By Jaime C. Feal
Anthony Pettis has once again defeated Benson Henderson for a lightweight title, this time the more coveted UFC belt. Henderson was very competitive in the early going, until a serious of vicious body kicks turned the tide. Pettis seemed to slip up while trying a wheel kick, winding up on his back, but the position ultimately worked out to his favor. Pettis immediately locked up the fight-ending armbar from his back, with the very difficult to submit Henderson tapping out verbally. In the co-main event, Josh “The Warmaster” Barnett made a successful return to the UFC, defeating longtime vet and former champion Frank Mir by way of 1st round TKO. Stating off the main card, Dustin “The Diamond” Poirier upset favorite Eric “Newbreed” Koch. Despite fighting in front of his hometown fans, Koch was only able to win the third round after being dominated in the first two frames. In the next fight, Ben Rothwell overcame a rough start to knockout Brandon “The Truth” Vera in the final round. Rothwell turned it on at just the right time, and when he had Vera hurt he really swarmed for the finish.
Lightweight Division (155 lbs.):
Chad “Money” Mendes (14-1, 5-1 UFC) vs. Clay “The Carpenter” Guida (30-13, 10-7 UFC)
Guida bouncing around and feinting. Mendes backpedaling and dodging Guida’s jabs. Guida misses with a left hook. Mendes lands a left to the body, then a good kick. Nice overhand right by Mendes. Guida still hopping around, but not landing much, although neither is Mendes. Crowd beginning to grow restless. Guida shoots for a takedown, and Mendes sprawls nicely while attempting a guillotine. Guida escapes from the choke and gets back to his feet. High kick for Guida partially lands. Mendes misses with an uppercut. Guida tries for a takedown, but fails, back to a standup fight again. Nice straight right from Mendes, cut under the eye of Guida now. Guida misses with some punches, Mendes lands a nice takedown. Mendes working from inside the full guard with one minute to go. Mendes lands a couple good elbows and maintains top control to finish the frame. 10-9 round for Mendes
Nice left hook by Mendes, then a leg kick. Guida misses with a left hook. One-two is short of the mark by Mendes, still Guida can’t capitalize. Light leg kick from Guida. Guida maintaining forward pressure, but Mendes landing the more meaningful strikes. Good leg kick from Mendes, then he sprawls when Guida shoots for a takedown. Mendes takes Guida’s back, no hooks in. Guida working to sit up. Guida eata a knee to the body, then gets up. Guida tries yet again for a takedown but gets stuffed. Mendes now dirty boxing against the cage. Mendes takes Guida down with a single, spins to take his back again. Mendes looks awesome right now. Guida turtled up, still in the fight though as he’s working to get up. Guida eats a knee to the body as he gets to his feet. One minute to go in the round. Mendes again spins away from a Guida takedown, just flashing superior athleticism and wrestling skill. Back on the feet, Guida trying to jab, but coming up short. Good left hand from Mendes. 10-9 round for Mendes
Guida comes out aggressive, but gets drilled by a counter right hand. Menes looking to finish now, big shots. Guida eats another monster right hand, and two more follow up shots, ref Yves Lavinge comes in to save The Carpenter. Good stoppage, impressive stoppage by Mendes as Guida had never been knocked out before.
Chad “Money” Mendes wins by TKO at 0:30 of Round 3.
Heavyweight Division (265 lbs.):
Frank Mir (16-7, 14-7 UFC) vs. Josh Barnett (32-6, 4-1 UFC)
Barnett rushes forward and clinches with Mir. Barnett utilizing dirty boxing, lands a couple hard shots. Mir responds with the same, and the heavyweights are going to war in the clinch right away with punches and knees. Mir gets pushed up against the cage and eats a couple knees to the body. Another knee from Barnett, then an uppercut. Mir with a knee to the thigh. More uppercuts from Barnett, then a good knee to the head. Short elbow inside from Barnett, nice knee to the body. Barnett starting to get the better of it, big knee and uppercut. Mir backs away, but Barnett stay on him with a good elbow. Barnett clinched up with Mir, huge knee to the head drops Mir and the ref immediately jumps in to stop it.
Josh Barnett wins by TKO at 1:56 of Round 1.
UFC Lightweight Championship (155 lbs.):
Benson “Smooth” Henderson (19-2, 7-0 UFC) vs. Anthony “Showtime” Pettis (3-1, 3-0 UFC)
Henderson steps forward, starts pumping the jabs. Pettis hits him with a right, Henderson trying for a double leg. Henderson has Pettis pressed against the cage, switching to a single leg, but Pettis defending well. Henderson bails on the single, starting to knee the legs of Pettis. Henderson knees to the body, then “Showtime” breaks free. Front leg side kick to the thigh by Henderson, then shoots for another takedown, while pressing Pettis to the cage. Pettis defending well. Uppercut from Henderson. Pettis breaks free, Henderson lands a leg kick, Pettis with a counter hook. Henderson clinches up with Pettis yet again, goes back to the attack of knees. Pettis is able to break free, then land a very nice right kick to the body. Another hard knee to the body by Pettis, and again with a right body kick. Henderson backs away, but Pettis starts destroying him with more hard body kicks to the exact same spot. Somehow Benson maintains his composure, and stays upright. Pettis tries a wheel kick, winds up on his back. Pettis trying for an armbar from his back. The armbar is in very deep, Benson trying to get out, but taps out verbally. Anthony Pettis is the new UFC lightweight champion.
Anthony “Showtime” Pettis wins by submission (armbar) at 4:31 of Round 1.