Anthony “Showtime” Pettis and Benson “Smooth” Henderson sent the World Extreme Cagefighting promotion out the right way with an entertaining, back and forth lightweight title fight that ranks among the top WEC bouts of all time.
The fight saw several shifts in momentum from the first bell, with the champion stealing the fight’s momentum in the first round. Pettis made a fight out of it in the very close second round however, and clearly stole the third round after riding “Smooth’s” back for the majority of the frame, looking for a rear naked choke and landing solid body shots all the while.
The fourth round was another incredibly close one, which saw both men dictate the pace on more than one occasion. In the final and deciding round however, it was Pettis who came out with the most urgency and creativity. The round itself was another close one, but “Showtime” sealed it in his favor with a brilliant, off-the-cage, right kick to the face that dropped the champion and had him dazed until the remainder of the round.
Pettis was awarded the unanimous decision in the fight, a decision that belies the closeness of the bout and Henderson’s very active role in the fight. The bout was by no means a clean sweep for Pettis, though he did deserve to win the fight.
“Showtime” earned a shot at the winner of the upcoming UFC Lightweight Championship bout between champion Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard, which will be going down this January 1st at UFC 125: Resolution, which is going down at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Pettis improved his professional record to 13-1 with the win, while Henderson falls to 12-2.