Its "Showtime" in the lightweight division
This is a highly anticipated rematch, the two first met at WEC 43, where Pettis took the lightweight title from Benson after landing the infamous “showtime kick” off the cage in the fifth round to secure the unanimous decision.
Now I am probably a little bit bias seeing as Pettis is my favourite fighter in MMA and has been for a long time. So, I am going to try to breakdown why I feel this is Anthony’s fight to lose.
First, I don’t find Henderson all that impressive. I think he is good but so far his opponents have been tailor-made for his style of fighting, including the fight in which he captured the lightweight title he has fought Frankie Edgar twice, Nate Diaz and Gilbert Melendez.
Those are all fighters whose striking is a boxing based attack. So Benson always had the advantage of having a kicking element to his game. He knew what to expect from all of his opponents. As long as they were outside of the punchers' range he had nothing to worry about. There was never a threat of him being kicked and kicked with KO power. He was free to move in and out, and he only had to worry about getting out of punching range on his way out.
All of his opponents lacked creativity, with Benson doing his homework he knew exactly what to expect. There was nothing tricky, Benson could be very relaxed and stay solid with his game plan, no one kept him thinking or on edge.
With Pettis, Benson will not have any advantage on the feet, Pettis has KO power, which Benson does not have, he is more technical with his striking than Benson, his submission game is just as tricky, and he has never been submitted. So as I see it Benson is going to have taken Pettis down and grind him out to get the win.
This is not impossible for Benson to do, we all remember what Clay Guida did to Pettis. unfortunately for Benson I think Pettis learned a lot during that fight. Also, it is important to note that immediately following that fight Pettis brought in Olympic wrestler Ben Askrin who could only help Anthony’s takedown defense and takedowns.
I have to believe that Benson will be hard fought to take Pettis down like he is going to need to in order to win the fight. I actually think that Pettis will be able to finish the very durable Henderson in the third or fourth round. Henderson is going to have a lot of trouble with the superior technical striking and heavy power of Pettis.