Bellator Dublin: Benson Henderson silences Irish crowd by outpointing Peter Queally

Benson Henderson outlasted Ireland’s Peter Queally for a unanimous decision victory at Bellator 285 in Dublin.

Queally, 33, had no answer to the fight from the American Henderson, who controlled the majority of the fight against the 38-year-old’s cage.

The win puts Henderson on the verge of a shot at the lightweight title.

For Queally, it marks a frustrating 10 months it created successive failures.

He lost to current division champion Patricky ‘Pitbull’ Freire in Dublin last November before being sidelined with an injury in February.

Queally said before the fight that a win over Henderson, the third-ranked Bellator lightweight and former UFC champion, would go a long way toward a title shot and a trilogy fight with Pitbull.

Queally defeated Brazil’s Pitbull in May of last year, before losing their rematch five months later.

Instead, it’s Henderson, 38, who took a big step towards the title with a spectacular performance that rocked the atmosphere inside the 3Arena.

The crowd had already seen nine Ireland-based fighters claim victory before Queally made his way to the cage, fans roaring along to the lyrics to The Cranberries’ ‘Zombie’.

But the first round was a sign of things to come as Queally failed to gain momentum with his striking as Henderson’s fight negated most of the threat.

Henderson was successful with some elbows in close range and continued to land bigger shots.

The American was deducted a point for accidentally kicking Queally in the second round, giving the Irish fighter a boost on the scorecards, but he was unable to capitalise.

For much of the rest of the fight Henderson countered Queally’s strikes, attempting takedowns and landing strikes while controlling the action against the cage.

Henderson, who earned the 30th win of his 41-fight career with the win over Queally, paid tribute to his opponent after the fight.

“I wasn’t very happy with the score [deduction]. Dublin, I told you. Leave it to Peter Queally, he’s a real hometown boy. Thanks for coming out,” she said.

“Man, Peter is tough as hell. I know I landed a couple clean elbows. He’s a zombie. I landed clean elbows and a great poker face, just kept going.”

Manhoef’s 27-year career has ended in failure

In the main event, Melvin Manhoef lost to Yoel Romero in the 51st and final fight of his 27-year career.

Romero, 45, knocked out the 46-year-old Manhoef in the third round with some vicious elbows on the floor.

Dutch fighter Manhoef has retired from the sport after a career that included 32 wins, 16 losses, one draw and two no contests.

The fight was originally scheduled for May, but was postponed after Manhoef suffered a hand injury. three thieves were caught in March.

Cuba’s Romero was on top throughout the encounter, excelling both standing and grappling.

Manhoef was emotional after ending a career that began in 1995.

After the post-fight interview, Manhoef bowed to all sides of the area before leaving the cage in tears.

“I want to thank everyone for helping me in my career, I did the best I could,” he said.

“This is what I love and I appreciate all the help you’ve given me, but I have to hang up my gloves today, thank you.”

Elsewhere, Belfast’s Leah McCourt beat Brazil’s Dayana Silva by unanimous decision.

In overcoming the closely fought competition, she extends her record to seven wins and two defeats and returns to winning ways after her defeat to Sinead Kavanagh in February.

The main card also saw victories for Irish fighters Ciaran Clarke and Karl Moore, while Portugal’s Pedro Carvalho, who trains in Ireland, also won.

The undercard saw all five home fighters win, capping off a successful night in Dublin.

Welshman Brett Johns and English fighter Kane Mousah also scored impressive victories in the preliminaries.