It’s all over, fans and friends. WEC 53: “Henderson vs. Pettis” is now a thing of the past, and with the close of this show, the “WEC Era” is no more. After this event the WEC will be folded into the UFC, and what an event it was. I think few WEC fans could have asked for a better way to end the WEC than with what I have no trouble calling one of the greatest fights I’ve ever seen. Here are the full results to WEC 53: “Henderson vs. Pettis.
Anthony Pettis defeats Ben Henderson via Unanimous Decision to become the new and final WEC Lightweight Champion. Dominick Cruz defeats Scott Jorgensen via Unanimous Decision, retains his WEC Bantamweight Championship, and is crowned the first UFC Bantamweight Champion. Donald Cerrone defeats Chris Horodecki via Submission (Triangle Choke) at 2:43 of Round 2. Kamal Shalorus defeats Bart Palaszewski via Split Decision. Shane Roller defeats Jamie Varner via Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 3:55 of Round 1. Brad Pickett defeats Ivan Menjivar via Unanimous Decision. Eddie Wineland defeats Ken Stone via KO (Slam) at 2:11 of Round 1. Yuri Alcantara defeats Ricardo Lamas via KO (Strikes) at 3:26 of Round 1. Danny Downes defeats Tiequan Zhang via Unanimous Decision. Danny Castillo defeats Will Kerr via KO (Strikes) at 1:25 of Round 1. Renan Barao defeats Chris Cariaso via Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 3:47 of Round 1.
I think this event got off to a bit of a slow start, but my oh my did it all end up paying off in the end. I think a combination of factors led to the opening Palaszewski/Shalorus fight not living up to all of its expectations. For one, I think Kamal’s vicious leg kicks really hampered Bart’s style of starting out slow but getting into a great groove in the later rounds. Secondly, Kamal’s efforts to end the fight in the first ended up gassing him out. And finally, I think the pressure to secure a win in order to secure a position in the UFC also contributed to these two mostly playing it safe. But that’s not to say this was a bad fight. It was certainly underwhelming, but I remained more or less entertained throughout a majority of the fight.
Things quickly picked up when Cerrone and Horodecki had their entertaining and wild two-round scrap. As I predicted, Chris Horodecki is a good fighter, but he’s just not ready for a top-division star like Cerrone. And speaking of top-divisions stars, Dominick Cruz continues to put on amazing performances showcasing his utterly ridiculous cardio. I thought that the fact that he was fighting with a bum hand would’ve played a factor, however small, in this fight, but it appears that I was dead wrong. After this fight, I don’t think I’ll be picking against Dominick Cruz again for quite some time.
And in the main event, I honestly think we as MMA fans were treated to one of the best MMA fights of all time. The first three rounds saw all kinds of excitement, close calls, near misses, and almost-finishes, but the fourth and fifth rounds are practically without compare. Without a shadow of a doubt in my mind, and absolutely without hyperbole, I think the late-round wall-walk kick Anthony Pettis somehow miraculously managed to pull off, a move that seemed to be pulled right out of “The Matrix”, will go down as one of the most amazing strikes ever successfully pulled off in Mixed Martial Arts. I have absolutely, positively no earthly idea how that strike did not KO Ben Henderson. Both men seemed to have steel in their chins and a fire in their hearts that is virtually unequaled.
Is it too soon to call Henderson/Pettis one of the best fights of all time? Maybe. But, hell, right now I don’t care. I’m calling it: Henderson/Pettis is one of the best MMA fights of all time. Note to any and all future promotions: this is how you end a show. I can’t wait to see what’s next for the WEC’s best and brightest, and make no mistake, the WEC name is going to live on for a long, long time.
And that’s my opinion, fans and friends. Now that all is said and done, what did you think about WEC 53?