Anthony Pettis will forever more be known for "The Kick." But if it wasn't for his sweep of Ben Henderson late, he never would've had the chance to fire off what now is one of MMA's most famous moves. Photo by Scott Petersen/MMAWeekly.com
In one corner was the solid, tough and scrappy Henderson. In the other corner was the flashy challenger known as "Showtime," and with good reason.
Even though most expected an exciting fight, what everyone got during the WEC's final event from Jobing.com Arena in Glendale, Ariz., was a bonafide "Fight of the Year" candidate that featured arguably the single craziest strike in the history of mixed martial arts.
There's no doubt about this: Henderson and Pettis closed down World Extreme Cagefighting in proper fashion: With a ridiculously exciting and skilled fight that many WEC fights have been known for.
When the scorecards were read, Pettis was awarded the victory via unanimous decision to win the WEC lightweight title and set up a showdown for the undisputed UFC lightweight championship with the winner of the UFC 125 fight between Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard.
This was an exciting fight through three rounds, but it was the final two rounds that made this fight.
In the fifth round, Henderson got a takedown with about two minutes left. Many, I'm sure, told themselves, "that's it." Except Henderson made an absolutely crucial mistake by trying to kick Pettis' thighs. Pettis timed it perfectly and swept Henderson. Seconds later, Pettis jumped off the cage and landed a kick flush to Henderson's head, dropping the champion and nearly knocking him cold. Pettis ended the fight in dominant fashion, sealing the victory.
I watched this show on tape delay and knew the result and of "The Kick" but knew nothing else of the fight. I was literally flabbergasted when Pettis swept Henderson late in the fight. I had no words. I had to stop the fight and rewind it and watch it again because I was so stunned over what happened. In the world of turning points, this might be one of the biggest turning points in a long time. Depending on where Pettis ends up in the UFC and his success there, his sweep of Henderson could literally change the tide of their careers, not to mention division. Henderson likely would've won the fifth round and a split decision. That sweep made it possible for "The Kick" to happen.
No one is going to forget "The Kick," but when we remember this fight, we shouldn't forget "The Sweep."