Anthony Pettis edged champion Ben Henderson in the main event of WEC 53 on Thursday to become World Extreme Cagefighting’s final lightweight title-holder, while Dominick Cruz rentained his WEC belt and was crowned the UFC’s first-ever bantamweight champion over Scott Jorgensen at the WEC finale in Glendale, Arizona.
Pettis and Henderson went back-and-forth over the 25-minute fight, both threatening with submissions before Pettis launched off the cage with a never-before-seen head kick to capture the momentum in the final minute and seal the unanimous decision with 48-47, 48-47, and 49-46 scores.
With the win, the 23-year-old Pettis improves to 12-1 and will challenge the winner of January’s UFC 125 headliner between champ Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard, while Henderson drops to 12-2 after having his 10-fight win streak snapped.
In the WEC 53 co-headliner, Cruz used his patented movement to avoid Jorgensen’s attacks while picking him apart with offense of his own to cruise to an easy unanimous decision victory with 50-45 scores across to board.
Lightweights Donald Cerrone and Kamal Shalorus also earned wins on WEC 53’s Versus-televised main card, while five of the night’s seven prelims ended in the opening round, including Shane Roller’s submission of Jamie Varner and Eddie Wineland’s scary slam KO of Ken Stone, though the newcomer proved to be okay after leaving the cage on a stretcher.
The official WEC 53 results were:
- Anthony Pettis def. champ Ben Henderson via (48-47, 48-47, 49-46) via unanimous decision
WEC Lightweight Championship
- Champ Dominick Cruz def. Scott Jorgensen via unanimous decision (50-45, 50-45, 50-45)
UFC Bantamweight Championship
- Donald Cerrone def. Chris Horodecki via submission (triangle choke) – Round 2, 2:43
- Kamal Shalorus def. Bart Palaszewski via split decision (30-27, 28-29, 29-28)
- Danny Downes def. Tiequan Zhang via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 29-28)
- Shane Roller def. Jamie Varner via submission (rear naked choke) – Round 1, 3:55
- Brad Pickett def. Ivan Menjivar via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Eddie Wineland def. Ken Stone via knockout (slam) – Round 1, 2:11
- Danny Castillo def. Will Kerr via knockout (punches) – Round 1, 1:25
- Yuri Alcantara def. Ricardo Lamas via knockout (punches) – Round 1, 3:26
- Renan Barao def. Chris Cariaso via submission (rear naked choke) – Round 1, 3:47
Pictured: Dominick Cruz