It was a long road for outgoing WEC champion Anthony “Showtime” Pettis to get his title shot, postponed first by Frankie Edgar rematches, then Octagon losses, then various injuries, including one that took him out of his scheduled featherweight title shot. But the road ended in his own backyard as he rematched Benson Henderson in the main event of UFC 164 inside Milwaukee’s Bradley Center. And nearly three years after nabbing the WEC lightweight belt from Henderson in their classic 2010 fight, Pettis again took the gold – this time in less than a round.
Right off the bat Henderson pressed in for takedowns, then stayed at it against the fence as the crowd chants morphed from “Let’s-go-Pet-tis” to impatient boos. But the closest he got was weighing on Pettis against the fence and kicking at his legs to try and take power away. Pettis did well sprawling, working for underhooks and striking in the center when he could, but, at least in the first half of the round, he barely had the space to do his thing.
Frustrated after three rebuffed takedowns, Henderson allowed for some standup in the center to reset. Pettis landed three straight body kicks and a foot to the head, but an attempted cartwheel kick put him on his back. There he threw up a picture-perfect armbar on the champion, a BJJ black belt. Pettis arced his hips, got the verbal tap at 4:31 and sent the crowd to its feet for their new lightweight champion.
Pettis’ record rises to 17-2, with only one loss each in the UFC and WEC. “I grew up coming to this arena and sitting in those nosebleeds," said Pettis. "Milwaukee made Anthony Pettis -- you really can’t write a better story than what happened right here tonight."
“Anthony’s tough, and tonight he proved himself to be a champion, but I’ll be back,” promised Henderson, who slides to 19-3, with two of those losses now owned by Pettis.
It's Showtime Again: UFC 164 Main Event Results
August 31, 2013