Ben Henderson vs. Anthony Pettis
Neither fighter is quick to engage, feeling each other out, trying to find a rhythm. Henderson scores first with a crushing leg kick followed by a punch and then clinch on the cage. He starts peppering Pettis’ legs with knees. Pettis gets underhooks and tries to escape, but gets tripped to the mat, Henderson landing in his guard, Pettis’ back to the cage. Henderson works some ground and pound, deftly avoiding a Pettis armbar attempt. But Pettis gets back to his feet. Pettis immediately goes high with a head kick that Henderson blocks. Henderson lands a body kick, but eats a powerful front push kick. Henderson shoots and takes Pettis down just before the bell.
Pettis presses early, hitting Henderson with a hard right and takes his back. Henderson defends and looks for a Kimura. Pettis turns it around looking for a Kimura of his own. They are up and clinched on the fence, then separate and head back to center cage. Henderson misses with the left hand, fires a knee, and then presses Pettis into the cage, again attacking the legs with knee strikes. They separate and Henderson lands a kick to the body. Pettis attempts a jumping knee, but is caught midair by Henderson. They separate and Henderson takes an inadvertent low kick, but quickly shakes it off and continues the fight. Henderson lands a left kick to the head, but Pettis doesn’t miss a beat.
Pettis continues his strategy of pressing forward. Big overhand right by Henderson, but Pettis comes back with a takedown, quickly passing to full mount, then transitioning to Henderson’s back, working for the rear naked choke. Henderson stands, but Pettis remains on his back. Henderson drops down to the mat, but rises again up against the cage, Pettis clinging to his back with a body triangle, peppering Henderson with punches, alternating between the body and head. Henderson starts driving his elbow down into the thigh of Pettis, but nearly gives up his neck in the process. Pettis gives up the back just before the bell.
Both fighters come out gunning with the right hand, and both land it. Henderson follows with a hard kick to the body. Henderson charges with a flurry of punches, but Pettis nearly catches him in a guillotine. Henderson slips out and presses Pettis to the mat where he takes Pettis’ back, body triangle locked deep. Henderson has the rear naked choke briefly, but Pettis escapes, Henderson still on his back with the body triangle. They roll across the mat, Henderson maintaining the back, but giving up the body triangle. Pettis reverses and takes Henderson’s back, but this time when Henderson stands, Pettis slips off. Hard front push kick by Henderson, follows with a kick to the body, but eats a counter right hand. Pettis back to pressing forward on Henderson, rocking him with a punch combination. Henderson shoots, gets caught in a guillotine, but defends until the bell.
Pettis fights off a takedown attempt. Henderson takes another low blow about a minute into the round… straight up the middle, but is again quickly ready to go again. Pettis pressing, takes left kick to the head, but fires right back, rocking Henderson with punches. Henderson slips to the mat, Pettis follows him down, but can’t find a good position and returns to the feet. Pettis jumped with a knee as Henderson shot in for a takedown, not sure if the knee really landed, but Henderson finished the takedown, ending up in Pettis’ guard with two minutes remaining. Pettis goes for a submission, but Henderson moves around to Pettis’ back, but Pettis reverses and escapes to the feet once again. A minute to go to name the next UFC lightweight title contender. Pettis runs up the cage and lands a kick to the head of Henderson, dropping him to the mat. Pettis follows, traps Henderson’s right arm and starts punching away as the clock ticks down. Henderson escapes to his feet and shoots on Pettis, who drives home a knee just before the bell. Tremendous final WEC title fight!
Anthony Pettis def. Ben Henderson by Unanimous Decision (48-47, 48-47, 49-46), R5