Ben Henderson was crowned the WEC’s interim lightweight champion on Saturday after earning a unanimous decision victory over Donald Cerrone in an instant classic that headlined WEC 43 at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas.
The matchup started with a frenzied pace and rarely slowed, as Cerrone strung together several submissions early in the opening round that appeared close to ending the fight, but Henderson managed to escape and turn the tide with takedowns and ground and pound to steal the frame. Henderson repeated the formula in rounds two and three, escaping more Cerrone submissions while taking the fight to the ground and largely cominating on the canvas.
Cerrone rebounded in the later rounds, shrugging off several takedowns in the fourth while connecting on the feet before finishing strong in the fifth and final round with more striking and several near-submissions.
With Henderson winning the second and third frames, and Cerrone taking the final two, the bout ultimately came down to the opening round and the judges sided unanimously with Henderson’s escapes and ground and pound, earning him 48-47 scores across the board, the interim title, and a future matchup with lightweight champ Jamie Varner.
Henderson improves to 10-1 with his victory in the “Fight of the Year” candidate, while Cerrone falls to 10-2.
The night’s other notable result took place on the preliminary card but made it onto the Versus broadcast, as newcomer Mackens Semerzier upset Wagnney Fabiano, submitting the former IFL featherweight champ with a triangle choke early in the opening round.
Dave Jansen, Raphael Assuncao, and Damacio Page also picked up main card wins, while Anthony Njokuani, Scott Jorgensen, Eddie Wineland, Charlie Valencia, and Deividas Taurosevicius were victorious on the WEC 43 prelims.
The official results for WEC 43 were:
- Ben Henderson def. Donald Cerrone via unanimous decision (48-47, 48-47, 48-47)
- Dave Jansen def. Rich Crunkilton via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
- Raphael Assuncao def. Yves Jabouin via split decision (30-27, 27-30, 29-28)
- Damacio Page def. Will Campuzano via submission (rear naked choke) — Round 1, 1:02
- Anthony Njokuani def. Mushin Corbbrey via TKO (strikes) — Round 2, 1:24
- Scott Jorgensen def. Noah Thomas via TKO (strikes) – Round 1, 3:13
- Mackens Semerzier def. Wagnney Fabiano via submission (triangle choke) — Round 1, 2:14
- Eddie Wineland def. Manny Tapia via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Charlie Valencia def. Coty Wheeler via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
- Deividas Taurosevicius def. Javier Vazquez via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Pictured: Ben Henderson