Posted 09/15/2013 by Marlene Taborda in Untethered MMA

UFC 164: Henderson vs Pettis 2 Preview

By Mike Fagan, August 28th, 2013 

I rewatched the fight Ben Henderson-Anthony Pettis fight last night. It’s still good. I mean, you have Todd Harris on play-by-play and Stephan Bonnar doing his best Schwarzenegger sound board and Bruce Buffer’s hoarse-ass voice instead of Joe Martinez smooth sexaphone. But the fight transcends, and it’s worth a rewatch if you find the time.

The rematch on Saturday will be better. The rematch on Saturday will also be less entertaining. Part of what made the first fight so much fun was, well, Henderson and Pettis were both young and sloppy. Pettis looked for a lot of low-percentage submissions, and dropped down for a few guillotines that put him in bad spots. Henderson’s striking was not very good. They both gave up their backs far too often.

I expect both guys to show more poise, come out more measured, and slow the pace down JUST A BIT. While that might make the fight less exciting in a vacuum, it’ll make it more interesting to watch.

-Speaking of the rematch, you can’t find it (“legally”) anywhere on the internet. The UFC’s getting better and better about giving old fights away for free, and yet, as of this writing on Wednesday morning, you can’t find Henderson-Pettis I anywhere. Not on Youtube. Not on You might find it on the Xbox app, and I’d be shocked if we don’t see it sometime before Saturday, but why the hell isn’t the UFC spamming this every chance they get? I shouldn’t be able to frequent an MMA-related resource on the internet without the Dana White popping up and being all, “HEY ASSHOLE, WHY DON’T YOU WATCH THIS AND GET PUMPED FOR SATURDAY. FIIIIGHT WEEEEEK!”

-I scored the first fight 49-47 on the rewatch. First round to Bendo, draw in the fourth, and the rest for Pettis 10-9. FightMetric’s In-Depth Report spit out the same score with the second and fourth rounds flip-flopped. Pettis would have won this running away without dropping for all those guillotines.

-Since the first fight, Pettis missed out on his guaranteed unification fight with the winner of Edgar-Maynard II, lost to Clay Guida, got injured a bunch. Henderson ran through a few lightweights, including Guida, beat Frankie Edgar for the title, and won a rematch with Edgar and a defense against Gilbert Melendez with shaky decisions.

Pettis has only fought four times in the UFC to Henderson’s seven, but the disparity in cage time is even greater. Henderson has spent 145 minutes in the Octagon; Pettis has logged 33 minutes, 56 seconds.


-Let’s see if we can retrace all the steps it took to get here:


1. Anthony Pettis defeats Ben Henderson for the WEC lightweight title at WEC 53.

2. Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard fight to a draw at UFC 125, forcing a third fight.

3. Pettis decides to fight in the interim, loses to Clay Guida at the Ultimate Fighter 13 Finale.

4. Henderson defeats Mark Bocek and Jim Miller.

5. Frankie Edgar knocks out Gray Maynard at UFC 136. Pettis takes a split decision from Jeremy Stephens.

6. Henderson beats Clay Guida at the first BIG FOX show, but not on BIG FOX.

7. Henderson takes the lightweight title from Edgar at UFC 144. Pettis knocks out Joe Lauzon.

8. Henderson defends against Edgar in a rematch and Nate Diaz on BIG FOX.

9. Pettis knocks out Donald Cerrone on BIG FOX in January.

10. Jose Aldo defeats Edgar at UFC 156. Pettis texts Dana White for a shot at Aldo at 145; White gives it to him for some reason.

11. Henderson defeats Gilbert Melendez on BIG FOX in April. T.J. Grant is awarded a title shot.

12. Pettis suffers a knee injury in June, pulls out of the Aldo fight. Chan Sung Jung steps in.

13. Grant suffers a concussion during training in July. He pulls out of the Hendo fight. Pettis’ knee does not require surgery, and he steps into Grant’s spot.

-Online books have this close to a pick ‘em, with an average spread of -120/-102 in favor of Henderson. Pettis is an awful style matchup for Henderson, but the knee injury and relative inactivity hurts.

-(Future UFC welterweight?) Ben Askren touched a nerve regarding Josh Barnett and steroids. (Make sure to read the conversation for back-and-forths with Askren, Barnett, and Shayna Baszler.) Askren expanded on his thoughts via Facebook:

I don’t think it is a moral issue or a health benefits/effects issue. I am not qualified to argue on either one of those fronts.

What I do take issue with is when a man signs a fight contract he agrees to fight under a certain set of rules. That set of rules includes the ban on the use of a number of substances. He loses all respect in my mind when he ignores the rules he signed up for and proves his lack integrity. MMA is the ultimate man vs man competition and should be fought fairly and equally.

I know this may seem idealistic, but I have competed fairly and honestly my entire career and dont see why it is that difficult.

I’m unabashedly apathetic on steroids and PEDs in pro sports. (If anything, I support regulated use under the care of a physician on the up-and-up.) Still, it’s hard to argue with Askren’s stance. You sign a contract under a certain ruleset, you should abide by said ruleset.

-Still, and this is where the unabashed apathy comes into play, Barnett is a fun addition to the heavyweight division, and he and Frank Mir is a fun heavyweight fight. Plus, there’s the added irony of Barnett having to fight someone on commission-allowed testosterone.

-Speaking of commission-allowed testosterone…add Ben Rothwell to the list of TRT exemptions.

-Oddsmakers currently list Clay Guida at +339, the longest odds of his career according to Best Fight Odds (data going back to UFC 72).

-You know a card is stacked when Dustin Poirier and Erik Koch, both top ten featherweights, lead off the pay-per-view.


Mike Fagan is a weekly contributor to MMA Owl. He also hosts Untethered MMA every Thursday at 7 p.m. ET at, also available as a podcast via iTunes.




Marlene Taborda