Anthony ‘Showtime’ Pettis dethrones lightweight champion Benson Henderson at UFC 164 with a late first round arm-bar.
As the last man to defeat Henderson back in 2010, Pettis proved that the first fight was no fluke with an impressive performance in front of his hometown crowd in Milwaukee. With both fighters refusing to touch gloves at the beginning of the fight, the stage was set for an action-packed battle between old rivals.
Henderson took the centre of the cage early, looking to take the dangerous striker Pettis down to the canvas from the outset.
Managing to back Pettis up against the cage, he scored with short strikes from the clinch as well as kicks to the calves before the challenger forced a separation.
From here, Pettis unloaded with a series of powerful body kicks that looked to hurt the champ. Sensing he was perhaps getting the better of the stand-up exchange, Pettis mistimed one of his trademark ‘Showtime’ techniques, a capoiera kick, that allowed Henderson to establish top position inside Pettis’ closed guard.
From here, Pettis secured Henderson’s left arm and transitioned into a slick arm-bar. Henderson attempted to posture up to escape but Pettis managed to find the angle and forced the champion to verbally tap in the closing stages of the first round. It was Henderson’s second ever loss via submission in 22 fights.
"I set it up with the body kicks. It was the body kicks that hurt him, body kicks are underrated in mixed martial arts. I felt his arm pop and then I heard 'tap tap tap,’" said Pettis in his post-fight interview.
"Big ups to Ben, I'm sure we are going to fight again. We are going to have a trilogy. Jose Aldo - we have got some unfinished business, your belt or mine?"
The new lightweight champ now looks set to perhaps square off against featherweight kingpin Aldo, a fight that was originally booked before Pettis suffered a knee injury during the lead up.
Photo via Toyo Tyres.