inside the 3Arena in Dublin on Friday.
Henderson’s (29-11) experience has been mixed under the Bellator MMA banner. The former UFC lightweight champion is 6-6 since skipping promotions with wins over Brandon Thatch and Jorge Masvidal. A crucial victory over Islam Mamedov (21-2-1) in January put ‘Smooth’ on the right track and earned him third place in the division. Usman Nurmagomedov is the only clear contender ahead of Henderson and a win over Queally, who has a doctor stoppage victory over champion Patricky Pitbull, positions him well in what is likely the final round of his career.
“Those are the last four fights of my career,” Henderson said at Bellator 285 media day. It’s my wife’s turn. Give her a chance to be world champion. I’ll pick the kids up from school, take them to chess practice, cook the meals; I’ll do all that. That puts much more pressure: for the rest of my life, I have four left, I think it adds more pressure, but I always add more pressure on myself to get the best out of myself. ”
Can’t get enough of boxing and MMA? Get the latest in the world of combat sports from two of the best in the business. Subscribe to Morning Kombat with Luke Thomas and Brian Campbell for the best analysis and in-depth news.
A win by any means necessary is imperative if Queally (13-6-1) is to stay relative at lightweight. A second-round doctor stoppage on Patricky elevated him to the main stage of the event. A second-round TKO loss in the lightweight title rematch extinguished any fanning flames. The impression among some is that Queally won the first fight on a technicality and that Patricky proved to be the superior fighter in the rematch. Beating an aging and inconsistent Henderson is paramount if Queally is to combat this criticism.
“I was sad for a week moping around the house,” Queally told CBS Sports of Patricky’s second fight. “I was so sad because – losing is losing, I’ve lost many times in life like everyone else – why I was so sad about that one is because I lost it. I beat him. The odds were in my favor to get into this. I beat him. It was now five rounds instead of three, which would be fine with me. All the things that had changed were in my favor. I I felt like it was really set up for me to beat him. Even the fight itself was going perfectly, I thought, until it wasn’t anymore… I think I was a little too confident. I thought it was fading sooner than it was and I dove with that right hand and he made me pay for it and that was it.
“I think if the dominoes fall my way it’s an immediate rematch. Or at worst I have one more fight and then it’s obvious. I think if I get a bit lucky and things are going my way, I could fight Patricky right after this one.”
The co-main event should be fun and messy for as long as it lasts. Multi-time UFC title challenger Yoel Romero measures his supernatural power against Melvin Manhoef, the most prolific knockout artist the sport has ever seen. Romero is a freak of nature: he won a silver medal in freestyle wrestling at the 2000 Summer Olympics and knocked out fighters 15 years his junior 22 years later. No one in the sport is a more consistent knockout threat than Manhoef. The veteran of 50 fights,holds the highest knockout percentage for any professional fighter with at least 15 fights – an absurd 91% with 29 knockouts in 31 wins.
Here is the fight card for Bellator 285 with the latest odds from Caesars Sportsbook.
Bellator 285 card, odds
|Benson Henderson-200||Pierre Queally +170||Lightweight|
|Yoel Romero -650||Melvin Manhoef+475||Light heavyweight|
|Mads Burnel -500||Pedro Carvalho +380||Lightweight|
|Dayana Silva-140||Lea McCourt +120||Women’s Featherweight|
|Ciaran Clarke-700||George Sasu +500||Lightweight|
Bellator 285 viewing information
Date: September 23 | Start time: 4 p.m. ET
Location: 3 Arena — Dublin, Ireland
TV channel: Show time
Benson Henderson vs. Peter Queally: The game has caught up with Henderson, but his style still makes fighting messy. Henderson fights from a distance with long kicks and avoids damage. Credit to his longevity in the sport is his ability to avoid being struck cleanly – he’s only been prevented from striking twice in 40 professional fights. This style of point fighting has its downsides. A third of Henderson’s Bellator fights have ended by split decision, with only one benefiting him. Queally is a very late bloomer in the sport. It took him six years to find his knockout power, but he’s managed to find it a few times since. Despite the top 10 next to his name, it’s too early to feel how high Queally’s ceiling is. It’s just 2-2 in Bellator with Patricky Pitbull’s first fight lacking in real determination. Former UFC champion Rafael dos Anjos is the only person to properly knock out Henderson. I don’t think Queally has the consistency to stop Henderson or the style to beat him in a decision. Henderson via UD