Ben Henderson vs. Gilbert Melendez Early Head To Head Breakdown


On April 20th Benson Henderson will put his lightweight strap on the line against former Strikeforce boss Gilbert Melendez. UFC on Fox 7 is a stacked card featuring Frank Mir, Daniel Cormier, Nate Diaz and Josh Thompson to name a few.

Today I’m going to look at the main event, Henderson Vs Melendez, and look at their styles head to head.


This is a tough one to call. On paper Melendez has more knockouts than Bendo, but Henderson is clearly the more technical striker. ‘Smooth’, who is a black belt in Taekwondo, is a superb athlete and is yet to be knocked out. Melendez won his first five bouts by TKO and is known for having some nasty elbows too. Henderson has improved his striking in MMA massively and I think his kicks will be the difference in the stand up. 60-40 Henderson.


Melendez has a solid wrestling base, I don’t see wrestling as his weakness in this fight, but I don’t think he can out-wrestle Henderson. Bendo is a two time NAIA All-American and has out-wrestled guys like Jim Miller and Clay Guida in recent times. I know statistics aren’t everything and Melendez is a solid wrestler so I’m going to cal it 50-50.


This is another real tough one for me to call. Both these guys are brown belts in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Henderson has eight MMA wins due to submission and is well known for his guillotine chokes. Melendez oficially has one submisiion win but it was to punches. ‘Smooth’ has won multiple medals in the IBJJF and Arizona State Jiu-Jitsu tournaments, but Melendez trains daily with Nick Diaz and Jake Shields at Cesar Gracie‘s Jiu-Jitsu, so you know that both these guys are bringing top level ground skills to the fight. I just wonder whether Bendo’s extensive extra curricular activities may give him the slightest edge here. 51-49 Henderson.

So taking all that in to consideration, what do I think about the fight itself?

My gut tells me that this fight is going to be a very closely contested war. Back-and-forth battles on the feet with some great scrambles on the ground. Ultimately I feel that Henderson’s superior athleticism and striking will be the telling factor. Look for the reigning champ to chop away at Melendez with nasty kicks and crisp boxing. I’m calling this one Ben Henderson via decision.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned to Lowkick for more pre-fight coverage.


  • I acknowledge the respect you have for Melendez but personally I give every advantage to Benson by big margins.

    Gilbert is a good fighter and after he destroyed Kawajiri I ranked him top 3 but since then, his uninspiring decision over Masvidal and a controversial split decision over Thomson, he has looked barely top 10.
    That is also against guys not ranked by anyone while Ben Henderson destroys Gilbert's teammate Nate Diaz, who was #2 guy in the world.

    I think Ben will smash El Nino for 5 rounds but this could be the first UFC finish he gets, via a G&P stoppage or maybe a guillotine.

    • I agree… i think Melendez is in way over his head here…

  • Personally I think Ben Henderson is a top 10 P4P fighter but I don't even have Gilbert Melendez ranked top 5 of his weight class – Henderson, Pettis, Maynard, Diaz, Cerrone

    • good point and good list, though i think cerrone might get challenged for that #5 spot tbh

      • could be right, he has lost a lot more than Melendez but I would give the edge to Cerrone just because he has been fighting ranked killers for a while now and the only two guys that beat him in a long time went on to get title shots and were on the best runs of their careers

        • yeah thats a good shout mate, melendez is lacking in any real contenders on his record

        • But who are the ranked guys Cerrone actually beat? Maybe Siver, maybe Guillard?

          • Yea that's the problem with Cerrone, he is tried and tested but doesn't always pas sthe test.

            Still though I would take someone who is fought against the best, with mixed results, over someone who hasn't fought anyone relevant in years.

          • But it really hasn't been mixed results. Cerrone beats up on guys borderline top ten and down. He loses to guys above that. Melendez has beaten everybody in his path for the past 5 years, and a few of those fights were against top 5 guys. The only person he's had trouble with is Josh Thomson.

  • Disagree with the striking, and grappling parts (wrestling is pretty close).

    Ben holds a win over Gil already in grappling competition, and IMO the size factor puts him ahead in the category. He really is enormous for LW.

    In striking I'd give Gil the category. His hands are much better, and he's shown a lot more power. Ben has the better kicks.

    Overall Ben is easily the favorite, but Gil is an extremely live dog. Ben will probably take a close decision where he pulls away late, but I guarantee Gill lands well early. And probably drops him once or twice a long the way.

    Depending on the odds on Gil for fight night an underdog bet is something to think about.

  • gm1

    Who isa the better striker Gilbert or Nate Diaz?

  • Benson's kicks can be used against him, melendez catches many kicks

  • Great fight but my boy Benson will be too much for Gil just too big, to powerful and has great cardio as he has gone the distance many times. On a side note I hope he gets a finish