WEC 53 Live Blog: Ben Henderson vs. Anthony Pettis Updates

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- This is the WEC 53 live blog for Ben Henderson vs. Anthony Pettis, the main event of tonight's WEC on Versus event from the Jobing.com Arena.

Henderson defends his lightweight title for the last time against Pettis. The winner will receive a future UFC title shot against the winner of Frankie Edgar vs. Gray Maynard.

The live blog is below.




Round 1: Henderson tries a kick to the head and Pettis comes back with a leg kick during the early feeling out period. Henderson charges forward with a leg kick and then a knee before clinching Pettis against the fence. Pettis tries to slip away but ends up getting tripped to the mat in the process. Pettis tries for a triangle from the bottom but Henderson is out easily before landing a right hand from the top. Pettis gets back to his feet without absorbing too much damage and they're back in the center of the cage. Henderson flicks out a kick to the face and Pettis comes back with a front kick that backs Henderson up. Henderson tries for a takedown in the final seconds and gets it, finishing the round with punches from the top. MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9 for Henderson.

Round 2: Pettis is the one pressing forward to start the second, and Henderson stings him with a kick to the body. A hard right from Pettis lands and drops Henderson to the mat. Pettis tries to take his back and look for a choke, but settles on a high kick that catches Henderson off-guard. Henderson hold on and appears to have gotten his bearings back without Pettis capitalizing too much on the opportunity. Henderson tries for a takedown and gets stuffed, but keeps after it with a second attempt and winds up in the clinch. They separate and Pettis comes forward straight into a left hand from Henderson. Henderson tries a jumping knee and winds up back in the clinch briefly. A leg kick from Pettis slips up into Henderson's groin, causing a short pause to the action. Henderson lands a nice head kick after the restart, but Pettis blocks it just enough. MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9 for Pettis.

Round 3: Pettis lands a front kick, and Henderson comes back with a thumping leg kick. Henderson whips a right hook around Pettis' defenses, but Pettis comes back seconds later and gets a takedown with out much resistance from Henderson. Pettis takes Henderson's back and looks for the rear naked choke, but Henderson has one of his arms locked up. Henderson gets to his feet with Pettis still stuck to his back. Pettis works Henderson's ribs with his right hand while Henderson focuses on protecting his face. Henderson begins to furiously drive elbows into Pettis' thigh, but Pettis hangs on until the final ten seconds when they part just before the horn sounds. MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9 for Pettis.

Round 4: They both dive in simultaneously with punches to start the round, though it looks as if Pettis got the better of the exchange. Henderson drives forward behind a punching exchange and looks for the takedown. Pettis tries for a guillotine and allows Henderson to take the top position, where he rains down punches while standing in Pettis' guard. Pettis thinks about a triangle and Henderson passes, taking his back and very nearly locking up the rear naked choke. It seems to be in, but Pettis defends and gets the top position, briefly taking Henderson's back before they work back to the feet. Henderson lands a kick to the body and eats a right hand counter. Pettis comes forward with a left hand that hurts Henderson. Henderson drops for a takedown and Pettis again tries fro the guillotine. Henderson defends and hangs on until the round ends. MMA Fighting scores it 10-10.

Round 5: An accidental kick to the groin from Pettis halts the action early in the round. The magic of replay confirms that it was indeed low, and the crowd groans in sympathy for Henderson. After the restart they immediately engage in a punching exchange with Pettis landing the harder blows. Pettis does a quick Ali shuffle, and Henderson responds by slipping and falling on his own accord. Henderson tries for a takedown and eats a knee, but keeps after it and eventually puts Pettis on his back. Henderson stacks him up and flips him, taking Pettis back but without securing the second hook. Pettis does a clever little roll to escape, and they're back to their feet in the final minute. Out of nowhere, Pettis jumps up, pushes off the cage with his foot and kicks Henderson in the face while in mid-air. Henderson crumples to the mat, but recovers just enough to hang on as Pettis peppers him with hammerfists. Henderson works back to his feet in the final seconds, only to eat another knee to the head from Pettis just before the round ends. MMA Fighting scores it 10-9 for Pettis.

Anthony Pettis def. Ben Henderson via unanimous decision (48-47 48-47 49-46)

Pettis becomes the new and final WEC lightweight champ.
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