Jason Head_Shot[1]

By Jason Sutcliffe

Pettis vs Henderson

It was a great night of fights that saw Josh Barnett make his return to the octagon, the “Smooth” era end, and the “Showtime” era begin in the lightweight division, and Chad Mendes get one step closer to his rematch with Jose Aldo. The main event saw a re-match years in the making. Anthony Pettis and Benson Henderson took to the octagon with the lightweight title on the line.

This is probably going to be a very un-popular statement, but right from the start Benson looked scared to strike with Pettis—to me anyway. He came out aggressively pushing Pettis backward and looking to take the fight to the ground. The two fighters had a couple of brief exchanges both ending with Pettis defending the takedown against the fence.

Benson was landing some very effective short kicks to the legs of Pettis while he had him pinned against the fence. When the two fighters separated Pettis landed four hard body kicks that seemed to get Ben’s attention. He then went for a flashy cartwheel kick. Pettis ended up on his back with Henderson in his guard. It did not take long for Pettis to lock in an arm-bar forcing Benson to tap verbally.

The “Showtime” era has officially begun!!

What’s next: Anthony Pettis- I am not sure if TJ Grant will get his opportunity, but if not Jose Aldo, Jose Aldo, Jose Aldo Dana needs to make that fight happpen. Ben Henderson- Ben is going to want a fight that keeps him relevant I would like to see him square off with Rafael Dos Anjos.

Josh Barnett vs Frank Mir

The fantasy fight between Josh Barnett and Frank Mir came to fruition last night, and it did not last long. Right from the start the War Master was all over Frank Mir. He closed the distance pinned Frank against the fence and began to utilize some effective dirty boxing. He landed a solid knee, Mir’s body went limp, and he dropped. Barnett landed two more punches and the ref jumped in and stopped it.

There was some controversy surrounding whether the referee stopped the fight early as Mir jumped right up and was immediately protesting the stoppage. Personally I think maybe it was a little premature, but it was not going to change anything. Mir’s chin just is not capable of taking heavy shots from the elite heavyweights, and his wrestling is not good enough to dictate where the fight takes place. In my opinion, Mir needs to retire. He has had too good a career to drift into obscurity on the under-cards

What’s next: Josh Barnett- I would love to see Johs and Travis Browne go to war I think that would be a great fight. Frank Mir- Honestly I really want to see Frank retire. He is one of the greats and it has just come to a point where he can no longer compete with the best fighter’s in the division. He has had a great career and I don’t want to see him go out like Tito–period.

Chad Mendes vs Clay Guida

Duane Ludwig has proved to be an extremely valuable piece to the Team Alpha Male camp, and in particular Chad Mendes. Mendes has TKO’d his last four opponents and yesterday became the first person to stop Clay Guida with strikes. There are other fighters in line for a title shot like Ricardo Lamas, Cub Swanson, but Mendes has absolutely placed himself in that line.

It took Mendes a little bit to get his timing, and find Guida’s chin, but in the third round he found his range and landed a right hand that dropped Guida. That was the beginning of the end, as Chad was able blast Guida with one more right hook that ended the fight.

What’s next: Chad Mendes- I would love to see him fight cub in a #1 contender fight. Clay Guida- I think a fight with Erik Koch would be good and it would keep one of them relevant in the division.

Brandon Vera vs Ben Rothwell

Brandon Vera vs. Ben Rothwell was a good fight. Vera spent the first two rounds moving around the outside and frankly looked scared of Ben Rothwell. He hit Ben with some very good body kicks, which Ben seemed to walk through without much of a problem. In the third round, the beast in Big Ben awoke, and he rushed Vera landing some solid punches, dropping him with a knee and moving in with some ground and pound forcing the stoppage.

What’s next: Ben Rothwell- I know he called out Travis Browne but I would rather see Barnett and Browne go at it. I think a good fight for Ben would be Shawn Jordan. Brandon Vera- I do not think he can hang at heavyweight in this era of MMA and to be honest I think at best he could be a gate-keeper in the light heavyweight division.

Dustin Poirier vs Erik Koch

Dustin Poirier vs Erik Koch was my choice for the fight of the night. It was a great fight and was nearly stopped on numerous occasions.

Dustin Poirier hurt Koch early in the fight, but as soon as it hit the mat Koch was able to lock in a very tight triangle choke. Poirier showed great poise survived, and punished Koch with heavy strikes through the first two rounds. Koch proved to be very durable, and in the third round had Poirier’s back, but instead of aggressively attacking for the finish he rode his back for the entirety of the round, which after losing the first two rounds I did not understand. Poirier took home the unanimous decision.

What’s next: Dustin Poirier- I would like to see him and Frankie Edgar go at it I think that would be a good fight. Erik Koch- As I said earlier I would like to see him and Clay Guida, the fight would keep one of them relevant and would be an exciting fight.

 

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