by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
Ben Henderson, you have a new challenger waiting for you.
Earning his nickname, Anthony “Showtime” Pettis did exactly that putting on a three round clinic before finishing off Shane Roller with a third round triangle choke to win at WEC 50, and likely earn a shot at the lightweight title later this year.
Going into Wednesday night’s fight, many wonder if Pettis could stop the takedowns from Roller, who was a three time All-American wrestler coming out of Oklahoma State. Pettis did that and more, stuffing almost every one of Roller’s takedowns, and even managed to land a couple takedowns of his own.
“Taking down Shane Roller’s a big accomplishment, he’s a great wrestler,” said Pettis after the win.
It was evident from the first shot that Pettis stuffed that his confidence was growing, and he started opening up with a varied offense that including stiff punches, and a plethora of kicks coming from every direction.
Using the crisp striking taught to him by coach Duke Roufus, it was Pettis that controlled the pace of the fight, popping Roller in the mouth every chance he got, and then overpowering him in the clinch.
Pettis gave everyone a show with his off the wall kicks, and literally used the wall to kick off of when Roller got him mounted at one point, and the Milwaukee fighter got back to a dominant position.
With both fighters breathing heavy in the third round, Roller finally managed to get Pettis to the ground, but it didn’t’ pay off as he soon found himself on the wrong end of a triangle choke. Pettis hooked his ankle under his leg and pulled down on Roller’s head, and the tap came just a second later.
It was obvious after the win that Pettis had his eyes on only one person in attendance. WEC lightweight champion Ben Henderson.
“I’m ready for the champ, where’s he at?” Pettis shouted looking for Henderson. “I’m ready for you man. I’m here, I’m here. The WEC needs a new face, it’s me.”
The reigning and defending lightweight champion seemed more than happy to welcome Pettis into the cage with him for his next title defense.
“I see you Anthony, I see you making waves. I enjoy being on the top, I fully intend on staying here for a long time,” Henderson said sitting cageside. “I’m excited to defend it again, I’m just excited to dance.”
With the announcement of the WEC’s event in December taking place in Henderson’s adopted home state of Arizona, all signs would point to the lightweight title fight taking the top spot on the card.