UFC 164 recap: Pettis captures gold in his hometown, submits Henderson

image via UFC.com

image via UFC.com

New UFC Lightweight Champion Anthony Pettis halted Benson Henderson’s undefeated UFC run at UFC 164’s Harley Hometown Throwdown on Saturday night. Within the confines of the BMO Harris Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Pettis stopped Henderson late in the opening round with an armbar. Henderson was forced to verbally tap after his right shoulder popped during the submission.

Henderson seemed to have a smart strategy worked out as the fight started. He was neutralizing Pettis’ offense, tying him up against the cage, using low kicks to chip away at Pettis’ lead leg. But once Pettis broke away from the clinch, he landed brutal body kicks that damaged Henderson. As he tried to land one of his specialty kicks, Henderson came in and took down Pettis. Without a second of hesitation, Pettis transitioned into an armbar and finished Henderson.

For Pettis, the victory realized a goal that he had dreamed of since coming into the UFC fold. The armbar also earned him the Submission of the Night bonus. For Henderson, it ended his 7-fight win streak and left him tied with Frankie Edgar and BJ Penn for record of most defenses of the lightweight title at three.

In the post-fight presser, Pettis said he had no intention of leaving the fight to the judges. He said he’d do “Whatever it takes [to finish the fight]. I’m here to make the good fights happen.”

Frank Mir (#6) vs. Josh Barnett (#10)
It didn’t take long for “The Warmaster” to finish Frank Mir in the co-main. After nearly eleven years away from the Octagon, Barnett went in early for the kill. He got Mir tied up in the clinch and put him away with a knee. Mir crumbled immediately and the stoppage was called, but Mir protested that the fight was waived off early.

Chad Mendes (#1) vs. Clay Guida (#9)
From the onset of action, Mendes outclassed Guida in all aspects of the game. His cardio looked crisp, he took down Guida at will and outlanded him with strikes. There was nothing Guida could do to turn the momentum in his favor.

Mendes put a stamp on his performance against Guida by stopping him with strikes in the third round. It earned him Knockout of the Night honors as well. Prior to that, Guida had never been TKO’d in his career. After the win, Mendes called for a rematch against featherweight kingpin Jose Aldo.

Ever since Duane Ludwig began coaching Team Alpha Male, none of the Sacramento-based team has lost.

Ben Rothwell vs. Brandon Vera
Ben Rothwell was down, quite possibly by two rounds, heading into the third round when he unloaded a barrage of punches on Vera to finish him. Another midwest fighter, Rothwell wanted to put on a show for the fans.

“If I see blood, it’s pretty obvious I like to fight,” Rothwell said. “I caught him and I finished him.”

Vera was making his return to heavyweight for the first time since UFC 85 and fell short. He’s now lost 4 of his last 6. The win for Rothwell was his 33rd career victory.

Erik Koch (#10) vs. Dustin Poirier (#7)
Two of the division’s best featherweights engaged in a high octane contest. Despite Milwaukee’s own Erik Koch threatening early by locking Poirier up in a triangle. Poirier admitted in his post-fight interview that the submission attempt was close to putting him out, but he found a way to reverse the tides in his favor. By the end of round one, it was Koch who was in danger of being submitted when Poirier had wrangled Koch with a D’Arce choke.

Poirier continued to damage Koch through the second enough to earn a 10-8 on two of the judges scorecards. Koch didn’t let up without a fight and gave Poirier all he could handle in the third round, but it wasn’t enough for him to walk away victorious in his hometown. Ultimately Poirier was the one who imposed his will and won the battle by way of decision.

FOX Sports 1 preliminary card recap:
Jamie Varner vs. Gleison Tibau
Lightweights Tibau and Varner went back and forth, each clearly winning round a piece while the first round was very close. A takedown late in the first sealed the round for Tibau. Tibau wasn’t in control in the first as convincingly as he was in the second. Early in the second he took down Varner, stayed in control throughout the duration and outstruck Varner 47-1.

Varner made a comeback in the third landing body shots and getting Tibau to the ground to dish out some punishment of his own. The judges saw it as a split decision in favor of Tibau.

Louis Gaudinot (#7) vs. Tim Elliot (#10)
Elliot looked much improved in his dominant performance over Gaudinot. An early eye poke in the opening frame was really the only negative produced by the flyweight. He came out aggressive, maintaining pressure over Gaudinot and completely overwhelming him. By the third round, it was obvious that Gaudinot could literally do nothing to stop the attack. Elliot took home his second UFC win by way of decision. Fightmetric.com showed Elliot outstruck Gaudinot 270-41.

Pascal Krauss vs. Hyun Gyu Lim
Gyu Lim extended his win streak to seven with a TKO victory over Krauss who was rocked midway through the first round. From there, the Korean prospect followed through continuing to pressure Krauss who could barely stay standing. As the last minute of the first round closed in, Gyu Lim landed a knee that sen Krauss to the canvas and sealed the win. The welterweight scored his second UFC win and also took home Fight of the Night honors.

Chico Camus vs. Kyung Ho Kang
Ho Kang took down Camus early in the first round and maintained dominance to kick off the bout. The second round started off the same, but late in the second round Chico battled back. At one point Camus nearly had a rear-naked choke sunk in, but Ho Kang flaunted some high level grapplng ability and continually made Camus work for position. In the final frame, Ho Kang again controlled the early part of the round in top control.

In a classic “don’t leave it in the hands of the judges” moment, Camus notched the win in front of his home crowd in a surprising unanimous decision.

Facebook Preliminary Card recap:
Soa Palelei vs. Nikita Krylov
In a very listless heavyweight battle, Soa Palelei took Nikita Krylov down twice in the first and then gassed. Krylov showed his inexperience by continually grabbing the fence, but no point was taken by the referee. Both men who were known for their explosive first round finishes in other organizations were beyond fatigued as the fight carried on to the later rounds. Finally in the third round, Palelei found the Hulk inside, mounted Krylov and ground and pounded his way to a TKO victory.

Ryan Couture vs. Al Iaquinta
Al Iaquinta returned from a 14 month layoff from the Octagon to score his first UFC victory. The Ultimate Fighter Live finalist went the distance with Ryan Couture and got the nod on the judges scorecards in a very one-sided fight. Countless body shots and counter overhand rights were landed by Iaquinta who also took Couture down three times. Overall, Iaquinta’s assault proved to be too much for Couture who has now lost both of his UFC battles.

Jared Hamman vs. Magnus Cedenblad
Sweden’s Magnus Cedenblad rebounded from a loss in his UFC debut that saw a seven fight win streak snapped to submit Jared Hamman via guillotine choke in the first round. After notching his eighth career first round victory, an animated Cedenblad went on to say he wanted Submission of the Night so he could upgrade his plane ticket home to business class. On top of that, he called out Dylan Andrews for his next fight stating that he needed to avenge Papi Abedi’s loss.

Hamman on the other hand dropped 2-5 in the UFC which could mean the end of his days in the Octagon.

The UFC returns on Sept. 4 with UFC Fight Night 28: Glover Teixeira vs. Ryan Bader from Brazil.

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