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WEC 53: Ben Henderson Vs. Anthony Pettis

Pat Barry one of Pettis’ cornermen. Henderson looks pumped on his way to the cage. This fight determines the first opponent for the winner of the upcoming Frankie Edgar-Gray Maynard UFC Lightweight Championship bout. Herb Dean is the third man in the cage for this championship bout. The crowd roundly supports Henderson, booing Pettis as he is introduced. An intense stare down follows.

Round 1: They do not touch gloves, though Henderson attempts to. Henderson throws a slick switch kick that is barely blocked. Pettis with one of his own. Pettis tries a high kick that is blocked. Henderson rushes in, lands a nice combination and presses Pettis against the cage. He establishes double underhooks. Pettis feigns a yawning motion as Henderson holds him against the cage. Henderson gets the takedown and presses Henderson against the cage. Pettis rolls for a triangle but Henderson avoids. They hit their feet again. Pettis barely misses with a high kick. Pettis with a nice push kick, then barely misses again on a high kick. He landsa nice right hand that makes Henderson drop for a takedown, which he completes. They end the round with Henderson firing away with Pettis down against the cage. scores the round 10-9 for Henderson

Round 2: Henderson with a nice body kick. He goes high and it is blocked. Pettis drops Henderson with a right hand, then swarms him against the cage. Henderson recovers but Pettis lands a takedown. He briefly looks for a kimura but Henderson gets back to his feet and presses Pettis against the cage. They break and Pettis looks to land with kicks. Henderson lands with a nice combo and goes for a takedown, they and up in the clinch against the cage. Henderson with a nice body kick. Pettis tries for a flying knee but Henderson catches it and turns Pettis into the cage. He lands a nice knee to the body on the break. Henderson takes a low blow but shakes it off quickly. Henderson with a high kickt hat is barely blocked. scores the round 10-10

Round 3: Henderson lands the first significant strike of the round with a leg kick. They trade kicks to the body and the leg. Pettis lands a takedown when Henderson compromises his distance off of a punch combo. Pettis gets Henderson’s back. Henderson stands up with Pettis on his back but “Showtime” locks his hands around “Smooth’s” leg to avoid getting shaken off. Henderson is standing against the cage with Pettis on his back now, holding the body triangle. Pettis landing nice body shots to the champ’s midsection. As the announcer’s describe, the two men seem to be at a stalemate here. Pettis landing punches from Henderson’s back, looking for the rear naked choke. Henderson firing elbows to Pettis’ thighs. Pettis trying to find the choke with seconds to go. They break almost at the bell. scores the round 10-9 for Pettis

Round 4: They trade equally effective lead hand strikes to start the round. Henderson with a nice body kick. Pettis lands a nice combination, Henderson fires back and tries to get a takedown, Pettis looks for a choke but the champ avoids and ends up on top. Now he takes Pettis’ back with a body triangle. Henderson sinks the rear naked choke but Pettis somehow breaks it. Hendrson is still on his back though, peppering with shots and looking for the choke. Pettis escapes and rolls into Henderson’s guard, then side control, then he takes Henderson’s back again. He shakes him off and they hit the cage. They break and engage in the striking department with about 1:30 to go. Henderson with a body kick. Pettis pushing forward with a combo, he rolls for the guillotine choke but “Smooth” avoids, with Henderson now on top of him. Pettis is unrelenting, still looking for the choke with ten seconds to go. scores the round 10-10

Round 5: This round could very well determine the entire fight. Henderson misses on a takedown off of a combination in the first exchange. Pettis lands a low blow and Henderson shakes it off quickly. They touch gloves. Henderson with a body kick and Pettis lands a solid right hand that knocks Henderson’s head back. A left lands for Pettis. Pettis looking to show off now, he drops Henderson and briefly tries to take his back, stepping off when it was obvious he was too high. Pettis landsa a flying knee while Henderson shoots in for the takedown but “Smooth” hangs in there and completes the takedown. Pettis is on his back against the cage, he rolls for a triangle but Henderson takes his back with one hook in. Pettis reverses it and steps back to his feet. Pettis knocks Henderson to his back with a high roundhouse kick off of the fence and starts to hammer away while a dazed Henderson looks for the takedown. That could have been the salvo that pushes the fight in Pettis’ favor. scores the round 10-9 for Pettis

An amazing back and forth fight to close the last WEC event.

Anthony Pettis defeated Ben Henderson by unanimous decision (48-47, 48-47, 49-46)

Pettis credits coach Duke Roufus for his incredible off-the-cage kick and gives props to Henderson for being a tough competitor.