Hello once more fans and friends and welcome to the first entry in a brand-new series of articles: “Top 5 Best Moments”. This series of articles is designed to give fans who may have missed an event five big reasons to go ahead and check it out. These are the moments that will stand the test of time, the kind that fans can point to and say “this is what made that card so great”. And what better show to start out with than the final WEC show? So let’s get right to it with my Top 5 Best Moments of WEC 53: “Henderson vs. Pettis”.
5. Donald Cerrone’s Hunt for the Triangle.
Donald Cerrone has always had an expert ground game, it’s one of the things he’s most well-known for. I along with many others thought that it would only be a matter of time before he locked something in on his WEC 53 opponent, Chris Horodecki. What I didn’t expect was for Horodecki to fight so hard not to get submitted. Cerrone hunted for and ultimately got his submission, a Triangle Choke, but he had to adjust position countless times and stay active off his back in order to finally get Horodecki to tap out. It was a prolonged, hard-fought submission battle that really displayed Horodecki’s heart and Cerrone’s vaunted ground game.
4. Dominick Cruz’s 5th Round Performance.
Cruz’s entire performance at WEC 53 was memorable, but the fifth round in particular honestly had me thinking “What the hell does it take to get this guy tired?” Cruz set a brisk and frenetic pace, and his opponent Scott Jorgensen met him every step of the way. But while Jorgensen seemed to slow down just a tad (which is still remarkable) in the later rounds, Cruz continued to practically dance around the cage up until the final bell (which is even more remarkable). Dominick Cruz once again proved how well-rounded he is and how ridiculous his cardio is at WEC 53, and his performance in the fifth round was the clearest indication of both.
It’s hard to describe how fast these two moved in the fourth round when they both struggled to get top position and lock in some type of fight-ending submission. To best summarize: it was a long series of “blink and you’ll miss it” moments. First Henderson gets the takedown, then he gets back mount. Then Pettis rolls out, gets into Ben’s guard, and then he has back mount. They stand back up, Henderson shoots for a takedown, Pettis tries a guillotine. Henderson moves to side control, and just when you think Henderson is in the clear, Pettis regains guard and nearly secures the choke. It was one of those moments where you were out of breath just watching it, and it was far and away one of the best moments of the night.
2. The “History of the WEC” Tribute Video.
This was something for WEC fans new and old: a wonderful highlight video that beautifully chronicled the decade-long history of “the little promotion that could”. From humble beginnings all the way up to a shockingly successful Pay-Per-View event, the WEC delighted fans across the country and permanently changed perceptions around the world. The WEC’s influence on modern-day MMA cannot be understated, and this tribute video really showed just how great this promotion was. I hope it appears online, because I’d love to watch it again and again.
But of course, as if there was any doubt, the best moment of WEC 53 was…
1. The Ninja Kick from Hell.
Everyone’s debating what to call this, but I think one word sums it up perfectly: insanity. This move was pure insanity. I practically leaped out of my chair the moment I saw it happen. There’s really no way to accurately describe seeing a grown man wall-walk a cage, kick another man right in his face, and nearly KO a man many thought simply couldn’t be knocked out or even come anywhere close to being knocked out. You simply have to see this move to believe it, and trust me: you won’t regret it for a second. Far and away it’s one of the best strikes that’s ever landed in a professional MMA fight.
So there you go, fans and friends: five big reasons to watch and even re-watch what was a night filled with many memorable moments. And what about you, fans and friends? Any thoughts on the new series or WEC 53 in general?