Anthony Pettis’ UFC career to date has predominantly been one big frustration, but a deserved title fight finally arrives at UFC 164 when he squares off with lightweight champion Benson Henderson in one of the most eagerly awaited rematches in MMA.
The pair last clashed in 2010 in the World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) organisation, with Pettis triumphing by unanimous decision to become champion.
Key to that fight was an unorthodox kick in the final round to swing the bout in his favour (which can be seen above) and this remains Henderson’s only defeat in any organisation in the past six years.
The rematch is especially tough to call and the pair are also inseparable in the UFC betting, with Henderson and Pettis both 20/23 to leave Wisconsin as champion.
Henderson is currently enjoying the longest unbeaten streak of all of the UFC lightweights of seven bouts, four of which have been title showdowns, and with redemption additionally on his mind, he will certainly be up for the battle.
Since last facing Pettis, the reigning champ has seen his striking particularly improve and he must be considered the favourite if the fight goes to the ground.
Given that his takedown defence is arguably Henderson’s biggest strength, Pettis may be best standing and trading as much as possible and this could mean showcasing some further inventive kick attacks.
He is responsible for more one-kick knockouts than any other UFC fighter and will be determined to make an impression. This opportunity is slightly unexpected as TJ Grant was initially meant to be the challenger until being forced out with injury.
It could be a case of what goes around comes around for Pettis as he missed a cruiserweight title bout with Jose Aldo for the same reason and justifiably should have received a lightweight shot before now given he was the WEC champion before the organisation was absorbed into the UFC.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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