December 16, 2023 2:34 am ET
Thirteen years after their first meeting, former UFC champions Anthony Pettis and Benson Henderson faced each other for the third time in combat sports.
While the first two meetings took place in a cage under MMA rules, the trilogy bout would go down in a wide-open pit with ramped walls at Karate Combat 43. The 170-pound catchweight fight was scheduled for five rounds, but would need a sixth to settle the decision. Ultimately, Pettis would deny Henderson again after winning a decision after a sudden victory round.
The familiar foes started out measuring the range with a few early kicks, with Pettis offering a flashier variety of techniques. Perhaps playing on memories of their first matchup, Pettis teased using the ramp to propel himself forward. Henderson landed a few nice punches, including a hard right to the body. Pettis finished the round looking for a back heel sweep kick.
Henderson attacked with low leg kicks early in Round 2, but Pettis answered with a well-timed side kick followed by a punch. Later in the round, Henderson would charge forward with a nice combination of punches, pushing Pettis into the ramp.
The third round was closely contested, until Pettis began building momentum after a kick to the body followed by a right hand.
Henderson started Round 4 with big power kicks, sending Pettis into the wall twice before a low blow paused the action. When the action resumed, Pettis went back to his kick-punch combos as he looked to reestablish his offense.
Henderson shucked Pettis into the wall and to the ground in an aggressive start to the fifth round. Pettis would respond with combinations upstairs while attempting a few crowd-pleasing techniques.
The fight would go to a sudden victory sixth round, and both came out firing hard. Henderson connected with a front kick to the face and landed well to the body with a punch. Quick jabs and hard right hands found the mark for both as they tried to put a stamp on the fight.
Judges determined Pettis was the winner of the sudden victory round, which according to the Karate Combat rules, the better fighter in that frame is declared the winner.
Pettis entered the trilogy bout with Henderson as the leader in their series. Pettis won a unanimous decision at WEC 53 to take the lightweight title from Henderson. It was the bout where Pettis created one of the most viral highlights in MMA history by landing the “Showtime kick.”
The second meeting came at UFC 164, where once again, Pettis took a lightweight title from Henderson in highlight fashion. Pettis cranked on a slick armbar in the final minute of the first round to get the tap.
After 42 pro fights, Henderson retired from MMA competition following a first-round loss to Usman Nurmagomedov at Bellator 292 in March.
On the other hand, Pettis has been active in combat sports as recently as April, when he laced up the boxing gloves against legend Roy Jones Jr. Pettis won a majority decision after eight rounds of action.
You can watch a replay of the fight in the video above.
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Source : MMAJunkie